The Lento Law Firm Is Here to Help You Retain Your License
Is your CT nursing license at risk? Whether you're facing a suspension or revocation, time is of the essence. You must act quickly – but effectively – to preserve your nursing license and remain within the profession.
You need representation from knowledgeable attorneys who understand what's at stake. At the Lento Law Firm, we believe that every nurse deserves a chance to explain themselves. We know how hard you've worked for this career, and we understand that one mistake should not bring it to an end.
Whether you're a new nurse or you have decades of experience, the Lento Law Firm can help. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team are proud to serve nurses across Connecticut, including:
- New Haven
- West Haven
We help nurses across every discipline, from pediatrics to oncology. From licensed practical nurses to advanced practice nurses, we're waiting to help you protect your license. Call 888.535.3686 or leave us a message online to arrange a meeting to discuss professional licensing concerns.
Nursing Regulations in Connecticut
There are various rules and regulations for nurses in Connecticut to follow. Hospitals, for example, have their own conduct codes and disciplinary procedures. However, from a licensing perspective, the most significant rules in CT are the Nurse Practice Act, the Administrative Rules of Practice, and the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act. These rules are enforced by the Connecticut Board of Nursing (the “Board”).
Connecticut Board of Nursing
The CT Nursing Board is part of CT's Department of Public Health. The board handles all matters related to nursing education, licensing, and disciplinary action. It handles complaints against nurses and conducts hearings to determine whether a license should be suspended or revoked.
The board is responsible for ensuring that all nurses working in CT are fit to practice and capable of delivering safe, effective patient care. They must ensure consistently high academic standards and identify any areas for improvement.
If you're the subject of a professional complaint or allegation in CT, the board investigates the accusations and determines if a hearing is appropriate or if it may be possible to resolve matters informally.
Nurse Practice Act
Every state is responsible for implementing the US-wide Nurse Practice Act. CT adopted the Act into state law through Chapter 378 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Connecticut's Nurse Practice Act promotes patient safety by setting parameters for safe nursing care. It defines, for example:
- The role of the board in supervising and disciplining nurses.
- The responsibilities of nurses of all levels.
- The criteria for obtaining a nursing license in CT.
- The nature of disciplinary hearings, decisions, and appeals.
- The penalties and corrective actions which may apply to nurses facing disciplinary charges.
Although you do not need to understand the Act in detail, you must understand the role it plays in how disciplinary matters proceed and how it could impact your professional license.
Administrative Rules of Practice
The Rules of Practice are more technical in nature. They specify the processes or mechanisms for making complaints, conducting hearings, and appealing decisions. Key provisions include the following.
- Anyone can file a petition, or complaint, against a nurse if they believe the individual violated state, federal, or hospital regulations or laws (Title 2, Section 19a-9-9).
- Dismissed individuals have a right to appeal decisions against them (Title 2, Section 19a-6-16).
- Every individual subject to a disciplinary hearing must receive fair notice in writing so they have a proper chance to prepare (Title 2, Section 19a-9-18).
Your attorney will use their understanding of these rules and technicalities to help you present the strongest possible case in your defense.
Uniform Administrative Procedure Act
CT's Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (Title 4 of the 2018 Connecticut General Statutes) covers how government agencies – such as the board – may conduct hearings and address disciplinary matters in more detail. For example, the board cannot typically revoke a nurse's license unless they give the nurse notice, in writing, of the allegations and the proposed action against them. If it's an emergency and the license is suspended with immediate effect, the process is slightly different, but there are still clear steps to follow (Section 4-182).
You are not expected to delve into these rules and try to apply them effectively when your professional license is at stake. Contact Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team to get advice from attorneys who already understand these rules and how to apply them to your case.
What Do Misconduct Charges Mean for Nurses in CT?
Before we break down what's involved in licensing proceedings, it's important to consider what disciplinary action means.
Disciplinary action does not automatically mean that you will lose your nursing privileges. Misconduct charges do not necessarily mean the end of your career. Your license can only be suspended or revoked following a formal administrative hearing before the board. You will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story and present your own evidence in your defense.
There is always the possibility that allegations will be dismissed. It's also often possible to handle misconduct accusations informally by entering negotiations with the board. An experienced license defense attorney understands how to begin such negotiations and keep matters cordial where possible.
Are Proceedings Civil, Criminal, or Administrative?
To be clear, licensure issues are not criminal charges or civil lawsuits. They're administrative, meaning they present an opportunity for government agencies – such as the board – to hold professionals to account. That said, these are still serious proceedings. The consequences for your professional reputation and long-term career prospects can be significant. You must treat them seriously and look for a swift, effective means to bring matters to a close.
