The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Is Here to Help When Your License Is in Jeopardy
Nursing licenses are one of the few professional licenses that can be received in one state and used in several others. As such, it is the perfect profession for individuals looking to travel or who want to experience a vast array of medical facilities and populations. However, because agency nurses are transient, they end up being accused whenever something goes wrong at the facility they are currently working at. This leads to agency nurses with valid contracts being asked to leave.
Agency nurses who are asked to leave their current contract for alleged misconduct may then be referred to their state licensing board, as well as the licensing board where the medical facility is located. Any referral to a state nursing license board can have a detrimental impact on the accused individual's career, livelihood, and personal life. They should not be taken lightly.
To ensure you are not wrongfully prevented from continuing your work as an agency nurse, it is important you contact an experienced attorney the moment you learn of the accusations against you – even before you are asked to leave. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team appreciates the complexities of cases like this and will work tirelessly not only to get you the best possible outcome for your case but also to ensure you are able to continue working afterward.
Lento Law Firm is proud to serve agency nurses who currently reside in, or are traveling to, Connecticut, including those in:
- New Britain
- New Haven
- West Hartford
Connecticut Regulations for Agency Nurses
Every state has specific regulations that govern the professional licenses they award. The nursing profession is no different, though there are additional regulations that may affect nurses employed for contract work, especially those traveling from out of state to work for a short period of time.
Whatever your status is, whether you are a licensed practical nurse, a certified nursing aide, a registered nurse, or an advanced practice registered nurse, the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing will oversee any issues you might have while working in Connecticut. They will review the accusations against you and determine whether your license should be sanctioned in some way.
Other regulations in Connecticut that oversee agency nurses include the following:
- Nurse Practice Act: This act sets boundaries for how nurses should practice so they can provide patients with safe nursing care.
- Administrative Rules of Practice: Describes the procedure for making complaints against an agency nurse, as well as how the Board should conduct their hearings and how appeals should be made and decided.
- Uniform Administrative Procedure Act: Lays out how the Board may conduct their hearings for disciplinary matters.
What Do Misconduct Charges Mean for Agency Nurses in Connecticut?
When an agency nurse is accused of misconduct, it does not necessarily mean they will lose their license immediately. Instead, the Board must conduct a series of proceedings to give you time to tell your side of the story and defend yourself against such accusations. If, after these proceedings are exhausted, the Board determines you have committed the alleged misconduct, they will decide if they should limit your license in some way, suspend it, or revoke it altogether.
No matter where your case starts, there is always a chance the Board could dismiss the charges. Having a skilled professional license defense attorney is the best way to guarantee you have a solid defense.
Are Nursing Board Proceedings Civil, Criminal, or Administrative
Board proceedings are neither criminal nor civil – they are administrative. Administrative proceedings are conducted by government agencies, in this case, the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing. They are meant to hold their licensed professionals accountable.
Even though Board proceedings are administrative, they still need to be taken seriously. In fact, administrative proceedings can often have a harsher effect on a person's life than criminal charges or a civil lawsuit might. When you are notified of an accusation of misconduct, you must move quickly to protect yourself and your nursing license. The worst thing you can do is wait and see how it will play out or try and present a defense without legal guidance. Individuals who try to defend themselves in front of the Board tend to be unsuccessful, forcing them into years of regret and frustration.
Criminal Charges for Agency Nurses in Connecticut
There are some cases where the Board or the medical facility where you work will refer the accusations to law enforcement officials. Usually, these accusations include sexual assault, assault or battery, fraud, or theft. As such, you could be facing both an administrative proceeding by the Board and a criminal case at the same time, which could result in the loss of your professional license as well as jail time and a significant fine.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will help you craft a strategic defense to all your charges – civil, criminal, or administrative.
Grounds for Making Misconduct Allegations Against Agency Nurses in Connecticut
Under the Nurse Practice Act in Connecticut, the Board has the right to investigate any misconduct accusations against a nurse, such as:
- Committing fraud or material deception, like using someone else's information to get a nursing license in CT, falsifying records or medical files, or concealing a criminal history.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, whether at work or outside of the premises.
- Committing illegal conduct during employment.
- Negligently carrying out typical nursing duties.
- Practicing nursing without the requisite knowledge or licenses.
- Having a physical or mental disorder or deterioration that puts the patient, the facility, and the staff in jeopardy.
- Having an emotional disorder or mental illness.
