Arkansas Nursing License Defense

As a licensed professional nurse in Arkansas, you've committed your life to public health and made countless sacrifices over the years to obtain your nursing license. The nursing profession is emotionally and physically demanding, and at times, mistakes or mere misunderstandings at work may place your nursing license at risk of being denied, revoked, or suspended. However, many state laws in Arkansas provide a legal framework for the defense of your Arkansas nursing license, multi-state nursing license, and career. If you are currently facing disciplinary action from the Arkansas State Board Of Nursing and need assistance protecting your nursing license, contact national Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today.

The Nursing Profession in Arkansas

According to a 2019 report published by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, there are over 39,000 licensed nurses in the state of Arkansas as well as close to 3,000 nurses who practice in Arkansas through a multi-state nursing compact license. There are also over 400 registered nurse practitioners. The report further ranks employment settings, indicating that most nurses are employed at hospitals such as UAMS Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center, Washington Regional Medical Center, Arkansas State Hospital, and Arkansas Children's Hospital. Popular employment settings also included clinics, offices, community health centers, and educational settings.

Administrative Law and Your Arkansas Nursing License

Administrative law is an area of law that provides a legal framework for a variety of governmental agencies, such as the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Arkansas Department Of Health, which encompasses the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. Due to various administrative laws adopted into state law, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing has the authority to enforce rules and regulations that both regulate the nursing profession in Arkansas and protect the public from the dangers of subpar nursing care. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing also has the authority to issue nursing licenses and oversee disciplinary matters for licensed nurses, such as license revocation, suspension, and appeals.

Administrative law also ensures that Arkansas nurses have legal rights and responsibilities. In terms of disciplinary matters, the law ensures nurses facing disciplinary actions have work have the right to receive “due process” under the law. Due process is a legal term that simply encapsulates your right to be notified about any professional allegations that may be made against you and the right to present your own exculpatory (helpful) evidence in front of a neutral third party before any disciplinary decisions are made.

If you are currently facing any allegations of professional misconduct, negligence, standard of care violations, etc., our Professional License Defense Team can help your fight the Arkansas State Board of Nursing and protect your future.

Nursing License Regulation in Arkansas

Various legal foundations make up the larger administrative framework of laws that protect your nursing license. If your Arkansas nursing license is currently under attack, you should start by familiarizing yourself with some of the laws and agencies below.

The Arkansas State Board Of Nursing

The Arkansas State Board of Nursing (“ASBN”) is a regulatory agency of Arkansas' Department of Health. The ASBN operates under the legal authority of the Arkansas Nurse Practice Act (discussed below). The 13 members of the ASBN are appointed by the Governor and serve four-year terms, provided that their appointment is confirmed by the state senate.

Aside from its duty of monitoring nursing programs and developing opportunities for continuing education requirements, the ASBN also establishes rules and regulations to ensure nurses meet ethical and professional standards. The ASBN enforces these standards by thoroughly investigating complaints made against Arkansas nurses. In response to these investigations, the ASBN may also choose to conduct disciplinary actions such as license suspension or revocations. Aside from overseeing registered nurses, the ASBN indicates that they also oversee the following professionals:

  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Licensed Psychiatric Technician Nurses
  • Registered Nurse Practitioners
  • Certified Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists.

The Arkansas Nurse Practice Act

The Arkansas Nurse Practice Act is contained in Title 17, Subtitle 3, Chapter 87 of the state's general statutes. The Act outlines the roles and responsibilities of the ASBN and establishes the legal requirements that must be met for the issuance of state nursing licenses, such as educational qualifications, examination criteria, and additional prerequisites to practice. The Act also grants the ASBN the authority to investigate complaints against nurses and issues penalties for disciplinary actions.

The Arkansas Administrative Code

The Arkansas Administrative Code is a compilation of various rules and regulations promulgated by all of the state agencies in Arkansas, including the ASBN. The ASBN provides guidance on the methods and processes the ASBN must adhere to when enforcing the components of the Arkansas State Practice Act. The code also provides additional guidance on licensing requirements, scope or practice issues, and disciplinary procedures.

The Interstate Nursing Compact And Your eNLC License

The Interstate Nursing Compact, also known as the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (“eNLC,”) is an agreement between participating states that allows nurses to practice in any participating state under a uniform multi-state license. According to a 2023 update by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 40 states currently participate in the compact, including Arkansas. States that do not participate in the compact include Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Minnesota, Illinois, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The eNLC is governed by the Board of Nursing, an administrative agency that monitors and oversees disciplinary action against all nurses with an eNLC license.

