Defense for Illinois Agency Nurses – Licensing Issues

Illinois is full of more than 220,000 licensed Registered Nurses who work tirelessly to help protect and promote patient welfare. Nurses also make up the largest group of healthcare providers in the state. It's safe to say that nurses are integral to the welfare of Illinois residents. They're highly competent and well-respected professionals. 

However, despite the exhaustive training that nurses undergo to get their credentials, their licenses are often put at risk. For misunderstandings, complaints from aggravated patients, or other on-the-job issues, nurses in Illinois are put under investigation all the time, and some end up losing their nursing licenses and the ability to practice the professions they worked so hard for. 

At the Lento Law Firm, we understand that you face a great deal of scrutiny at work, especially if you work for a nursing agency that contracts your services out to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. When you're not employed directly by the medical facility where you provide patient care, the chances of getting accused of unprofessionalism tend to be higher.  

If you're facing accusations that put your nursing license at risk, you should fight them with every resource you have. You shouldn't put your faith in the nursing board or your employer to protect you. You can put your faith in the Professional License Defense Team of attorneys at the Lento Law Firm, though. We'll be by your side throughout the entire process to help you protect your license. 

Call our firm today at 888-535-3686 or fill out our contact form, and a member of our team will get back to you. 

Illinois Nursing Board 

In Illinois, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) handles licensing for medical professionals in the state, including nurses. All licensed nurses must apply and renew through IDFPR. If you are accused of misconduct while on the job, the IDFPR handles the complaint and hearing process. 

IDFPR also has a professional license database where anyone can look up a license issued to any professional in the state. Anyone, including the medical facilities where you're contracted, your hiring agency, or patients under your care, can look up your license and see what the status is. They can also see if any past disciplinary action was taken. If you do end up getting sanctions from IDFPR, it will show up in the database—even if your license was reinstated and you're once again in good standing. 

If you want to work for a nursing agency, your chances of getting hired increase if you have a clean disciplinary record. In addition, medical facilities that contract with your nursing agency might want to ensure that the nurses who provide care to their patients haven't encountered problems with the nursing board before. 

To keep your disciplinary record clean, you should work as much as possible to prevent IDFPR from taking action against your license. As soon as you learn that your agency or the board is considering opening an investigation against you, you should contact the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. Although it's always better to get our team involved sooner rather than later, we can still help you if you're far along in the disciplinary process. We're prepared to come in at any stage, even the appeals, and help you fight to keep your license. 

Disciplinary Actions the Board Can Take Against Your License 

In Illinois, nurse licensure and registration are taken seriously by IDFPR. If there's a suspicion that you have committed any wrongdoing, it can open you up to investigation and may result in disciplinary action against your license. Actions that the nursing board can take include: 

  • Refuse to issue or renew a license 
  • Revoke a license 
  • Suspend a license 
  • Relinquishing, surrendering, or permanently inactivating a license 
  • Place a license on probation 
  • Reprimand a nurse 
  • Fine of up to $10,000 per violation 

If there is a complaint against you concerning your performance as a nurse, the board can compel you to undergo a mental or physical examination as well. Illinois administrative law doesn't specify on what grounds the board can initiate this kind of examination other than a “showing of a possible violation.” If IDFPR has any reason whatsoever to believe that you violated the Nurse Practice Act, you can be required to have this examination. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended without the chance for a hearing. 

The law doesn't limit the board to the above disciplinary actions. It has the discretion to administer a penalty that it sees fit, given the severity of the violation. The board can also take non-disciplinary actions for ethics violations, such as: 

  • Administrative warning letter or letter of concern 
  • Agreement to receive care, counseling, or treatment 
  • Non-disciplinary order that imposes certain terms 
  • Non-disciplinary or administrative fee 

Anyone Can File a Complaint 

Any member of the public may file a complaint against you via the IDFPR website. Furthermore, these complaints remain confidential, meaning you can't know who filed the complaint against you unless the complainant is asked to be present at the hearing. Also, keep in mind that some individuals have mandatory reporting requirements regarding healthcare professions, meaning they have a legal obligation to file a complaint if they have reason to believe there's a threat to patient safety. 

Actions that Put Your Illinois Nursing License at Risk 

As a licensed or registered nurse in Illinois, you must follow Illinois laws concerning nursing practice. These laws and rules apply to you even if you are technically employed by an agency and not a medical facility.  

