Nursing is one of several professional fields where credentials are essential. When a nurse administers anesthesia, prescribes medication, or provides life-preserving care, everyone involved must know that the nurse has the knowledge, training, and expertise to perform competently.
The licensure requirement for nurses in America, including in Idaho, means that your license is your pass to make a living. Without a nursing license free of restrictions or sanctions, you cannot perform the job you've worked so hard to occupy. It is imperative, then, that you rely on every available resource to avoid or minimize potential sanctions from the Idaho Board of Nursing.
An attorney from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is primed to fight for you. We will immediately investigate the circumstances that have placed your license in jeopardy. Our team will strategize a defense and guide you through all disciplinary processes ahead.
Though you may be used to having patients rely on you for help, it's time to lean on a legal professional at this critical juncture in your career and life.
Idaho Regulates Nurses at the State Level and Has Broad Power to Disrupt Your Career
Several institutions regulate and oversee nurses nationally (including through the Nursys database, which we'll discuss later). However, states hold the most immediate power to sanction a nurse's license. Therefore, the Idaho Board of Nursing is likely the body we'll most frequently interact with as we settle your license-related matter.
Idaho Statutes Title 54, Chapter 14, Section 54-1413 explicitly grants the Idaho Board of Nursing the power to:
- Revoke your license
- Suspend your license
- Place you on probation
- Formally reprimand you
- Limit or restrict your nursing abilities
- "Take other disciplinary action against the licensee as [the Board] deems proper."
There is no argument about whether the Idaho Board of Nursing can take such actions against you. The question is whether sanctions are appropriate in your case, and if so, what fair sanctions would be.
Depending on your unique circumstances, our team will determine whether to seek a complete dismissal of allegations against you. In some cases, it is appropriate to accept responsibility for alleged wrongdoing and seek the most lenient sanctions possible.
The Idaho Board of Nursing Does Not Always Apply Discipline Fairly or with Just Cause
Our experience defending nurses has proven that licensing boards make both willful and unintentional errors. You should not assume that your innocence of the allegations you face, or the possibility that nursing boards will treat your case properly, will lead to a just outcome.
Without adequate representation, you may face unfair sanctions from the Idaho Board of Nursing because:
- The Board does not take necessary steps to gather all evidence and testimony related to your case
- One or more Board members have some bias against you or in favor of those who have accused you of wrongdoing
- The Board misunderstands the facts of your case
Sometimes, licensing boards just get it wrong, and there is no obvious explanation as to why. Nurses who retain our team want to leave no room for error or speculation, ensuring that the Idaho Board of Nursing has all the facts, testimony, and evidence.
Furthermore, our clients expect us to exhaust every measure to defend their reputation and license. This is precisely what we promise to do for you.
Consider What You've Done to Secure Your License and What Losing That License Could Mean
For many nurses, the value of their license is well worth the cost of hiring a capable attorney. We recommend attorneys from the Lento Law Firm Team, who:
- Have invaluable experience defending nurses and other professionals from license-related sanctions
- Are familiar with state-specific nursing rules and regulations in Idaho
- Fearlessly negotiated with legal counsel for nursing boards and will do the same in your case
- Treat clients' cases as if our own licenses to practice were on the line—we are fellow professionals who understand the hard work you've put into your nursing career.
Suffering sanctions on your license will have significant negative consequences, which could include:
- The loss of your immediate means of making an income
- A loss in earning power, even if you are able to continue working in a limited capacity
- Loss of good standing with your current employer
- Loss of future employment opportunities
- Mental health issues, which can result from professional insecurity and the shame of being professionally sanctioned
Nurses make mistakes and sometimes face groundless allegations of wrongdoing. Whatever your circumstances are, you deserve a capable defense. We will work tirelessly to help you surpass this difficult time in your nursing career.
The Nurse Licensure Compact Widens the Ripple Effect of License Sanctions in Idaho
Idaho is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses who obtain their licenses in participating states to practice in other NLC-compliant states without obtaining an additional license. Since the NLC's establishment in 2001, it has opened the doors for nurses to maximize their training and earning power.
However, when you obtain an Idaho nursing license and gain entry to the NLC, the Idaho Board of Nursing explains that "licenses that you currently hold in other compact states will become invalid." Your Idaho nursing license becomes your de facto license to practice in other states—so if you lose this license, you also lose your ability to nurse in other states.
