In Delaware, thousands of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are employed with the education, skill, and state-approved credentials to administer controlled medications, including anesthesia. Along with continuing education requirements and license renewal every two years, Delaware CRNAs have given years of their lives to obtain a doctorate, maintain clinical proficiency, and remain in good standing with licensing authorities. While CRNAs are dedicated, hard-working healthcare professionals with great importance to the field, mistakes can occur that can lead to disciplinary action and the potential end of an individual's ability to practice.
The nationwide Lento Law Firm realizes how complaints, allegations of misconduct, and even false accusations can upend a CRNA's career and disrupt how they respond to their day-to-day responsibilities. Our team understands that licensing boards have strict disciplinary standards and sometimes fail to recognize the particulars of every individual situation and may move to quickly hand down punishments, like the following:
- Censure or remediation with mandatory education.
- Probationary periods with a restriction of practice.
- License suspension or revocation.
If Delaware's licensed CRNAs fail to mount a quick and effective defense, severe consequences are likely. You are a key part of your hospital or medical facility, so it's important that you know where to turn before the possibility of adverse action presents itself and get in touch with the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. Our team will lead negotiations with Delaware licensing and regulatory authorities and work towards the most favorable resolution possible. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will contact you.
Delaware State Board of Nursing Licensing Standards and Conduct
Like other advanced registered nurse practitioners, CNRAs must be licensed by the Delaware Board of Nursing, which is given authority by the state's Division of Professional Regulation (DPR). The primary objective of the Board is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and to meet this objective, the Board is tasked with the following:
- Developing standards for professional competency.
- Establishing and endorsing rules and regulations.
- Adjudicating complaints and, when necessary, imposing disciplinary sanctions.
DPR and other state licensing boards will have standards to be met for CRNAs to become licensed in the state, but they will also maintain codes of conduct determining how licensees must behave, not only in the workplace but in their personal lives. With multiple stipulations of mandated behavior, unprofessional conduct is consequently one of the most prominent reasons a licensee may find themselves before the Board answering for misconduct. Although it's not an exhaustive list, below are a few of the Board's criteria for unprofessional conduct:
- Using any false, fraudulent, or forged statements or documents or the use of any fraudulent, deceitful, dishonest, or immoral practice.
- Any dishonorable or unethical conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public.
- Felony convictions in Delaware or otherwise.
- Using, distributing, administering, or prescribing any drugs or medical devices other than for therapeutic, prophylactic, or diagnostic purposes.
- Failure to divulge relevant information to the Board.
- Violations of Board orders or regulations.
- Dispensing drugs or medicine to patients in an unsafe manner or without adequate instructions.
- Misconduct, incompetence, or gross negligence in connection with nursing practice or prescriptive authority.
- Prescribing or distributing drugs to individuals who are not within that nurse's role and population focus.
- Selling, purchasing, trading, or offering to sell, purchase, or trade drug samples.
- Restriction, suspension, or revocation of credentials granted by another licensing authority.
- Failing to report unprofessional conduct by another licensee.
- Unsatisfactory Board audits.
Although breaching professionalism standards and committing rule violations can be wide-ranging, allegations of misconduct can come from any source through complaints. It isn't just patients, coworkers, or superiors that can submit complaints to the Board or DPR; anyone can.
Prior to a Board disciplinary hearing, if DPR's Investigative Unit has knowledge that a ‘formal or informal complaint concerning the activity of a licensee presents a clear and immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, the Board may temporarily suspend the individual's license, pending a hearing. Such an order may not be issued unless the licensed CRNA has received at least 24 hours written or oral notice before the temporary suspension.'
Licensees may respond ‘to the Board's proposed suspension within 24 hours, and the decision as to whether to issue the temporary order of suspension will be decided on the written submission. An order of temporary suspension pending a hearing may remain in effect for no longer than 60 days from the date of the issuance of the order unless the licensee requests a continuance of the hearing date for various, just justified reasons.'
Delaware CRNA Disciplinary Proceedings
The Board will investigate all complaints and allegations of violations involving CRNAs in the same way DPR hands licensed professionals in other industries. Some common instances that may produce complaints are the following:
- The way a CRNA characterized themselves to a patient, coworker, or superior.
- The way a CRNA represented their qualifications, education, or ability.
- The way a CRNA conducted themselves with patients, coworkers, and others, even outside the workplace.
Nevertheless, Delaware CRNAs can also be subject to baseless or biased complaints. Therefore, it's important to get professional help whenever such a situation occurs.
Once the Board receives a complaint, DPR's Investigative Unit will conduct a review of the matter immediately. Once it issues its final written report at the conclusion of its investigation, the Board will review the findings and schedule a hearing where the licensee will appear. The notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing must be sent at least 20 days in advance.
During the hearing, CRNAs will have the right to compel witness testimony, submit evidence, and cross-examine the Board's case. If the charges are supported by such "sufficient legal evidence," the Board may hand down sanctions like those listed below:
- Written reprimand
- Mandatory education
- Probationary period
- Fines not exceeding $500 per violation
- License suspension
- License revocation
The Board will also issue a written decision restating the factual findings, which must be sent by certified mail to the licensee. All decisions of the Board are final and conclusive. When a CRNA disagrees with the action of the Board, they may appeal the decision to the Superior Court within 30 days.
