Prevention of Suicide:
It appears as though the number of nursing board complaints are on the rise. Please seek legal representation anytime you must face a board of nursing inquiry. You wouldn’t represent yourself in a major criminal case or civil lawsuit, so don’t make that mistake because it’s “just the board of nursing.” The things that happen as a result of a board action will affect your ability to practice your profession for a long time.
The board of nursing’s primary function is to protect the public from unsafe nurses. While they will hopefully try to advocate for the nurse as well, don’t expect that they will. Because of the lack of understanding the profession has regarding substance abuse and addiction, many boards of nursing take a primarily punitive approach to a nurse afflicted with this disease. This may even happen in states that have an alternative to discipline program in place.
NEVER, EVER SPEAK WITH A BOARD INVESTIGATOR OR THE BOARD MEMBERS WITHOUT CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY!
You have rights, be sure they are protected. Anything you say during the investigation can be used against you in a court of law and in the boards decision.
Your attorney for the board investigation should be familiar with administrative law AND dealing with the board. That’s why I recommend an attorney who is also a nurse. For criminal charges, get a criminal attorney familiar with drug related issues and laws.
Professional Liability Insurance
Many nurses don’t have their own malpractice/liability insurance, relying on the insurance coverage of their employer. While many employers (not all) will provide some professional liability coverage, chances are that coverage may have some serious gaps, including:
Professional Liability Insurance protects you against covered claims arising from real or alleged errors or omissions, including negligence, in the course of your professional duties. Remember, legal defense and settlement costs are paid in addition to your limits of liability.
In the event of a lawsuit, your own Professional Liability Insurance policy would:
Consult with a licensed insurance provider regarding the type of policies they offer for advanced practice nurses. Follow the links to the left for more information.
Why Don’t Nurses Consult or Retain an Attorney When They are Facing an Investigation by the Board of Nursing?
The reasons are many, but most of those reasons aren’t well thought out. In fact, there are very few “good” reasons for not seeking legal representation when your future practice as a nurse is on the line. Physicians, dentists, attorneys, and other professionals would NEVER face a licensing board investigation without an attorney. “Too expensive”, “It’s just the board of nursing”, and “I didn’t know I could have an attorney” are only a few of the reasons I’ve heard.
DO NOT FACE THE BOARD WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!
Nurse Practitioner Central
From the “Nurse Friendly” Web Site
Carolyn Buppert, NP, JD
Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana
Greg Stocks, CRNA, EJD