We Can Help If Your California Nurse's License Is in Jeopardy
A California nursing career can be extraordinarily rewarding. Patients and the public hold nurses in the highest esteem, and nursing jobs can carry substantial financial rewards. Yet, if you face disciplinary charges before the California Board of Registered Nursing, you could lose all of those rewards. License disciplinary proceedings cripple careers when they result in license suspension or revocation. And if you suffer from California nursing license discipline, you may be unable to practice nursing anywhere else in the U.S. License discipline in California could end your rewarding nursing career.
Yet don't despair over California Board of Registered Nursing disciplinary charges. And by all means, do not retain unqualified local criminal defense representation that might prevent a successful defense. Instead, seek the administrative representation of the premier professional license defense attorneys on the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. Let the Lento Law Firm Team led by national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento defend your California nursing license misconduct charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the skills and experience you need for your best disciplinary outcome.
California Board of Registered Nursing Mandatory Licensing
California Business and Professions Code Sections 2795 and 2796 make it unlawful for anyone in California to practice nursing or use nursing titles like “registered nurse,” “RN,” or “nurse anesthetist” without holding a California nursing license. California law makes nursing licensing mandatory. California's Board of Registered Nursing regularly cites, fines, and publishes the names of individuals who violate those laws practicing nursing without a valid license. If you face California nursing license disciplinary charges, you cannot ignore those charges, expecting that you will continue to practice with your current employer. To the contrary, you must defend and maintain your license or relinquish your nursing employment and practice.
California Board of Registered Nursing Disciplinary Authority
California's Nursing Practice Act, codified in Chapter 6 of the state's Business and Occupations Code, creates the California Board of Registered Nursing. Article 3 of Chapter 6 authorizes the Board of Registered Nursing to discipline licensed nurses. Section 2570 states simply that “every certificate holder or licensee … may be disciplined as provided in this article.” Section 2759 states that “the board shall discipline the holder of any license, whose default has been entered or who has been heard by the board and found guilty” through the Board's procedures. Section 2761 states the many grounds on which California's Board of Registered Nursing may discipline a licensed nurse right up to the revocation of the license. The Board has more than ample authority to pursue your nursing license on misconduct charges.
California Board of Registered Nursing Disciplinary Actions
California's Board of Registered Nursing plainly takes its license discipline duties seriously. Every month, the Board publishes a list of the names and nursing license numbers of the dozens of nurses whose licenses the Board is pursuing through new disciplinary proceedings. California's Board of Registered Nursing devotes substantial resources toward disciplining licensed nurses, employing career disciplinary professionals to detect, investigate, and punish violations of nursing standards. Respect the Board's obligation to protect patients and the public against unqualified nursing. And respect the Board's disciplinary resources and intent even more. You may have done nothing at all wrong, or you may not deserve any discipline because of extenuating and mitigating circumstances. But the Board is certainly prepared and equipped for discipline.
Increased California Board of Registered Nursing Scrutiny
California nurses should expect scrutiny. California Board of Registered Nursing officials take seriously their duty to protect the public. An example is the FBI's Operation Nightingale enforcement action, identifying over 7,600 nurses who allegedly used fraudulent nursing credentials for licensure. California's Board of Registered Nursing cooperated in that action, just as it will continue to scrutinize nurses and their credentials. You practice in a highly regulated professional environment, among the most regulated of any profession. California's Board of Registered Nursing, like other state nursing boards nationwide, monitors investigator, agency, and employer reports of suspicious nursing qualifications and credentials. Don't get caught up in California disciplinary enforcement initiatives. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for your skilled and experienced representation against any kind of nursing misconduct charges, the moment you learn of an inquiry into your nursing credentials or conduct.
Value Your California Board of Registered Nursing License
Your California nursing license has an extraordinary value not just to you but also to your family, employer, patients, and community. Don't undervalue your California nursing license when deciding how to defend your nursing license issues. Consider the personal and financial cost of your nursing education, how hard you studied to pass the NCLEX, and how valuable your on-the-job training has been since you received your nursing license and began your nursing employment. You have not only enormous financial value in your present and future nursing income but also substantial personal and professional value. When you consider what you invested in your nursing career and the return that your nursing career is providing and will provide you, you should better appreciate the time, commitment, and resources you should devote to defending your California nursing license. The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in California to help you defend and address your disciplinary charges for your best outcome.
What California Board of Nursing Charges Mean
License disciplinary charges mean some things but not other things. You should appreciate the difference. First, California Board of Registered Nursing charges are allegations, not conclusions. Disciplinary officials may take complaints at face value. And those complaints may involve substantial guesses, conjecture, and speculation. Patients and their family members who complain against nurses generally lack the nursing education and training to know what constitutes misconduct. Colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates can make mistaken observations and inferences about your recordkeeping, administration of medications, and state of sobriety, subjecting you to false, exaggerated, or unfair charges. But even if your misconduct charges are largely credible or entirely true, they may not warrant discipline because of your extenuating and mitigating circumstances. California license disciplinary officials expect your response and explanation. Their charges don't mean discipline. Their charges instead mean you need to retain highly qualified defense counsel to advocate for you. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for premier representation.