The worst thing you can do is ignore the issue. The second worst thing you can do is fail to prepare. It doesn't matter that this is not a formal civil or criminal case – your best option is to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Depending on the allegations against you, there's a chance you may face criminal charges. Examples of charges you could face include fraud, assault, or sexual assault. These are, of course, highly serious in nature and could result in financial penalties or jail time. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Team have the knowledge and experience to handle any criminal charges flowing from your disciplinary matter. We can manage the entirety of your case for you, giving you one less thing to worry about during this incredibly stressful time.
Grounds for Making Misconduct Allegations in Connecticut
Under the Nurse Practice Act, the board has the power to investigate allegations of conduct that fall below accepted nursing standards. Such conduct includes the following:
- Fraud or material deception, e.g., using false information to fraudulently obtain a license, concealing criminal history, or falsifying records or medical files.
- Incompetence or negligence when carrying out typical nursing duties.
- Illegal behavior or conduct during your employment.
- Physical or mental deterioration or disorder which compromises patient safety.
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medication or chemicals.
Any act which compromises public safety or which calls into question your ability to conform to accepted nursing standards could result in a license hearing.
The Investigation Process
This stage is when the board considers the merits of the allegations. They have certain powers, such as requiring an individual to submit to physical or mental testing, depending on the alleged misconduct.
Investigations may also involve interviews with staff or talking to witnesses.
License and Disciplinary Hearings
In some cases, it may be possible to dispose of allegations informally. The board may determine that there's no merit in the complaint or that it is minor enough to settle before a hearing date. In other cases, you will proceed to a hearing.
A hearing is your chance to put forward your defense and supporting evidence. The board will reach a decision based on the evidence presented. If they determine that the conduct fell short of accepted nursing standards, then they may impose sanctions. These sanctions range in severity from reprimands to license revocation.
How to Defend Nursing License Allegations
If you're facing license revocation or suspension, you must use the time between now and your hearing date wisely. After contacting an attorney, your next steps should be gathering evidence and determining how to answer the allegations.
There could be numerous defenses open to you, depending on what happened. And in some cases, all that may be required is a simple explanation or some context. Even if more robust evidence is required, a licensing defense attorney can help you gather the proof you need to support your position. And if you decide that it's best to admit the allegations and offer an explanation, your attorney can help you present an eloquent and compelling statement.
Every professional licensing matter is unique. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team can explain what options are open to you after they carefully evaluate the board's case and the evidence available.
Possible Outcomes of License Hearings in CT
The CT Nursing Board has the power to impose a range of sanctions, corrective action, or penalties following a disciplinary hearing. Some of the most common outcomes include the following.
- Education: You may be expected to remedy any alleged knowledge gaps by attending Board-certified courses.
- Fines: In some cases, the board may impose financial penalties. For example, you could face a fine of up to $500 for false representation (Nurse Practice Act, Section 20-102).
- Probation: The Board may allow you to continue working but subject to the proviso that any further allegations may result in more serious disciplinary action. The board can decide how long the probation period will last.
- Reprimand: A formal reprimand means a warning, in writing, about your conduct. This will be recorded in your nursing record.
- Revocation: Your license will be revoked, meaning you can't lawfully practice nursing in Connecticut. At the board's discretion, you may reapply for a license later, but there is no guarantee it will be reinstated.
- Suspension: Suspension means you can't practice until your license is reinstated. You can request to have your license reinstated once the suspension period is over.
Any disciplinary findings may also be recorded on your permanent nursing record.
License Revocation and Criminal Charges
As mentioned, you may face criminal charges alongside your license issues. It's also possible that unrelated criminal charges could bring your fitness to practice nursing into question. For example, if you're convicted of domestic violence, then your license could be under threat. Even a substantiated child abuse finding against you, although a civil rather than criminal matter, could jeopardize your license.
Contact the Lento Law Firm immediately if you're a nurse dealing with any legal matter which puts your license at risk. We will do everything we can to help you understand the charges and the possible implications. We will also endeavor to mitigate the consequences of any criminal or civil actions against you.
Appealing a License Suspension or Revocation
You typically have 10 days from the date of the board's decision to appeal your license suspension or revocation. The appeals process is not straightforward, though. You must first exhaust the board's appeal processes and, if unsuccessful, petition CT's civil court system (Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, Section 4-183). This could involve petitioning the Superior Court directly to challenge the board's decision.
Appeals are serious matters, and the stakes are high – once you have exhausted your appeal rights, the decision is permanent. Your best course of action is to construct the most convincing case in the first instance to increase your chances of retaining your license and avoiding the need for appeals.
