Florida Certified Nursing Assistant License Defense

Let the Lento Law Firm Defend Your Florida CNA License

Florida is a great state in which to work as a certified nursing assistant. The state's wonderful weather, dynamic natural environment, and absence of state income taxes are just a few of Florida's many other general attractions. Florida licensed CNAs are in specific demand because of the state's large elderly population and many fine hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Indeed, Florida offers employment to more CNAs than any other state. The huge AdventHealth Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Orlando, AdventHealth Hospital and General Hospital in Tampa, Jackson Memorial and Baptist Hospitals in Miami, and other huge facilities in Gainesville, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Lakeland offer attractive employment to thousands of certified nursing assistants. And services like Aperion Care and American Senior Communities offer CNAs the top compensation in the state.

Florida CNAs, though, like CNAs in other states, must maintain their Florida license to enjoy their professional employment and income. You can lose your CNA license in a dispute over your work, professionalism, personal misconduct, or nursing credentials. Any of those issues can lead to license disciplinary charges. Don't ignore those issues. Instead, promptly retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your defense anywhere in Florida. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for the best outcome to your CNA license disciplinary charges.

Florida Certified Nursing Assistant Regulation

You must maintain your Florida CNA license to work as a certified nursing assistant in Florida. Florida's Nurse Practice Act devotes its Part II to regulating certified nursing assistants. Florida Statute Section 464.202 authorizes Florida's Board of Nursing to create and maintain a registry of certified nursing assistants. The next Section 464.203 states the educational and practical training requirements you met for the CNA Registry to include your name, including passing the CNA competency exam. Another one of those requirements is that if you held a CNA license in another state, you had "not been found to have committed abuse, neglect, or exploitation in that jurisdiction." Florida hospitals and other healthcare providers may not employ a nursing assistant who has not obtained or who has lost a Florida CNA license. Treat CNA disciplinary charges seriously. They threaten your ability to work in your nursing field in Florida.

Florida Certified Nursing Assistant Privileges

Once you obtained your Florida CNA license, you gained rights and privileges that the state otherwise reserves only to certain licensed professionals. Your Florida CNA license has special value because of what it permits you to do that unlicensed professionals must not do. For example, Section 464.0156 authorizes registered nurses to delegate their tasks to certified nursing assistants whom they are supervising. As a CNA, you can thus do many things that registered nurses, with their substantially greater education and experience, can do. Similarly, Section 464.2035 permits you to administer medications to patients while under an RN's supervision if you've completed the medication training requirements. But to exercise these privileges and to maintain your Florida CNA employment, you must maintain your CNA license against disciplinary charges.

Florida Certified Nursing Assistant Discipline

Florida Board of Nursing officials will discipline CNAs who engage in various forms of misconduct right up to revoking their CNA license so that they cannot work in Florida. Florida Statute Section 464.204, titled Denial, Suspension, or Revocation of Certification, authorizes the Board of Nursing to impose any one or more of the following penalties when disciplinary officials find the CNA in violation of the Board's rules and regulations:

  • denial, suspension, or revocation of certification;
  • imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $150 for each count or separate offense; and
  • imposition of probation or restriction of certification, including conditions such as corrective actions, retraining, or participation in an impaired practitioner program.

The harshest form of CNA discipline is clearly revocation of the CNA license because of the loss of employment and other related consequences. Suspension of your CNA license will also likely result in job termination. You may find it difficult to obtain another job once you've regained your CNA license. Probation could have the same effect. Don't underestimate the impact of your CNA license discipline, whether you are working in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Gainesville, or another premier Florida location.

Grounds for Florida CNA Discipline

To suspend or revoke your CNA license, though, the Florida Board of Nursing must have statutory grounds. Once you gain your CNA license, you have certain rights and privileges to hold it as long as you meet the Board's competency and other requirements. Florida Statute Section 464.204 states the grounds on which Florida Board of Nursing officials may deny, suspend, or revoke the license of a certified nursing assistant. The grounds that the Board asserts when charging you with CNA license discipline will affect how you and your retained Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team respond. Also, keep in mind as you read these disciplinary grounds that Florida law allows CNAs to seek an exemption from discipline. Read about exemptions in another section below.

Credentials Issues as Grounds for Florida CNA Discipline

Section 464.204's first such ground for CNA discipline involves the CNA "obtaining or attempting to obtain certification or an exemption, or possessing or attempting to possess certification or a letter of exemption, by bribery, misrepresentation, deceit, or through an error of the board." You must not, in other words, obtain your CNA license through trickery or fraud. Florida has been the center of a nationwide nursing credentials scandal in which the FBI has alleged that thousands of nurses bought fake credentials from several now-closed Florida nursing schools. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is defending nurses in Florida and nationwide in that scandal. Defense typically involves obtaining and submitting records of coursework and clinical work proving the necessary education and training. Retain our skilled and experienced attorneys if you face Board of Nursing charges over any CNA credentials issue.