The Nature of California Nursing Board Disciplinary Charges
Appreciate, too, how California nursing license disciplinary charges differ from criminal court charges and civil court claims of nursing malpractice liability. Your California nursing license disciplinary charges will proceed in an administrative rather than court setting. The administrative tribunal hearing your disciplinary charges won't have a court judge and jury. Instead, administrative hearing officers and officials will conduct the proceeding under administrative rules, unlike criminal or civil court procedures. The outcomes of your license proceeding also differ. You won't face jail or prison time, as in the case of criminal charges. And you won't face a monetary judgment against your personal assets, as in the case of a civil court liability claim. But you will face loss of your professional license, job, and income, which are not outcomes the criminal and civil court proceedings seek. Your stakes can thus be every bit as high as or even higher than in a criminal or civil court case. That's why you need highly qualified license defense counsel.
Increased Stakes of California Nursing Board Charges
You may already know that California is not among the thirty-nine states participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact. So you won't automatically lose the Compact's multistate nursing license privileges if California revokes or suspends your nursing license. Because California doesn't participate, your California nursing license didn't automatically qualify you for the Compact's multistate licensure. But California's Board of Registered Nursing now uses the Compact's national Nursys database for reporting and verifying the status of California nursing licenses, including license discipline. That means that your California license discipline will be visible in Nursys to employers and nurse licensing boards nationwide. You likely won't get a nursing license or nursing job anywhere in the U.S. if you suffer a California nursing license revocation. Defend your California nursing license now rather than face licensing issues in other states later. Walking away from your California nursing license because of pending discipline isn't generally a wise option.
What Allegations Put a California Nursing License at Risk?
Professionals face common license disciplinary issues. Nurses in California and elsewhere also face those common professional issues. But nurses have special needs for nursing license defense because of the extraordinary environment in which nurses work. Patients already face disease, disability, and impending demise. Their vulnerability, with the highest life-and-death stakes, makes nursing an especially hazardous profession for disciplinary charges. Section 2761 of California's Nursing Practice Act articulates the specific and general grounds on which California's Board of Registered Nursing may discipline a licensed nurse. Some of those grounds, like the first one for “unprofessional conduct,” are extraordinarily broad and subjective, adding to your disciplinary risk. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team if you face any of the following California Board of Registered Nursing misconduct charges:
- unprofessional conduct;
- incompetence or gross negligence in carrying out usual certified or licensed nursing functions;
- conviction of practicing medicine without a license;
- using advertising relating to nursing violating the Nursing Practice Act or in a false, misleading, or deceptive manner;
- denial of healthcare licensure or revocation, suspension, restriction, or any other disciplinary action against a healthcare license by another professional licensing board;
- procuring your nursing certificate or license by fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake;
- procuring, aiding, abetting, attempting, agreeing to, or offering to procure or assist at a criminal abortion;
- violating or attempting to violate, assisting in or abetting the violating of, or conspiring to violate any nursing standard or regulation;
- making or giving any false statement or information in connection with the application for issuance of a nursing certificate or license;
- conviction of a felony;
- conviction of any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a registered nurse;
- impersonating any applicant or acting as proxy for an applicant in any nursing examination required for the issuance of a certificate or license;
- impersonating another certified or licensed practitioner;
- permitting or allowing another person to use your certificate or license for the purpose of nursing;
- holding oneself out to the public or to any practitioner of the healing arts as a nurse practitioner or as meeting the standards established by the Board for a nurse practitioner unless meeting those standards;
- holding oneself out to the public as being certified by the Board as a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or public health nurse unless you are so certified by the Board; and
- the knowing failure to protect patients by failing to follow infection control guidelines of the Board, thereby risking transmission of blood-borne infectious diseases from licensed or certified nurse to patient, from patient to patient, and from patient to licensed or certified nurse.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for California Nurses?
Article 3 of Chapter 6 of California's Business and Occupations Code authorizes the California Board of Registered Nursing's disciplinary procedures for nurses. Section 2759 specifically authorizes the Board of Registered Nursing to default a nurse who fails to timely respond to disciplinary charges and to enter an appropriate form of discipline. Section 2759 likewise authorizes discipline up to license revocation for any nurse whom the Board finds responsible for misconduct under the following procedures. Retain highly qualified professional license defense counsel to help you invoke the following procedures strategically for your best outcome.
California Board of Registered Nursing Complaints
Under the disciplinary authority of Article 3 of Chapter 6 of California's Business and Occupations Code, and especially its Section 2761, California's Board of Registered Nursing publishes a complaint process. That process invites “anyone who believes a registered nurse has acted in an unsafe or unprofessional manner or that an unlicensed person is illegally providing nursing care” to “file a complaint as soon as possible.” Complaints often come from patients, their family members, colleagues, supervisors, or subordinates. But disciplinary officials may glean their own information from criminal court charges, civil court filings, media reports, and other sources. Disciplinary officials review complaints initially for potential merit, assigning an investigator in appropriate cases. Disciplinary officials keep complaints confidential until authorizing disciplinary charges.