The eNLC was implemented in Arkansas in 2000 and is implemented in Title 17, Subtitle 3, Chapter 87, Subchapter 6 of the state's laws and regulations. Some of the benefits for Arkansas Nurses with an eNLC license include the following:

  • Increased Employment Opportunities: The eNLC allows Arkansas nurses the ability to practice in Arkansas or the other 39 compact states, giving nurses a larger employment market across the United States. Some popular employment opportunities for nurses with an eNLC license include traveling nurse positions for nurses who wish to relocate temporarily or virtual positions such as research institutions or telehealth medicine.
  • Hassle-Free Licensing: Arkansas nurses with an eNLC license only have to meet one set of uniform nursing requirements and do not need to worry about pursuing and meeting the various licensing requirements of the other 39 compact states if they wish to pursue job opportunities or relocate.

Do I Have To Comply With Arkansas State Law Even If I Am Licensed Under The eNLC?

Yes. Even though you may have an active eNLC license, you must comply with the laws, regulations, and practice requirements in whatever state you are providing patient care. Therefore, if you are an Arkansas nurse that provides care in your primary state of Arkansas but also has virtual or traveling positions in another compact state, you must comply with the practice standards of both states. For nurses engaged in telehealth positions, the ASBN clarifies that nurses “must comply with the standards of the state in which the client is located.”

How Do I Obtain An eNLC License?

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, if at the time you applied for your nursing license in Arkansas, you declared Arkansas (or any other compact state for that matter) as your ”primary state of residence and met the licensure requirements,” you should have automatically been issued both your Iowa state nursing license as well as your eNLC license.

Can I Lose My eNLC License?

Yes. Pursuant to Article III of the Board of Nursing Provisions, compact states can pursue disciplinary actions when a nurse violates that state's nursing practice act. Article V also allows states to revoke a nurse's ability to practice in their state even if the nurse is still under investigation or allowed to practice in other states. For example, even if you have complied with the Arkansas Nursing Standards but failed to meet adequate practice standards in a telehealth position in Florida, your ability to practice nursing care in Florida can be revoked. The Board of Nursing can also revoke your ability to practice in all compact states through the implementation of its disciplinary procedures.

If you are facing potential suspension or revocation of your ability to practice in one or all of the eNLC compact states, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is well-versed in the requirements, procedures, and disciplinary steps of the eNLC. Contact us today by calling 888-535-3686 or using our online contact form to tell us about your unique circumstances.

Conduct That May Place Your Arkansas Nursing License at Risk

The ASBN has published guidelines on various professional and ethical violations that are grounds for discipline. Some allegations that could potentially place your Arkansas nursing license at risk are discussed below.

Professional Misconduct

Professional misconduct is a term that encompasses a wide range of behaviors that violate professional standards required by the ASBN. Some examples of professional misconduct allegations can include:

  • Negligence
  • Incompetent care when using technical equipment, caring for patients, conducting administrative work, etc.
  • Substance abuse
  • Caring for patients or conducting work duties despite a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to exercise proper judgment or perform certain skills.
  • Improperly delegating nursing care functions or procedures to those unfit to carry out the task or care for the patient.
  • Fraud, such as falsifying personal records or patient records.
  • Misuse of company or hospital property, such as using medical equipment for personal reasons.
  • Breaching patient confidentiality standards.
  • Failing to establish and maintain “professional boundaries.”
  • Improper sexual or romantic relationships with patients.
  • Failing to report known or suspected professional misconduct of coworkers, supervisors, interns, etc.

The ASBN also indicates that violations of the Iowa Code may include the following type of behavior and/or conduct:

  • Leaving a nursing assignment without properly notifying appropriate personnel.
  • Failing to wear appropriate identification while working, such as a name badge, license number, etc., when providing care to the public.
  • Nurse License Compact violations.

Professional misconduct allegations, even if later declared unfounded, can damage your professional reputation and have severe consequences on your ability to seek future employment, gain promotions, etc. Although you may be found innocent, your career may still suffer because of the rumors and gossip. If your license is currently being threatened because of professional misconduct allegations, you should fight these allegations early and effectively. Contact our Professional License Defense Team today for more information on protecting your reputation.

Criminal Arrests, Charges, and Convictions

Criminal arrests, charges, and convictions can have serious implications on your nursing career in Arkansas. According to §3-17-87-312 of the Nurse Practice Act, the ASBN indicates that no person “shall be eligible to hold a license” if they have pleaded guilty or been found guilty of serious offenses as identified in §17-3-102. Some of these offenses include:

  • Capital murder
  • Murder in the first or second degree
  • Manslaughter or negligent homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • False Imprisonment
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Rape, as well as sexual assault crimes
  • Child endangerment

According to the ASBN's inquiries, Arkansas nurses and nurse applicants must report all misdemeanor and felony convictions (even if the offenses have been sealed, dismissed, dropped, or occurred while the nurse was formerly a juvenile) that took place in Arkansas or any other state. Although the ASBN notes that mere traffic violations do not constitute a crime, any DUI or DWI offenses must be reported.

If you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime and need assistance navigating how your criminal matter may affect your Arkansas nursing license, the Lento Law firm Professional License Defense Team can help.

