Colorado Practical and Vocational Nurses License Defense

Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses are vital to healthcare, providing essential services and playing a critical role in the communities they serve. Colorado's State Board of Nursing holds its practical nurses to high standards to protect public health and safety, and they enforce strict rules and regulations governing nursing licenses in the state. Unfortunately, as a result, even a single complaint can jeopardize your practical or vocational nursing license and career. Understanding the complete legal process that follows an accusation, as well as your rights, is crucial if you are facing an investigation by the board. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is experienced in defending licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses in Colorado and across the nation who have found their license in a state of uncertainty. Consulting with our team can provide you with the support you need at any stage of the process. Call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.

Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses in Colorado

As a practical or vocational nurse in Colorado, you may be employed at a large hospital like the University of Colorado Hospital, the Denver Health Medical Center, the North Colorado Medical Center, or Saint Joseph Hospital. You may also be employed at a smaller facility, a physician's office, or a nursing home. Regardless of whether you are a licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse, and no matter where you are employed, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has the experience necessary to provide you with the best possible defense to safeguard your license and your livelihood.

Colorado Nursing Disciplinary Process

The Colorado Board of Nursing operates under the Colorado Code of Regulations and the Colorado Revised Statutes and safeguards the health and safety of the public through the licensure and regulation of nursing practice. These rules and regulations govern both professional and practical nursing licenses, with the definition of “practical nurses” encompassing both licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). The Board is comprised of eleven members appointed by the Governor, including two licensed practical nurses, seven professional nurses, and two public members who are not licensed healthcare providers. These members provide comprehensive oversight, ensuring the Board addresses the diverse aspects of the nursing profession.

The Board's primary responsibilities include licensing qualified nursing professionals, enforcing ongoing education and practice requirements, investigating complaints, conducting hearings, and taking disciplinary action against nurses who violate professional standards or laws. Additionally, the Board develops and enforces rules and policies to govern nursing practice in Colorado.

Complaint Stage

The Board can receive complaints from various sources, including employers or patients and their families. Once an individual files a complaint, the Board may request your written response and supporting evidence. You will then have 30 days to respond to the notice of the complaint, which includes the nature of the complaint and potential grounds for discipline. If the complaint indicates an immediate and clear danger to public health, the Board can suspend your license and initiate a preliminary hearing within 30 days. If the allegations lack sufficient evidence, the Board will lift the suspension. Suspensions can last up to 180 days.


Upon receiving a complaint, the Board's enforcement attorneys will begin an investigation, including issuing subpoenas, collecting information from witnesses under oath, and gathering testimonies. The result of this investigation will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with disciplinary action. An assigned inquiry panel will supervise the investigation. The panel will review the findings and decide on appropriate actions, such as dismissing the complaint, issuing a letter of concern or admonition, or proceeding with a formal complaint.

Preliminary Hearing Stage

During the preliminary hearing, the Board assesses whether there is a prima facie case, meaning there is enough evidence to warrant a formal hearing. The Board may offer a consent agreement to avoid a formal hearing. In this stage, you have the right to cross-examine witnesses, present evidence and testimony, and, most importantly, hire legal representation. Having experienced legal counsel by your side during this stage of the process is crucial to ensuring that you have the best possible defense. If the Board finds insufficient evidence at this stage, your license will be reinstated immediately.

Consent Agreement

A consent agreement is a way to resolve the issue at hand without a formal hearing. By signing a consent agreement, you admit to wrongdoing and accept disciplinary action, which could include suspension or probation of your license. It comes with strict terms and conditions for license reinstatement. According to the governing statutes, a consent agreement may involve regular monitoring, counseling, or additional training. It is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm before signing any consent agreement.

Formal Hearing

You have the right to a full and fair hearing before the Board under Colorado law. This process includes:

  • Notification of the investigation and charges
  • The right to testify and present defense evidence
  • Legal representation to submit documents and argue your case

A hearings panel or an administrative law judge will conduct the formal hearing. When the Board notifies a Colorado LPN or LVN of a formal hearing, they will receive a formal notice outlining the charges and the date and time of the hearing. Preparing thoroughly for the hearing is imperative, as it is your opportunity to present the case comprehensively. Legal representation by the experienced Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is crucial at this stage, as the Board will also have its attorney presenting evidence and arguments against you.

During the hearing, the Board's attorney and the nurse's defense can call witnesses, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. The hearings panel or administrative law judge will then deliberate based on the evidence and testimonies presented.


After the formal hearing, the Board will vote on whether and which disciplinary action should be taken. A majority vote is required to impose disciplinary measures, which the Board will then communicate in writing. Depending on the severity of the misconduct, the decision may include a warning, a suspension, or even a license revocation. The Board prioritizes public protection over the potential rehabilitation of the accused LPN or LVN. At this stage, the Board's decision will be recorded and permanently put on your record, which can, of course, significantly impact your career.