Applying for a New Nursing License in Connecticut
Have you lost your nursing license in Connecticut? It may be possible to have your license reinstated. The process is more complicated than simply applying to renew a lapsed license, though. It requires careful consideration and building a clear and convincing case in your favor.
An experienced attorney can explain whether you may reapply for a nursing license in CT and, if so, how the process works. The board may not accept your application – avoiding a revocation in the first place should always be the priority.
Your Career Is on the Line
When you entered the nursing profession, you probably did so with the goal of remaining there for life. You're passionate about healthcare and about reaching your professional potential. But any disciplinary matter, no matter how slight, can jeopardize these goals.
If you're formally reprimanded, this disciplinary action stays on your nursing record. This could raise questions about your performance or suitability for future opportunities. And if your license is suspended, you can't practice at all for a set period. Depending on the board's decision, this could be a significant length of time.
In the worst-case scenario, if you lose your license, there's no guarantee you will get it back. Revocation is considered a permanent solution, and you may be unable to practice nursing in the future. Given how hard you've worked to reach this point, license revocation is devastating.
Do not underestimate how significant disciplinary matters can be, especially if they are malicious or anonymous complaints. They must be handled effectively to ensure you have a full and fair opportunity to protect your nursing career.
Your Nursing License Is Precious
No matter whether you're a new nurse or an experienced professional, remember what your license stands for. Your nursing license is more than just a registration document.
It's the passport to your entire nursing career. It's what you have spent time, money, and considerable resources on obtaining. You have probably sacrificed a lot to achieve your career goals, and your license is proof of your efforts.
What's more, a nursing license shows that you're a part of the healthcare profession – a cornerstone of our society. Losing your license means losing the right to practice and losing the right to help patients in their time of need.
Nursing is a privilege. Your license proves that you deserve the responsibility. Fight to protect it – contact Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team.
How a Professional License Defense Team Can Help
In CT, you're entitled to represent yourself at any nursing disciplinary hearing. However, this may not be the best option for you – not when the stakes are so high.
- The CT Nursing Board has vast experience in conducting disciplinary investigations. They understand how to gather evidence and present a legally robust and convincing argument. If you do not have an attorney alongside you, then you're already at a disadvantage before you even attend the hearing.
- Disciplinary hearings are highly stressful. Your career is potentially on the line. It may be challenging for you to remain objective and present a clear, reasonable explanation for what happened. Your attorney will have no such difficulties. They will act as a shield between you and the board, doing everything they can to help you protect your license.
- The board's attorneys work with the relevant laws and regulations every day. They have considerable knowledge of the process and what tactics to deploy to their advantage. A professional license defense attorney will use this knowledge to your advantage instead.
We understand that you may wish to deal with this matter as quickly as possible. You may believe that hiring an attorney is unnecessary. Or you may worry that it makes you look guilty. However, you must consider the potential long-term impact of losing your license. It's in your best interests to use every tool at your disposal to protect the career you've worked for and avoid disciplinary action.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
Why should you retain the Lento Law Firm? Here's what separates our attorneys from the rest.
- Knowledge: Our team understands how to handle agency and board disciplinary proceedings. We will ensure that the CT Nursing Boards follow due process, and we'll use our knowledge of the regulations to open the lines of communication. Where possible, we attempt to negotiate rather than use more adversarial tactics. After all, the goal is to help you preserve your license with minimal fuss.
- Experience: Our attorneys have helped numerous medical professionals fight disciplinary charges, keep their jobs, and retain their licenses.
- Commitment: From the moment you hire our team, we're committed to you. We'll stand by your side through any disciplinary hearing and appeal, and we'll do everything we can to secure a favorable outcome. We want you to feel supported and to have confidence in our ability to fight for your license.
- Drive: We're all about justice at the Lento Law Firm. That's what drives us, what pushes us to do everything possible for our clients. We know you deserve an opportunity to explain yourself and fight disciplinary action. Let us stand with you and help you get the fair chance you're entitled to.
No matter the allegations against you, no matter how steep the odds may seem, call the Lento Law Firm. Our Professional License Defense Team is ready and willing to help you today.
Retain the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team
As a nurse, you work tirelessly to help people during vulnerable and stressful times in their lives. And as a professional, you might not feel comfortable reaching out for help because you have high expectations of yourself. At the Lento Law Firm, we understand this. After all, our Professional License Defense Team is composed of committed, hardworking individuals who expect nothing but the best from us.
But if you're facing license suspension or revocation, this is one challenge you should not feel compelled to face alone. You need an attorney on your side who can guide you through the process and ensure you have the best chance of retaining your license. You've worked so hard to become a nurse – don't let your career slip away. Retain the Lento Law Firm and face disciplinary proceedings with confidence. Call 888.535.3686 or arrange a meeting through our contact form.