The first set of rules you need to follow is the Nurse Practice Act. It's in the Nurse Practice Act that you'll find the long list of behaviors that are considered unethical or unprofessional conduct

IDFPR can suspend or revoke your license, refuse to issue or renew your license, or take other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action against you if you are found engaging in unethical or unprofessional conduct. The Nurse Practice Act provides examples of this type of conduct, but the least is by no means exhaustive: 

  • Deceiving, defrauding, or harming the public 
  • Demonstrating a willful disregard for the health, welfare, or safety of a patient 
  • Departure from or failure to conform to the standards of practice as set forth in the Nurse Practice Act 
  • Behavior that crosses professional boundaries (such as signing wills or other documents not related to client health care) 
  • Engaging in sexual conduct with a patient or conduct that may be reasonably interpreted as sexual 
  • Any verbal behavior that is sexually harassing to a patient 
  • Demonstrating actual or potential inability to practice nursing with reasonable skill, safety, or judgment due to illness, use of alcohol or drugs, or as a result of any mental or physical condition 
  • Activities that constitute a breach of the nurse's responsibility to a patient 
  • Failing to safeguard patient confidentiality 
  • Not respecting the rights of patients, colleagues, or other healthcare professionals 
  • Not observing requirements related to a relevant specialty 
  • Failing to provide service with compassion and respect for human dignity 
  • Delivering patient care when you're not properly qualified or competent to render it 
  • Delegating responsibility for patient care when you're unable to monitor or follow up on the delegated intervention 
  • Activities that could cause actual harm to any member of the public 
  • Misrepresenting your educational background, training, credentials, or competence 

As a nurse who works for an agency, it's important to keep in mind how these standards might affect you differently than nurses employed directly by medical facilities. For example, you have to ensure the agency has all the latest and most accurate information concerning your credentials, continuing education, certifications, and competence so they don't misrepresent you to medical facilities when looking for a placement for you. If they erroneously attribute competence to you that you don't possess, you will be the one in trouble with the nursing board, not the agency. 

At the Lento Law Firm, we understand that nurses are under a great deal of pressure every day while simply trying to do their jobs. Providing the best patient care possible while also following ethical guidelines can be tricky; sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where you're not sure what the best course of action is. Or a patient's family might disagree with a decision you made and try to get back at you by filing a complaint that questions your competence. It's all too easy for nurses' performance to be called into question. IDFPR must take every complaint about licensed and registered nurses seriously, whether they have merit or not. 

Our team of Professional License Defense attorneys can help you navigate this complex and confusing disciplinary process. We won't let someone's petty grievance or a misunderstanding with your agency derail everything you've worked for. One small disciplinary infraction can ruin the professional reputation you strived to build—and we don't want that to happen. Our team can help you understand what your rights are during the investigation, hearing, and the rest of the disciplinary process so you can stand up for yourself properly. 

Simply Telling the Truth Isn't Enough 

Often, we've helped nurses or other medical professionals defend their licenses in cases where the nurse did nothing wrong. The investigation and disciplinary action against them were the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication—and the nurse believed that simply telling their side of the story would clear things up and make the charges go away. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. Telling the truth may not be a sufficient defense for nurses who have their licenses under investigation. 

Nursing boards do not always make rational and fair decisions concerning nursing licenses despite having gathered facts about the case. Boards make errors all the time for several reasons: 

  • The board doesn't gather ample evidence for the case, and these missing facts change the outcome of the case. 
  • The board is biased in favor of the complainant (the person who filed the complaint). 
  • The board chooses not to consider certain evidence or testimony based on convoluted administrative rules. 
  • The board fails to reach an appropriate conclusion based on the information available. 

IDFPR doesn't hesitate to dole out punishment to Illinois nurses, whether they work for agencies or not. In many of these cases, the nurses were not guilty of any wrongdoing and didn't actually violate the Illinois Nurse Practice Act. In others, nurses deserved more lenient sanctions than what they received.  

You shouldn't assume that IDFPR is on your side, because it's not. Its goal is ensuring public health and safety, and it prefers to err on the side of caution and take a nurse's license away rather than allow a potential risk to public health to go unchecked. Unfortunately, that puts nurses in a tough spot and requires them to defend themselves even more thoroughly. 

IDFPR may not be on your side, but the Lento Law Firm is. Our Professional License Defense Team will work diligently to help you clear your name and protect your license. We can help you hold IDFPR to account, ensuring they give you a fair disciplinary process and a fighting chance to keep your license. 

What Happens When the Board Accuses You of Misconduct? 

When someone files a complaint against you for unprofessionalism or unethical conduct, an adjudication process starts at IDFPR. This process includes an investigation, informal conference, hearing, and appeal.  


The process starts when you receive a formal complaint notice from IDFPR. You then have 20 days to file a formal response to the complaint. If you don't, it may result in a default judgment against you. For this reason, taking action quickly is extremely important. You don't want to lose the chance to defend yourself and clear your name. IDFPR also strongly advises agency nurses to seek legal representation before appearing before the board concerning the complaint. 