Criminal Conviction as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Florida Statute Section 464.204, addressing grounds for CNA discipline, states that violating any other nursing rule or standard in the Nurse Practice Act or any rule the Board of Nursing adopts is also grounds to suspend or revoke your CNA license. Another statute within the Nurse Practice Act, Section 464.018, titled Disciplinary Actions, lists most of those other grounds. Section 464.018's long list of disciplinary grounds begins with disqualifying criminal convictions. Section 464.018's list of disqualifying criminal convictions includes:

  • any crime directly relating to the practice of nursing or to the ability to practice nursing;
  • a forcible felony;
  • theft, robbery, and related crimes;
  • fraudulent practices;
  • lewdness and indecent exposure;
  • assault, battery, and culpable negligence;
  • child abuse, abandonment, and neglect; and
  • domestic violence.

You can see from the above list that not every criminal conviction will cost you your Florida CNA license. If you face Florida CNA license disciplinary charges alleging your criminal conviction, our attorneys may be able to help you show that you were not convicted or that your conviction was not for a listed offense. Our attorneys may also be able to present other exonerating and mitigating evidence on your behalf. Don't give up and give in simply because you suffer a criminal conviction and receive notice of related disciplinary charges.

False Reports and Advertising Fraud as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Section 464.018's list of grounds for disciplinary action doesn't stop at criminal convictions. If you knowingly make false records and reports or engage in false, misleading, intentionally or negligently fail to file legally required reports or records or engage in deceptive advertising, you can also face Florida CNA license discipline. False records could include entries you make on a patient record that misrepresent the patient's condition, false medication records, false time records, and other false entries that your employer may use for Medicare, insurance, or other billing. Failing to make a required report may include failing to report suspected child or elder abuse. And deceptive advertising could include holding yourself out as an LPN or RN when you hold only a CNA license.

Our attorneys defend false reports, records, and advertising disciplinary allegations. You may not have been responsible for the false record or report, as disciplinary officials allege. The record or report may not have been false but may instead have been accurate. Or you may have reasonably believed the report or record to be accurate. Our attorneys may also be able to show that other circumstances, like the direction of a supervising RN, exonerated or mitigated your allegedly deceptive misconduct.

Unprofessional Conduct as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Section 464.018's list of grounds for disciplinary action also includes "unprofessional conduct, as defined by board rule." Unprofessional conduct is a very broad category affecting many things that a certified nursing assistant might do or not do. In Florida Administrative Code Rule 64B9-8.005, the Florida Board of Nursing defined unprofessional conduct to include:

  • misappropriating drugs, supplies, or equipment;
  • leaving a nursing assignment without advising licensed nursing personnel;
  • violating the integrity of a medication administration system or an information technology system;
  • falsifying or altering patient records or nursing progress records, employment applications, or time records;
  • violating the confidentiality of a patient;
  • discriminating on the basis of race, creed, religion, sex, age, or national origin in nursing services as it relates to human rights and dignity of the individuals;
  • engaging in fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit in taking the licensing examination;
  • impersonating another licensed practitioner;
  • permitting another person to use your certificate to practice nursing;
  • providing false or incorrect information to the employer regarding license status;
  • practicing beyond the scope of the license, education, or experience;
  • using force against a patient, striking a patient, or throwing objects at a patient;
  • using abusive, threatening, or foul language in front of a patient or directing such language toward a patient;
  • accepting a gift from a patient the value of which exceeds the employer's policy regarding gifts;
  • stealing from a patient or knowingly obtaining or attempting to obtain a patient's property with the intent to deprive the patient of it; and
  • delegating professional responsibilities to a person known to be unqualified by training, experience, or authorization.

Our attorneys have substantial experience defending nurses and other professionals against false, exaggerated, and unfair allegations of the above types. Even if you committed one or more of the above acts, our attorneys may be able to show exonerating and mitigating circumstances, such as the direction of a supervising nurse or your lack of understanding of the context and circumstances. Our attorneys may also be able to negotiate a resolution of the charges involving remedial training or education.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse or Disability as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Certified nursing assistants face the same temptations, challenges, and disabilities as other professionals. CNAs sometimes fall prey to drug or alcohol addictions affecting their professional work. CNAs also sometimes suffer illnesses resulting in work disabilities. These issues can, if not promptly and properly managed, lead to disciplinary charges. Section 464.018's list of grounds for disciplinary action includes:

  • engaging or attempting to engage in the possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances; and
  • being unable to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, or chemicals, or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition.

The statute even gives the state the right to demand that you submit to a mental or physical examination to confirm or contradict the above allegations. Fortunately, though, the statute also provides some grace, specifically that "a nurse affected by this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that she or he can resume the competent practice of nursing with reasonable skill and safety to patients." Our attorneys may thus be able to show that you had no drug or alcohol addiction, that any drug or alcohol use did not affect your nursing, or that you have recovered from any interfering disability or addiction. Florida's Board of Nursing also offers the Intervention Project for Nurses to help nurses recover from addictions. Don't relinquish your CNA license to enter that or any other program, though, without first consulting our attorneys about your best option.