California Board of Registered Nursing Investigations
Not all complaints require investigation. A criminal felony conviction, for instance, establishes the charge without investigation. But in most cases of potential merit, the California Board of Registered Nursing turns the case over to its Investigation Unit for a special investigator to conduct interviews, gather documentary evidence, and write an investigation report. In the ordinary case, the assigned investigator will contact the accused nurse for information. If you learn that you are under investigation, promptly retain highly qualified defense counsel to help you respond accurately, fully, timely, and favorably to the Board's investigator. Your retained Lento Law Firm attorney's information and advocacy may result in a favorable report and dismissal of the charges. And deal with disciplinary charges up front rather than trying to avoid them. Section 2765 provides that just because your license lapses don't prevent an investigation. To the contrary, the Board may investigate and impose discipline to ensure that you do not renew the lapsed license.
California Board of Registered Nursing Consent Agreements
California's Board of Registered Nursing has the authority to enter into a consent agreement with a nurse facing disciplinary charges. Consent agreements can be attractive options to avoid hearings and discipline. But beware of the terms and conditions of a consent agreement, especially if you may be unable to comply. Your failure or inability to comply may result in automatic license suspension or revocation. Consult highly qualified defense counsel before entering into any consent agreement. Skilled counsel may also successfully advocate on your behalf for your own favorable terms and conditions for consent. The Board also has authority under Section 2751 of the Nursing Practice Act to accept license surrender. Beware license surrender. The terms and conditions may prevent you from regaining your license or licensing in another state, especially if the surrender leaves a record of discipline or pending disciplinary charges. Retain qualified counsel to advise you.
California Board of Registered Nursing Minor Violations System
California's Board of Registered Nursing may refer minor violations to its informal Citation and Fine System rather than advancing the case for a formal disciplinary hearing. You may contest a fine or citation through the informal or formal appeal processes. Beware of minor violations. They could affect your employment and career even if they do not result in license discipline. Retain qualified defense counsel to assist you through the formal appeal process. The Board of Registered Nursing may refer cases involving alleged substance abuse to the Board's Recovery and Alternative to Discipline Intervention Program.
California Board of Registered Nursing Formal Hearings
The California Board of Registered Nursing forwards unresolved cases to the state's attorney general for a formal hearing before an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge records the hearing and writes a decision with the findings and rationale. The Board of Registered Nursing then votes on whether to accept or reject the administrative law judge's recommendation. Your retained Lento Law Firm professional license defense attorney may:
- attend the hearing to present your witnesses and other exonerating and mitigating evidence, cross-examine the Board's witnesses against you;
- research, draft, and file a hearing brief;
- attend and advocate at pre-hearing and post-hearing conferences;
- advocate with the full Board to accept, reject, or modify the administrative law judge's decision; and
- seek the limited court review of administrative agency decisions that California law allows.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in California Disciplinary Proceedings
You now have an outline of your California nursing license defense proceeding. You've seen the many ways in which a skilled and experienced Lento Law Firm professional license defense attorney can make a difference in the favorable outcome of your proceeding. But consider two other significant reasons for retaining a highly qualified Lento Law Firm attorney.
Countering Skill and Resource Disadvantages
The California Board of Registered Nursing disciplinary officials, on the other side from you in your disciplinary proceeding, have unlimited resources. So does the state attorney general who will pursue your disciplinary charge in an administrative license hearing. Those state officials are also career professionals, usually with substantial skill and experience implicating nurses in disciplinary charges. That's what they do for a living. By contrast, you are likely facing your first and only professional disciplinary proceeding. Under those circumstances, you are at a gross disadvantage in resources, skill, and experience if you proceed unrepresented. That's one reason why you need to level the playing field by retaining highly qualified defense counsel.
Addressing the Unfavorable Proof Standard
Another compelling reason for you to retain highly qualified professional license defense representation is that the Board of Registered Nursing's proof standard is only a preponderance of the evidence. That means that the Board's evidence needs only outweigh your evidence by the slightest margin. The Board's proof standard is not the criminal court standard, which instead requires a prosecutor to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal defendants can present no defense evidence whatsoever and still prevail if their criminal defense lawyer can poke a few holes in the prosecution's evidence, enough to raise a reasonable doubt. By contrast, you and your retained Lento Law Firm professional license defense attorney must present at least as much evidence as the Board presents, or you will lose to the Board's charges. You can't sit back and poke holes. You must make your defense case.
License Defense Team for California Board of Registered Nursing Charges
Don't proceed unrepresented or with unqualified defense counsel. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to defend your California Board of Registered Nursing disciplinary charges. Trust the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team, as hundreds of other licensed professionals have done. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.