Florida Nurse Practitioner (APRN) License Defense

As a nurse practitioner in Florida--aka, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)--you provide invaluable healthcare services that lessen the burden on the Florida healthcare system. You have been trained and have the necessary qualifications to offer exceptional healthcare services such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing drugs, and carrying out physical exams. Your role in health promotion, disease prevention, and patient education cannot be understated. You have invested significant time and resources to reach this stage in your career, and you've worked hard to earn the public trust.

But now, to your dismay, you've been notified that someone has lodged a complaint against you with the Florida Board of Nursing, putting your nursing license into question.

The allegations could be a result of a misunderstanding, unintentional oversight, or a completely false accusation. Regardless of the source, don't underestimate the power of this allegation to put your hard-earned career in jeopardy. The Florida Board of Nursing takes every allegation seriously and exercises stringent oversight of APRNs. If the Board finds that you have violated state rules, you could face severe disciplinary actions, including potential loss of your license. Any sanction against you becomes a matter of public record, and even if your license is not revoked, your professional reputation may be tainted. Furthermore, disciplinary actions against you are reported to Nursys, accessible to regulatory boards nationwide, which could harm your practice beyond Florida.

However, you don't have to address these allegations on your own. Engaging the services of a skilled professional license defense attorney at the first sign of trouble can greatly enhance your chances of resolving the issue and preserving your license. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has nationwide experience in defending APRNs across the nation. We are well acquainted with Florida's disciplinary procedures and will work to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome. To arrange a consultation, contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or fill out our online contact form.

Regulation of Nurse Practitioners in Florida

In the state of Florida, certified nurse practitioners (CNPs) fall within the category of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and they are typically referred to as such. Like all other nursing professionals in Florida, the Florida Board of Nursing licenses, regulates, and disciplines APRNs. The state's Nurse Practice Act specifies the Board's authority to establish practice standards and impose disciplinary actions for infractions. It also sets out the general legal guidelines and practice standards for nursing professionals, including APRNs.

These statutes hold all nursing professionals to high standards of ethics, professionalism, and patient care. If you, as an APRN practicing in Florida, are accused of misconduct that violates these standards, the Board has the authority to investigate, impose sanctions, or even revoke your license to practice.

Potential Disciplinary Actions by the Board of Nursing

The Board of Nursing has broad authority to investigate and discipline misconduct among its nurses--and it takes this responsibility seriously because of its commitment to protect the public from bad actors. At the same time, this can put nurses falsely accused of wrongdoing (including ARPNs) at a disadvantage. The Board only needs to determine guilt based on a preponderance of the evidence, and the Board itself is not infallible. A misinterpretation of the facts, ignoring exculpatory evidence, or pre-existing bias can all come into play, with potentially devastating consequences for you as an APRN. If the Board decides that you have violated state regulations in your practice and/or betrayed public trust, they may enforce one or more of the following sanctions, depending on the gravity and circumstances of the offense:

  • Formal Reprimand: This is recorded on your professional record, though it does not limit your licensing.
  • Fines: The Board may impose a financial penalty.
  • License Restrictions: The Board may limit certain activities pertaining to your practice.
  • Probation: The Board may monitor and supervise you closely for a certain period.
  • Alternative-to-Discipline: In cases where substance abuse/addiction or mental health issues contributed to the offense, Florida offers confidential alternative-to-discipline programs that allow APRNs to voluntarily undergo rehabilitation and treatment. Successful completion of the program means no disciplinary marks on your record.
  • License Suspension: This prevents you from practicing nursing in Florida for a definite or indefinite period.
  • License Revocation: This constitutes a permanent stripping of your privilege to work as a nurse or APRN within the state.

Violations That Could Put Your APRN License at Risk

The Board of Nursing has the power to revoke APRN licensure over a wide array of issues. Common examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Fraud: Examples include falsifying patient records, providing false information on license applications, overstating your qualifications, fraudulent insurance billing, or charging for services not provided.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Engaging in sexual activities with a patient, regardless of consent, or starting a romantic relationship with a patient is deemed highly unethical and could lead to license suspension or revocation.
  • Patient Abuse or Neglect: Accusations of physical, verbal, or emotional harassment of patients, or any other actions that put a patient at risk, could jeopardize your license.
  • Drug Mismanagement or Misuse: Deviating from appropriate medication management protocols, such as misappropriation of patient medications, substance abuse, poor inventory control, or unauthorized prescription practices, can incite disciplinary action.
  • Substance Abuse: Engaging in alcohol or drug abuse calls into question your competence and/or ability to treat patients safely and make responsible decisions concerning their care.
  • Criminal Convictions: Convictions for certain crimes, especially felonies and other crimes of moral turpitude, could disqualify you from practice in Florida. Failing to report a criminal conviction to the Board, even if the offense itself might not have sparked off disciplinary action, can also lead to sanctions.

The Disciplinary Process for APRNs in Florida

If you are an APRN practicing in Florida who is implicated in wrongdoing, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the disciplinary process steps. This will help you understand your rights and potential actions that could be taken against you. In the state of Florida, this disciplinary process is overseen directly by the Florida Department of Health in cooperation with the Board of Nursing. Here are the general steps in the disciplinary process.


Almost all disciplinary actions begin with the submission of a complaint to the Department of Health. Anybody can file a complaint, but in the case of APRNs, these are typically lodged by patients, patient's families, peers, insurance companies, other healthcare professionals, or any individual who believes you have violated state standards.