Basically, any conduct that compromises public safety or that makes people question your capabilities to follow conventional nursing standards can initiate a licensing hearing.
The Disciplinary Process for Agency Nurses in Connecticut
Once a complaint is made, the Board will follow a series of procedures and policies to adjudicate the case. Their goal is to uncover exactly what happened and issue penalties against the nurse if necessary. The hope is that penalizing the nurse will deter other nurses from behaving in a similar manner. Unfortunately, when falsely accused nurses are found responsible for the alleged conduct, it just gives the medical facility or complainant the confidence to file more false accusations whenever they feel like it.
To combat this injustice, your professional license defense attorney will reach out to the Board and advocate on your behalf. They will also ensure any wrongdoing, bias, or inconsistencies in the adjudication process are brought to the Board's attention so they can be held accountable.
After a complaint is made against an agency nurse, the Board will review it and determine the next steps. Usually, an investigator will begin interviewing the complainant, the accused agency nurse, and any other relevant witnesses. They will also decide if the nurse should be submitted to physical or mental testing.
License and Disciplinary Hearings
Sometimes, after informal meetings and negotiations between the Board or the investigator and the accused agency nurse, the charges will be dismissed. This only happens, though, if the Board sees that there is no merit in the complaint or that the conduct is so minor it can be settled before a hearing could take place.
In most cases, though, they will proceed to a formal hearing. During the hearing, you will have a chance to present evidence and witness testimony to support your defense. When it ends, the Board will review the evidence presented by both sides and determine if the agency nurse is responsible for the accused misconduct. If they decide that they are, they will also determine which sanctions to impose on the nurse. Sanctions tend to range from formal reprimands to license suspension or revocation.
How to Defend Against Agency Nursing License Allegations in Connecticut
The moment you learn of an accusation against you, you must begin working on your defense. This includes contacting a highly experienced and knowledgeable professional license defense attorney. They will help you determine what to do next.
Typically, next steps include:
- Preparing for the investigator's interviews.
- Defending yourself during the investigator's interview.
- Gathering relevant documents and evidence.
- Identifying and speaking to witnesses.
- Constructing a defense to deliver during the hearing proceeding.
Depending on the nature of the accusations, there could be several defenses available to you. For instance, if you are accused of assaulting a patient in the hallway, there should be camera footage of the alleged incident. Your attorney will request the footage, and if they find no evidence of the assault at the date and time it supposedly occurred, they will use that information to support your assertion that you did not assault that patient.
Lento Law Firm will review your case and help you figure out the best course of action given the circumstances surrounding the supposed incident. They will not rest until your argument is backed by solid, undeniable evidence.
It should also be noted that there are instances where an agency nurse did commit misconduct. In such cases, your attorney may advise you that it is best to admit to the conduct. Then, they will help you craft a compelling statement explaining what happened, hopefully mitigating any unnecessary consequences you might experience.
Whatever they suggest, you must remember that Lento Law Firm works for you. Their advice is meant to offer you the best possible outcome. Thus, they would not offer options that will cause you more frustration or uncertainty.
Possible Outcomes for Agency Nursing License Hearings in Connecticut
In Connecticut, the Board of Examiners for Nursing has the right to impose sanctions on any nurse, even agency nurses, that it believes violated one of its rules. Possible sanctions include:
- Fines. For example, in cases involving false representation, an agency nurse can be fined up to $500.
- Education. If the issue revolves around an agency nurse's gap in knowledge or capabilities, the Board may require you to attend a Board-certified course to close those gaps.
- Probation. If the Board allows an agency nurse to continue working during the hearing or after, despite believing they committed the misconduct, they may place them on probation for a certain period of time.
- Reprimand. This punishment tends to be in writing and acts as a warning to not behave similarly again.
- Suspension. If the Board suspends your license, they are prohibiting you from practicing nursing until your license is reinstated. For agency nurses, this means you can no longer work in the state of Connecticut until it is reinstated. It will more than likely also affect your ability to work in another state for that period of time.
- Revocation. Nursing licenses are usually revoked for serious incidents of misconduct. If your license is revoked, you cannot practice nursing in CT. Sometimes, the Board will notify a nurse that they can reapply for their license. However, there is no guarantee that they will have it reinstated once they reapply.
Whatever sanction the Board imposes, it will be recorded on your nursing record, which means it will follow you from state to state, position to position.