Disciplinary Charges Against Licensed Practical Nurses and Vocational Nurses

There are various disciplinary actions that the Board can impose, including:

  • Letter of Concern: A non-disciplinary action that serves as a formal warning. This letter has not been made public but remains in the nurse's file, and the Board may consider it in future complaints.
  • Admonition: A formal disciplinary action that is public record. Admonition does not restrict the nurse's ability to practice but can impact their professional reputation and future job opportunities.
  • Civil Penalties: Fines imposed by the Board for violations of nursing regulations. Civil penalties can be imposed alongside other disciplinary actions.
  • Probation: Allows the nurse to continue practicing under specific conditions and monitoring by the Board. Failure to comply with probation terms can lead to more severe actions.
  • Cease and Desist Orders: This order immediately stops the nurse from continuing the offending behavior.
  • Suspension: Temporarily removes the nurse's license, prohibiting them from practicing for a specified period.
  • Revocation: The most severe disciplinary action is permanently terminating the LPN or LVN's license, preventing them from practicing nursing unless they successfully apply for reinstatement after a mandatory waiting period, typically two years.

Common Allegations That Can Endanger Your Practical or Vocational Nursing License

The Colorado State Board of Nursing takes allegations of misconduct against licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses seriously, including:

  • Fraudulent Practices
  • Gross Neglect or Abuse
  • Improper Prescribing or Dispensing
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Poor Record Keeping
  • Failure to Follow Treatment Recommendations
  • Criminal Convictions

Cross State Certification

The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) is an initiative allowing nurses to hold a multi-state license, enabling them to practice in any participating compact state without additional licenses. Colorado's membership in the eNLC significantly benefits nurses by facilitating greater mobility and access to diverse job opportunities across state lines. While the eNLC offers flexibility, it also imposes responsibilities related to compliance with the practice laws of each state where the nurse works.

Disciplinary actions and investigations under the eNLC involve multiple layers of regulatory oversight. Practical and vocational nurses practicing in compact states are subject to the authority of their home state, the Board of Nursing, and the states' boards where they practice. If you work in more than one state and are facing board trouble in multiple states, the disciplinary proceedings become extremely complex. Fortunately, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has many years of experience representing Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses in Colorado and across the nation.


If you disagree with the Board's decision, you have the right to appeal based on:

  • Violations of rights
  • Procedural errors
  • Lack of substantial evidence

To initiate an appeal, the nurse must file a notice of appeal within a specified time frame after receiving the Board's decision. This deadline is typically 30 days from the date of the decision, including the grounds for appeal and any alleged errors or violations that occurred during the initial hearing process. During this process, you have the right to submit written briefs and sometimes present oral arguments. The higher authority, an administrative law judge or a judicial panel will review the original and newly introduced evidence. The appeal process is not a rehearing of the case. Instead, its goal is to identify any legal or procedural mistakes impacting the case's outcome. Should the higher authority find significant errors, it can overturn the Board's decision or remand the case for a new hearing.


After suspension or revocation, you may reapply for your license, typically after meeting specific criteria and demonstrating rehabilitation. Reinstating a practical or vocational nursing license in Colorado after suspension or revocation involves a structured and comprehensive process to ensure the nurse meets all necessary criteria to resume practice safely and ethically. The first step towards reinstatement is to submit a reinstatement application to the Colorado Board of Nursing. This application must be thoroughly completed, including documentation demonstrating the nurse's compliance with disciplinary orders. Furthermore, nurses seeking reinstatement may be subject to an evaluation by the Board to assess their current fitness to practice. This evaluation could involve a review of the nurse's professional conduct during the suspension period and a physical or mental health assessment if relevant to the initial cause of suspension. Nurses must wait at least two years from the revocation date before applying for reinstatement. During this period, they should address the issues that led to their license revocation, such as completing a rehabilitation program or gaining additional training.

License Application and Renewal

Regular nursing license renewal is essential, and past disciplinary actions can affect this process. The Board manages the licensure and renewal process, ensuring compliance with state regulations. The Board reports disciplinary actions nationally, impacting your ability to practice as an LPN or LVN in other states. If you have actions on your license and are applying for a renewal, you must disclose any past disciplinary actions on your application, as well as provide documents showing your compliance with any required education or rehabilitation programs. It is crucial to maintain a clean record as these adverse decisions can follow you throughout your career.

Why Retain the Lento Law Firm Nursing License Defense Team

Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses in Colorado conduct important work to support their communities. Allegations of possible misconduct can take your time, attention, and energy away from performing this vital work. It can be extremely frustrating dealing with strict Board deadlines, extensive legal jargon, and convoluted Colorado Administrative Law statutes. The Lento Law Firm has extensive experience defending practical and vocational nurses facing disciplinary actions and will ensure you have robust legal representation at every stage, protecting your license and your career. Contact us at 888-535-3686 or tell 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.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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