Informal Conference 

IDFPR may schedule an informal conference after sending you the complaint notice. At this conference, you and the board can negotiate informally to discuss a resolution that would be favorable to both sides. If you can find a solution at this conference, you won't have to go to the formal administrative hearing. 


At the hearing, you or your attorney can present relevant statements, testimony, and arguments. This hearing takes place before an Illinois administrative law judge who is appointed by the nursing board. Once the hearing is over, the judge can make a decision immediately or at a later date. 


Once the administrative law judge rules on your case, they'll send you a written notice of the decision. After it's sent, you have 20 days to file a motion for a rehearing. Then, the case goes to the director of IDFPR, who makes a final decision. You can only appeal the director's decision if you file for administrative law review in the circuit court of the county where you reside. If you don't reside in Illinois, you have to file for review in Sangamon County. You have only 35 days to file for administrative law review. 

As you can see, going through the adjudication process to defend your nursing license is complex. If you've never dealt with this kind of matter before, you may easily find yourself overwhelmed. Having an attorney not only helps you keep things on track, but also IDFPR actually recommends that you hire an attorney as soon as you receive the formal complaint notice. The Lento Law Firm is ready to step in and steer this disciplinary process for you. 

We Help Agency Nurses Throughout Illinois 

Our team can assist agency nurses working throughout the state of Illinois. We can help you with your licensing issue if you live in any of the following cities: 

  • Chicago 
  • Aurora 
  • Joliet 
  • Naperville 
  • Rockford 
  • Elgin 
  • Springfield 
  • Peoria 
  • Champaign 
  • Waukegan 
  • Cicero 

Even if you don't see your city listed above, the Lento Law Firm can help. If you're an Illinois agency nurse struggling with a board disciplinary matter, our team is ready to speak with you. 

How Our Firm Can Help You Defend Your License 

If you're grappling with the possibility of professional discipline from IDFPR, you might wonder if it's necessary to hire a lawyer. It's important to weigh the seriousness of facing such sanctions and to consider engaging the services of the Lento Law Firm Team for several reasons: 

  • The ease with which agency nurses can be sanctioned: Defending yourself might involve disproving claims made against you, meaning that you're essentially guilty until proven innocent, rather than the other way around. An effective license defense strategy is crucial, and our team is equipped to develop a strategy for you. 
  • The nursing board's substantial backing: Contesting a complaint through the IDFPR board means taking on a state department. You need a legal team with the capacity to handle such a challenge. 
  • Lack of familiarity with license defense processes: Many agency nurses we represent are new to disciplinary proceedings. Our team is experienced in this area and will guide you through the process. 
  • Our lawyers' proven success in defending agency nurses: Our track record in safeguarding nurses from license penalties should be reassuring. Experience is irreplaceable, and our team is committed to resolving your case. 

As you deal with the pressures of potential license sanctions, our team will oversee all aspects of your defense, allowing you to maintain your focus on your personal and professional life. 

The Services We Provide 

The core objective of the Lento Law Firm Team is to exonerate you and avoid any sanctions. Should sanctions be unavoidable, our aim is to minimize them as much as possible. To achieve these goals, our firm will take the following steps: 

  1. Determine your case's optimal resolution: In some instances, nurses may be falsely accused, while in others, they might acknowledge a momentary lapse in judgment or an emotional reaction under stress. These nuances inform our approach and desired result for your case. 
  2. Gather all pertinent evidence and witness accounts: We'll independently investigate your situation, not relying solely on third-party information. We verify facts on our own, as the right evidence or testimony is crucial in deciding the outcome of a licensure case for nurses. 
  3. Consider out-of-court settlements: We actively negotiate with IDFPR and whoever is authorized to settle your case. Often, direct negotiations with these legal professionals can lead to a favorable and efficient resolution. Our experience with informal negotiations is a key reason clients entrust us with their license defense. 
  4. Guide you through formal proceedings: Should your case proceed through standard adjudication, we're fully prepared. We will stand by you in meetings, represent you at hearings, and swiftly handle any necessary appeals. 
  5. Pursue additional legal avenues if needed: We're ready to explore all legal options when your nursing license is at stake. If further legal action beyond appeals is necessary, we can discuss each option as it becomes relevant.  

As a national legal team skilled in negotiating with professional licensing boards and their lawyers, we tailor our approach to each client's unique situation, always striving for the most favorable outcome. 

Call the Lento Law Firm for Nursing License Defense Today 

When your nursing license is at stake, defending it should be your top priority. It will be ours if you engage our Professional License Defense Team to help you defend your case. We'll work tirelessly to gather facts, interview witnesses, handle legal paperwork, and more to help you build a solid defense for your nursing license. 

Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a consultation regarding your situation. You can also submit our online form with your case details, and a member of our team will get back to you. 


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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