License Revocation and Criminal Charges
As we explained above, there are times when an agency nurse will experience both a Board disciplinary hearing and a criminal charge at once. While these cases tend to involve the same facts and complaints, there are cases where the criminal charges will be unrelated to your abilities to practice nursing but will still affect your nursing license.
For instance, if you are accused of vehicular manslaughter in Connecticut, the Board will likely be notified of the charges. As a vehicular manslaughter charge involves driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, the Board may investigate if you are also working while under the influence or abusing such substances outside of work. If they discover you are, or if you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter in criminal court, your nursing license will probably be suspended or revoked completely.
The minute you become aware of any legal matter that could put your license at risk, you must contact Lento Law Firm. Not only will they be able to help protect you from criminal charges, but they will also be able to prevent any negative consequences from impacting your nursing license.
Appealing a Nursing License Suspension or Revocation in Connecticut
Once the Board has heard your defense, they will review the evidence presented by both sides and determine whether the nurse in question is responsible for the accused misconduct. Agency nurses who are found responsible for the misconduct have 10 days from the date of the Board's decision to appeal it.
Appeals processes are not super straightforward and can cause an already stressed-out agency nurse to feel even more overwhelmed and anxious. Moreover, if your appeal is unsuccessful, the next course of action is to petition the Connecticut civil court system to challenge the Board's decision.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will review the Board's decision and the appeal instructions and figure out the best way to present your appeal. They understand how exhausting these proceedings are, which makes many agency nurses decide not to pursue the appeal. But let's be clear: any decision in Connecticut will affect your license in most other states, preventing you from continuing to take agency work and working as a nurse for the foreseeable future. As such, it is imperative you make the most of the appeals process and do everything you can to stop you from losing your nursing license.
Applying for a New Nursing License in Connecticut
If your license is original to Connecticut and was revoked while working with a nursing agency within the state, you may be able to get it reinstated. Unfortunately, this process is a bit more complicated than simply applying to have a lapsed license restored.
Instead, you must carefully craft a case, using evidence and testimony to support it. However, just because you submit a request for reinstatement does not necessarily mean the Board will accept it. This is why it is so important to try to avoid a revocation of your license in the first place. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will be by your side every step of the way.
Your Career Is on the Line
Becoming a nurse is an incredible fete. Not only do you have to take college-level prerequisites, but you also must complete difficult courses and master an extremely tough series of exams before you can even apply for a license.
For those who end up working with an agency, either as contract nurses or travel nurses, the high pay and fast-paced environment make your past experiences worth it. Then, one day, an allegation is made against you, and the world you have dreamed up and worked hard to build comes crashing down.
No matter how slight or small the allegations against you might seem, they can have disastrous effects on your personal and professional lives. For instance, if you receive a formal reprimand from the Board, it will be recorded on your nursing record. Any time you apply to a new position, or the agency tries to send you on a new assignment, the employer or medical facility will learn of the punishment. This may make them hesitate to hire you or encourage them to keep you on a short leash if they do hire you.
Besides, if the Board revokes your license, you may not be able to get it back. A revocation sanction is supposed to be permanent – meaning the Board intends that you will not practice nursing in the future.
You have worked hard to get where you are. If you decide not to work with an experienced professional license defense attorney, you are preventing yourself from pursuing the chance to protect your nursing career.
How the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help
Connecticut, like most other states, allows agency nurses to represent themselves during nursing disciplinary hearings. Unfortunately, many agency nurses decide to attend these hearings without fully preparing and end up being unsuccessful. They get disciplined, potentially lose their license, and are left without understanding how to pursue an appeal or apply for reinstatement.
Working with the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team allows you to not only prepare fully for your hearing but also have someone guiding and negotiating for you throughout the process. For instance, many agency nurse issues can be resolved outside of a formal hearing. Lento Law Firm will reach out to the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing on your behalf and inquire into the matter.
In addition to our drive and commitment to our clients, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands the complexities of agency nursing disciplinary matters. Our attorneys have helped a number of medical professionals fight to keep their licenses after false or inflammatory claims are made against them.
Disciplinary matters are extremely overwhelming, especially when your career and livelihood are on the line. It will be hard to remain objective and clear-headed enough to defend yourself. Thus, the only way to succeed in a disciplinary matter is to work with experienced and highly competitive counsel. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online. You do not have to go through this alone; Lento Law Firm can help.