As a practical matter, you may have roots in Idaho, and sanctions on your license may have a devastating effect even without considering the NLC. However, the NLC guarantees that any sanctions you suffer on your Idaho nursing license will reverberate in other NLC-compliant states.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) states clearly that your record in one state can follow you to another. It explains, "A state BON has the authority to take action against a licensee on the basis of another state's licensure disciplinary action that implicates the individual's ongoing ability and likelihood to practice professionally and safely."
Between the Nurse Licensure Compact and Boards of Nursing's legal authority to sanction you for conduct that has occurred in other states, it's clear that you cannot outrun licensing issues—you must actively fight them.
What You Should Know About Nursys
The Nursys database, from the NCSBN, is a database that allows nurses (and others, including prospective employers) to "look up, verify, and monitor…nurse licenses anytime, anywhere." Boards of nursing provide data to the Nursys database, and Idaho is one of the states that participate in the database.
If you receive any sanctions from the Idaho Board of Nursing, you can be certain that the sanctions will reflect in the Nursys database. Even if a state does not participate in the Nursys database, medical providers in that state can access information on Nursys.
The Nursys database makes it easy for potential employers in any state to search your license status and nursing records. If you wanted a fresh start to practice nursing in a state in which you have never been sanctioned, the Nursys database might make it impossible for you to do so. With Nursys, there is no such thing as a fresh start.
In light of this reality, you must avoid significant license-related sanctions at any cost. Hiring an attorney from our team is a logical step in protecting your license, name, and earning potential.
Why Might a Nurse Face License-Related Sanctions in Idaho?
Idaho Statutes Title 54, Chapter 14, Section 54-1413 (hyperlinked above) lists several grounds for sanctioning a nurse's license, including:
- Engaging in any form of fraud as a means of obtaining a nursing license
- Nursing under a false name or identity
- Nursing despite having undisclosed criminal convictions that would preclude one from nursing if the Board was aware of the conviction
- Engaging in grossly negligent or reckless activity while nursing
- Using alcohol or drugs in a habitual or otherwise unsafe manner
- Exhibiting any behavior that suggests mental or physical unfitness for the rigors of nursing
- Behaving in a deceptive, fraudulent, or dangerous manner that poses a risk to patients, colleagues, or others associated with nursing
- Having a history of sanctions from a regulatory nursing body (such as a nursing board in another state)
- Failing to comply with an order from the Board of Nursing, such as a restriction on the sorts of nursing activities one can conduct
- Failing to report events that the law requires every nurse to report
These offenses, when alleged, are generally grounds for investigation and potential sanctions. If you face allegations involving any of these violations of Idaho law, you can expect to face the following adjudication process.
How the Idaho Board of Nursing Adjudicates Disciplinary Cases
Idaho Statutes Title 54, Chapter 14, Section 54-1413 explains that the executive director of the Idaho Board of Nursing will investigate any allegations that a nurse has potentially violated Idaho law. No matter whether an infraction allegedly occurred in Boise City, Idaho Falls, or any other area of Idaho, you can expect to encounter the following adjudication process.
The adjudication process for Idaho nurses accused of wrongdoing generally involves:
Unless a member of the Idaho Board of Nursing discovers wrongdoing on its own, disciplinary proceedings usually begin with a complaint. Such complaints may come from:
- A coworker
- A superior
- A patient
- An observer in a medical setting
- A member of a medical regulatory agency
- Another party who feels there is sufficient reason to complain about a nurse's conduct or qualifications
The Idaho Board of Nursing has a link prominently displayed on its home page, which prompts the visitor to file a complaint against a nurse. This indicates just how easy it is for anyone to file a complaint against a nurse, even if the complaint is baseless.
The Board may determine, through preliminary and formal investigation, whether a complaint has merit. If the executive director decides there are grounds to proceed with a formal investigation, you will receive notice.
Some nurses voluntarily surrender their license during the investigative stage, and Idaho statutes note that the Board of Nursing may accept such voluntary surrender. We do not advise you to take this step, even if you have made a mistake and are willing to admit it.
Even if you have committed a wrongful act, you will not necessarily have to surrender your license. It is generally advisable to let the adjudication process unfold with an attorney from our firm by your side.
The Idaho Division of Occupational & Professional Licenses (DOPL) explains that a neutral investigator will complete their investigation by:
- Interviewing the nurse at the center of the complaint
- Interviewing the complainant
- Interviewing any witnesses whose testimony could be relevant to the investigation
- Allowing you to respond directly to allegations posed in the complaint
- Asking you for any information or documentation that may be relevant to the investigation (including any exculpatory evidence you possess)
- Asking you for the names and contact information of any witnesses whose testimony may be relevant to the investigation
- Completing a report documenting their findings
Following the investigation, the Board will either find that there is no credible reason to move forth with sanctions or proceed with a formal Administrative Complaint.