Substandard Nursing Practice as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Certified nursing assistants must also meet nursing standards or face discipline, especially if their violation of a nursing standard results in injury. Section 464.018's list of grounds for disciplinary action includes "failing to meet minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice, including engaging in acts for which the nurse is not qualified by training or experience." Rare mistakes and lapses are natural in any profession. Most of them go unnoticed. But when a patient suffers injury from a CNA's lapse, the patient or family members, or other medical professionals may report the lapse to disciplinary authorities. Our attorneys defend nurses and other professionals against disciplinary charges relating to substandard practice. We often retain consulting professionals to report and testify to the appropriate standard if our client's conduct met that standard. If our client has failed to meet professional standards, our attorneys may be able to show that remedial education and training will ensure that our client can retain the license to practice safely.

Failure to Report Others as Grounds for CNA Discipline

Florida CNAs also have the duty to report other nurses whose misconduct endangers patients. CNAs are a self-policing profession. Failing to report another nurse can be grounds for disciplinary charges against you. Section 464.018's list of grounds for disciplinary action includes:

  • failing to report to the department any person who the nurse knows is in violation of this part or of the rules of the department or the board; and
  • failing to report to the department any licensee who the nurse knows has violated the grounds for disciplinary action and who provides health care services in a facility in which the nurse also provides services.

Failure to report charges typically occurs when another nurse or other professional causes serious patient harm. Disciplinary officials may then suspend or revoke the responsible professional's license, but if the harm is especially notorious, they also discipline other nurses who were aware of the harm but failed to report it. Our attorneys may defend such charges by showing that our client's nurse did not observe the misconduct, was not aware of the harm, or relied on the reports of others.

Exemption From Florida CNA Discipline

You can see above the long list of disciplinary grounds that Florida Board of Nursing officials have broad authority to suspend and revoke CNA licenses. But Florida law allows you to seek an exemption from discipline. You may indeed have committed the misconduct that the Board of Nursing alleges. But you may still have a chance to continue working. Florida Statute Section 464.204(3) provides, "The board may, upon the request of a certificate holder, exempt the certificate holder from disqualification of employment in accordance with chapter 435 and issue a letter of exemption." Section 435(3)(a) then explains how you can get a disciplinary exemption to continue working:

[T]he employee must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the employee should not be disqualified from employment. Employees seeking an exemption have the burden of setting forth clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation, including, but not limited to, the circumstances surrounding the criminal incident for which an exemption is sought, the time period that has elapsed since the incident, the nature of the harm caused to the victim, and the history of the employee since the incident, or any other evidence or circumstances indicating that the employee will not present a danger if employment or continued employment is allowed.

Our attorneys have the substantial skill and experience to help you make that showing. We can help you identify, acquire, organize, and present the evidence that the Board of Nursing needs to find that you can practice safely and competently as a certified nursing assistant, despite your prior lapse.

Florida CNA Disciplinary Procedures

Florida Statute Section 464.202 authorizes the Board of Nursing to establish disciplinary procedures. The Board of Nursing did so in Florida Administrative Code Rule 64B9-8.001, establishing Probable Cause Panels to consider whether a CNA or other nurse has violated the Board's rules and, if so, what penalty to impose. Rule 64B9-8.006 states the penalty ranges with aggravating and mitigating circumstances, including the danger to the public, prior discipline, how long you've practiced, whether your actions caused injury or damage, whether a penalty would deter future misconduct, whether you've stopped and corrected the misconduct, whether you've pursued rehabilitation, and your financial hardship. Disciplinary procedures are important to your defense. Our attorneys can invoke those procedures on your behalf to ensure that Board of Nursing disciplinary officials hear your side of the story.

Nationwide Stakes of Florida CNA Discipline

Your discipline as a Florida-licensed CNA can affect your CNA practice in other states. Florida's Board of Nursing recognizes CNA reciprocity. That recognition means that you can gain a Florida CNA license endorsement based on your CNA license in another state, avoiding having to meet all over again the education, training, experience, and examination requirements. And the opposite is also true: your Florida CNA license grants you the ability to gain endorsement in other states that recognize Florida CNA licenses. But if you lose your Florida CNA license to discipline, you lose the ability to gain endorsement in other states. Florida CNA discipline can end your CNA practice nationwide, significantly raising your stakes.

Premier Florida CNA Defense

The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and across Florida for CNA license defense. Our skilled and experienced attorneys can help you defend your CNA license to retain your employment at AdventHealth Hospitals, Aperion Care, American Senior Communities, and all other Florida healthcare facilities and services. Hundreds of nurses and other professionals around Florida and across the U.S. have trusted the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for successful outcomes to their license defense. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now.


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