Review of Complaint

The Department evaluates the complaint to ascertain if the violation falls under the Board's jurisdiction before proceeding. For instance, incidents of sexual misconduct, fraud, or negligence would fall under the state's purview, while billing disputes or general complaints about one's "bedside manner" would not.


Once the complaint is validated, it is forwarded to the DoH's Investigative Services Unit (ISU) to carry out a comprehensive investigation. The goal here is to find evidence to corroborate the allegations made against you. This phase may involve seeking additional information from you (including a written response to the complaint), interviewing the complainant and any potential witnesses, and issuing document subpoenas.

Probable Cause

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the case proceeds to the Prosecution Services Unit (PSU) to review the evidence and establish if there is probable cause to administer disciplinary action. If there is not enough evidence to substantiate the allegations, the PSU will dismiss the complaint at this point. But if probable cause is established, the case advances.

Administrative Complaint

If the PSU does not dismiss the case, it will file a formal Administrative Complaint against you with the Department of Health. At this juncture, your case can be resolved in one of four ways:

  • Settlement agreement: Under this agreement, you voluntarily consent to the disciplinary action and other conditions proposed by the Board. (This outcome typically involves disciplinary action, but our Professional License Defense Team is often able to negotiate for leniency and/or a pathway to having your license reinstated.)
  • No contest/hearing waived: Here, you effectively admit to wrongdoing and accept the Board's disciplinary suggestions without a hearing (for example, voluntarily surrendering your license).
  • No contest/informal hearing: This is like option two but with an informal hearing before the Board to discuss terms.
  • Formal hearing: If you contest the Administrative Complaint and decline to sign a settlement agreement, you have the right to defend yourself in a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (preferably with legal representation). After hearing evidence from both sides, the judge will deliver a ruling and recommendation to the Board of Nursing.

Final Decision by the Board

If you are found to be in violation of state standards of nursing as delineated by the Nurse Practice Act (whether through a settlement agreement or a formal hearing), the Board will finalize the appropriate disciplinary actions, which could include suspending or revoking your nursing license.


You retain the right to file an appeal with a Florida District Court if you disagree with the Board's decision. However, bear in mind that the appeal process can be expensive and lengthy, and most decisions are usually upheld unless a procedural error leads to a miscarriage of justice.

Even though facing disciplinary proceedings can be intimidating, bear in mind that there are numerous opportunities within this process to resolve the complaint through strategic negotiation. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has a wealth of experience navigating this process, and we often manage to resolve cases favorably for our clients before the matter escalates to a formal hearing.

Our Service Areas in Florida

As Florida is among the top retirement destinations in the country, there is a constant demand for qualified healthcare providers, with APRNs being vital in this infrastructure. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can represent APRNs facing license discipline in all cities and municipalities of the state. Naturally, most of our clients live and work in Florida's urban centers and metro areas, which include:

Greater Miami/Gold Coast

Sprawling along 100 miles of the southeastern Florida coastline, the Miami metropolitan area (also commonly called the Gold Coast) is the most populated region of Florida, with a combined 6 million inhabitants across three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach). Renowned for its beautiful beaches, bustling nightlife, and significant arts scene, Miami is also a major hub of commerce, finance, and international trade. Several major healthcare systems serve this area, including Mount Sinai Medical Center, Memorial Healthcare System, Broward Health, and HCA Florida Healthcare, to name a few.


The most populous single city in the state of Florida (and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country), Jacksonville is a major seaport on the northeastern coast of Florida, with over 1.5 million residents in its metropolitan area. With a diverse economy that includes industries such as banking, healthcare, and logistics, APRNs are integral to serving the needs of this rapidly expanding city. Some of the top healthcare providers in Jacksonville include Baptist Health, HCA Florida Healthcare, Ascension Healthcare, and the Mayo Clinic.

Tampa Bay Area

Located on the central west coast of Florida, the Tampa Bay area includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater and has a combined population of over 3 million people. A hub for healthcare, technology, and tourism, this region is home to several major hospitals and healthcare systems, such as Tampa General Hospital, BayCare Health System, and USFHealth.


Known for its theme parks, Orlando is a popular tourist destination in central Florida and has a population of over 2.5 million people in its metropolitan area. In addition to being a major hub for tourism, the city also has a thriving healthcare industry, with major providers such as AdventHealth, Orlando Health, and Nemours Children's Hospital.

How We Can Assist

If you are a Florida APRN and have been accused of misconduct, the implications of disciplinary action for your future are tremendous. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has an in-depth understanding of Florida's disciplinary proceedings. We'll evaluate the complaint against you, gather evidence and witnesses in your defense, and work on multiple fronts to resolve the complaint with minimal damage to your career. We also bring strong negotiation skills to the table to work out a favorable outcome with the Board, and quite often, we can help our clients avoid a formal hearing altogether. If a hearing becomes necessary, however, our seasoned professionals are prepared to advocate on your behalf with compelling representation, striving for the most favorable outcome while ensuring your rights remain safeguarded.

Navigating the disciplinary process without experienced legal guidance exposes you to unnecessary risks. The Lento Law Firm Team, with its extensive nationwide experience in professional license defense, is committed to offering steadfast support in safeguarding your APRN license. To schedule a consultation, call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or submit an inquiry through our online contact form.


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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