Consequences of Sanctions
Even though CRNAs will have 30 days to appeal the Board's decision, punishments are active immediately. While sanctions will vary depending on the details of the complaint or substantiated misconduct, any adverse action needs to be taken seriously. Even if it's a licensee's first recorded disciplinary action, the situation can lead to the following consequences:
- Leaves CRNAs vulnerable to future scrutiny from employers and the public.
- Becomes a barrier to promotion.
- Diminishes potential career earning power.
- Increases stress associated with daily responsibilities.
While the Board's actions affect Delaware licenses only, there are also indirect results licensees face elsewhere. For instance, Delaware is a signatory state of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which is an effort to unify nursing standards across the U.S. The NLC provides a pathway for CRNAs and other healthcare professionals to practice in multiple states without having to complete additional licensing requirements. While licensee information is shared nationwide, that also means licensing agencies in other states will know when disciplinary action has been taken against any CRNA in NLC-compliant states.
Punishments will also follow licensees pursuant to reporting standards from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN also unites CRNAs nationwide, and to provide better access to licensing information, the NCSBN's Nursys database is a primary source for employers and medical facilities. Anyone with access to the NCSBN's database can:
- Search for CRNA's current license status.
- View a licensee's disciplinary history.
- Make hiring decisions based on the above.
Furthermore, if a CRNA's license is suspended in Delaware, they cannot automatically reapply after a pre-determined waiting period. A suspended license may only be reissued upon a further hearing initiated at the request of the licensee by written application to the Board. Therefore, regaining credentials could take years.
Because of the severity of sanctions from complaints and misconduct, Delaware CRNAs must consider partnering with an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team. It's impossible to forecast how the Board's action will affect you, even from seemingly minor infractions. Yet, you can be confident that your license remains vulnerable if you fail to mount a strong defense against them.
How the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Delaware CRNAs
CRNAs facing licensing sanctions from Delaware state authorities may believe that an attorney is potentially too aggressive an option to exercise to defend themselves in administrative proceedings. However, take into consideration how the Lento Law Firm will be a valuable resource for the following reasons:
- Gathering all relevant evidence and testimony: The right evidence or witness testimony can reveal certain nuances that may determine the outcome of your case with the Board.Our dedicated team conducts its own investigation of your circumstances. If a minor lapse in judgment, a stressful day, a biased complainant, or other situation occurs, we can help in mitigating potential punishments.
- Seek pre-hearing settlements: Attorneys with the Lento Law Firm can negotiate with a facility or organization's Office of General Counsel (OGC), which often works with state agencies. We will help settle your case and explore other options the Board or DPR provides to settle before hearings.
- Accompany you through the entire disciplinary process: If your case must go through the traditional channels, we'll be prepared to defend you every step of the way. We will accompany you to meetings, correspond with the Board and DPR, represent you during your hearing, and file necessary appeals promptly.
- Take further legal steps, if necessary: Following the Board's final decision, licensees may appeal to the Superior Court.When yourCRNA license is on the line, we will exercise every available option for defense.
The Lento Law Firm is a nationwide legal team experienced in negotiating with professional licensing boards and their attorneys. Considering each client's unique circumstances, our firm always presses for the best possible outcome. It's never too early to consider your defense options as a licensed professional. Given the speed of the Board's grievance processes, knowing where to turn before trouble arises is essential to protect your career.
We Serve CRNAs Employed by Medical Providers Throughout Delaware
No matter your employer or specific role as a CRNA, adverse action can have a devastating effect on your career. We serve CRNAs practicing throughout Delaware and are familiar with prominent employers in the medical industry, including:
- ChristianaCare Hospital (Newark)
- Beebe Healthcare (Lewes)
- Bayhealth Hospital (Dover)
- Delaware Psychiatric Center (New Castle)
- Dover Behavioral Hospital (Dover)
- Nemours Children's Hospital (Wilmington)
- South Coastal Health Campus Emergency Department (Millville)
- Rockford Center (Newark)
- Select Specialty Hospital (Wilmington)
- Sun Behavioral Center (Georgetown)
- St. Francis Hospital (Wilmington)
- TidalHealth Nanticoke (Seaford)
- Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Wilmington)
- Eden Hill Medical Center (Dover)
- Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill (Smyrna)
- Middletown Emergency Department (Middletown)
- PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital (Georgetown)
The hospitals and medical facilities listed above are just a few examples of high-volume employers of CRNAs in Delaware. Even if you don't see your facility on this list, we can still offer valuable assistance wherever you are in the state.
Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Today
Retaining your Delaware CRNA license is a priority, and our team stands prepared to begin on your case today. Resist relying on local trial attorneys who often advertise their aggressive courtroom tactics to challenge state licensing authorities and keep you out of trouble. Shock-and-awe strategies are not what works to ensure good standing with DPR or the Board. You need the delicate care and attention the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team provides to keep your credentials intact.
Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation about how we will defend your license to practice as a CRNA in Delaware. You can also contact us online with your case details, and a member of our Professional License Defense Team will reach out as soon as possible.