If your hands are shaky lately and your stomach feels queasy, it is understandable, especially if you have received notification that the State Board of Nursing is examining a complaint against you. You may be losing sleep and feeling impatient with others. This is not the best frame of mind for someone in the nursing profession.
You probably felt caught off guard by the summons to appear before the board, or you may have been expecting it for some time. Perhaps you are looking forward to telling your side of the story. However, you may need to know some things before your hearing.
What happens next?
Every complaint filed before a nursing board gets careful evaluation. If the board members think it has merit, they investigate the situation. However, the board's purpose is not to clear your name or defend your license. Its purpose is to uphold the standards of nursing and to ensure nurses comply with the law and professional code of ethics. If the board finds validity to the complaint against you, you can expect the following:
- A trained investigator will begin gathering information from witnesses, police records, your patient records and potentially your personal health records.
- The board will call you to defend against the allegations.
- You may choose to negotiate an agreement with the board without an administrative hearing, which may result in alternative disciplinary action or other resolutions.
- You may accept a hearing before the board where the evidence against you will have to meet the standard burden of proof.
If the board finds that there is enough evidence to warrant disciplinary action, you may be facing consequences that range from a reprimand or letter of warning to suspension or license revocation. Even if you feel confident that the board will exonerate you, there is a great deal at stake, and you may not wish to leave it to chance.
Your job is stressful enough without the worry of facing a disciplinary board. If someone has filed a complaint against you with the board of nursing, you know this is a serious matter that could affect your career and the rest of your life. The uncertainty alone may make it difficult for you to perform your job well.
If you are facing a hearing in front of the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, you may have many questions about what may happen and how you should respond. From the moment you learn of the complaint, you have the right to seek legal counsel. An attorney can guide you through the process, protecting your rights and defending the license you have worked so hard to obtain.