Standard of Care Violations

Because nurses are entrusted with the responsibility of saving lives, they are held to extremely high professional standards and must adhere to a high standard of care while caring for patients. Some examples of the standard of care violations may include:

  • Medication errors, such as failing to administer medication or administering the wrong medication.
  • Failure to follow proper protocols.
  • Failure to apply proper techniques when caring for patients, such as when drawing blood, performing CPR, etc.

Ethical Violations

Ethical violations speak to your character and judgment. Because of their nature, some ethical violations may impede your ability to provide proper nursing care and treat patients fairly and respectfully. Some examples of ethical violations may include conflicts of interest, boundary violations, and engaging in improper relationships with patients.

Documentation Issues

Failure to comply with documentation requirements may also affect your license. Some examples of failure to comply with documentation issues may include failure to properly renew your license, inform the board about any name changes, failure to respond to audits from the board, or failure to follow proper documentation protocols when caring for patients.

Arkansas Disciplinary Procedures and Processes

If you are being investigated by the ASBN, you are owed due process rights under the law. As noted above, due process rights include the right to be notified about the allegations against you and the right to defend yourself by sharing helpful information and evidence in front of a neutral third-party decision-maker.

The Investigatory Phase

After receiving a complaint for alleged violations, the matter will be assigned to ASBN investigators, who will contact you to notify you about the nature of the allegations against you. At this point, the ASBN may request further information from you, such as a written statement, court records, drug test verifications, etc. The ASBN may also reach out to your employer for work-related documents such as patient records. If any witnesses, such as patients or coworkers, are involved, the investigator may also interview them about the alleged incident.

The Complaint and Adjudicatory Phase

After conducting the investigation, the ASBN will determine where there is sufficient evidence to pursue future disciplinary action or close the case. According to the ASBN's guidelines on the disciplinary process, if the ASBN pursues future disciplinary action, you may receive a letter of reprimand or an official complaint. A letter of reprimand is less serious and may require you to complete certain requirements, such as continuing education units, within a certain time frame. If you fail to adhere to any requirements in the letter, the ASBN may pursue a formal complaint and/or suspend your license until you meet the ASBN's requirements.

If the ASBN pursues a formal complaint, the complaint will be resolved through either a consent agreement or a formal hearing. A consent agreement is a voluntary agreement that exists between you and the ASBN, similar to a settlement contract in civil law. The contents of a consent agreement will vary from case to case and typically consist of certain terms and conditions such as license suspension or participation in programs such as continuing education classes, anger management, counseling, substance abuse counseling, etc.

If you do not agree to the terms of the consent agreement or deny responsibility for the allegations in the complaint, you can proceed to a formal legal hearing. The hearing is a “mini-trial” and consists of an argument, presentation of evidence, and testimony. Because these hearings require in-depth legal knowledge of the laws of evidence, the Arkansas Administrative Code, and the Arkansas Nursing Practice Act, you are entitled to have legal representation. Fortunately, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has expansive knowledge and experience defending nurses in administrative hearings and is standing by to share your side of the story.

Decision And Appeals Phase

After the hearing, you will be notified about the decision. The adjudicator may determine that you are innocent and did not commit any violations of the Arkansas Nursing Practice Act, or you may receive disciplinary actions such as license denial, suspension, revocation, or probation. You may also receive a formal reprimand that allows you to keep your license in exchange for payment of fees, completion of courses, etc.

If you do not agree with the adjudicator's decision, the ASBN's disciplinary policies allow you to appeal the board's decision to the circuit court of the county in which you reside. The timelines and requirements for this appeal must be strictly adhered to. If you would like to appeal a decision by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing to deny, revoke, or suspend your license, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you navigate the complex appellate laws today. Contact us today by calling 888-535-3886 or tell us about your case online.

The Consequences of Losing Your Arkansas Nursing License or eLAC License

Losing your Arkansas nursing license can have drastic consequences on your professional and personal life. Not only can you lose your ability to earn income, but your professional reputation may also suffer, making it incredibly hard to gain future employment. Losing your license may also lead to feelings of depression, loss, and anxiety, placing strain on your relationships. Lastly, without the satisfaction that comes from helping patients, you may feel directionless and lost, forcing you to redefine your sense of self.

Contact the Lento Law Firm for Help Protecting Your Arkansas Nursing License

If you are worried that you may lose your Arkansas nursing license or have already lost your license and want to pursue an appeal, we can help! Don't attempt to navigate the expansive nursing laws in Arkansas while also juggling the emotional stresses of job insecurity and loss. Guided by national Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento, the compassionate and experienced Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm understands the complexities that come with fighting allegations and charges issued by the Iowa Board of Nursing. We proudly represent nurses all over Arkansas, including Little Rock, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, Rogers, North Little Rock, and more! Contact us today to discuss your case by calling 888-535-3686 or telling us about your case online.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
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