If the Board finds reasons to proceed with a formal Complaint, it will first contact you. The prosecutor representing the Board may grant you the opportunity to accept a settlement. Though it is important to have a competent attorney representing you during the investigation, it is pivotal that you consult an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team before accepting any settlement.
A Consent Order is the formal name for a settlement, and the DOPL explains that:
- You may negotiate a Consent Order at any point during the adjudication process
- By accepting a Consent Order, you waive your right to a hearing and accept the ruling as a final disciplinary action
A Consent Order could serve as an acceptable outcome to your case, depending on the terms presented. However, you should be wary of any terms the Idaho Nursing Board presents to you and should always consult an attorney from our team before verbally or formally accepting a Consent Order.
It may be in your interest to exercise the right to a hearing, and it is your right to defend yourself in a hearing setting.
The aforementioned statute explains that "every person subject to disciplinary proceedings shall be afforded an opportunity for hearing after reasonable notice." During such a hearing, your attorney from our team may have the opportunity to:
- Directly contest the details of the complaint against you
- Present evidence that refutes the details of the complaint and which may prove your innocence of the allegations against you
- Cross-examine the complainant
- Cross-examine any witnesses who support the complaint
- Present and question witnesses whose testimony aids in your defense
- Make a closing argument that comprehensively details your defense
If you admit to wrongdoing, your attorney may argue against specific allegations that you have not committed. Furthermore, your attorney from our team may request leniency from the Board.
The Idaho Board of Nursing explains that it has "a broad range of disciplinary options," including both formal and informal actions. In addition to the formal options previously listed (including the suspension and revocation of nurses' licenses), the Board may utilize non-disciplinary and informal options including:
- A warning that any future violations of nursing rules will result in formal sanctions
- Practice Remediation Program (PRP), which Idaho Code 54-1404 explains is intended to help nurses shore up any educational or training deficiencies that impede their ability to practice nursing safely or fully
- Program for Recovering Nurses (PRN), which is a non-punitive option for nurses struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, or other problems for which treatment may be a benefit
- "Remedial measures"
- "Informal corrective actions" that may allow the nurse to remain with their current employer
The possibility of these many informal or non-punitive resolutions is a reason for hope. With a capable negotiator from the Lento Law Firm Team representing you, there are several ways to avoid formal sanctions that would jeopardize your career, earning power and reputation.
That said, you should not assume that the Idaho Board of Nursing will offer these resolutions as a first course of action. Many times, the person at the center of a complaint (or their representative) must actively negotiate for a non-punitive resolution. You should plan for the same possibility.
If your hearing results in a ruling that you believe is unjust or unacceptable, our legal team will be ready to appeal. The DOPL notes that the Final Order from the hearing board will "contain information about your right to appeal," including how to file any appeal you are entitled to.
Our team will quickly identify grounds for appeal, file the appeal, and complete the remaining steps in the appeals process if necessary.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Defend My Nursing License in Idaho?
We recommend that you hire an attorney from our team to lead the defense of your nursing license. No matter how intelligent, capable, or confident in your defense you may be, it is wise to hire an experienced lawyer from our team because:
- There is no substitute for license-defense experience: While you are surely familiar with the specifics of nursing, we focus on the specifics of license defense. Together, we will work to mount the strongest possible defense.
- Your attention may be divided, even if you are unable to nurse right now: The demands of your job and personal life may make it difficult for you to defend your license in a necessary manner. Our dedicated legal team's primary focus will be defending your license, and our undivided attention will reflect on the quality of our case.
- We are fearless negotiators who know the various paths to a positive outcome: Our attorneys will not accept anything short of a just ruling in your case. If you have not committed the allegations you're accused of, we will fight for the outright dismissal of those allegations.
- Defending your license may be immensely stressful: Most nurses facing potential license sanctions are stressed. If you attempt to lead the defense of your license, your stress level may only elevate further.
Allow our legal team to lead the defense of your nursing license—it's what we do.
Idaho Board of Nursing Records Indicate That It Will Not Hesitate to Take Punitive Action Against You
Make no mistake: If you face formal disciplinary action from the Idaho Board of Nursing, the Board is not bluffing. Look no further than the record of Board Actions, which includes several recent revocations and suspensions of real nurses' licenses.
While we do not have the details of these cases, we know that the Idaho Board of Nursing took significant punitive actions against nurses who were previously practicing. Let these cases serve as a lesson about the importance of hiring a trustworthy attorney to defend your license.
The Lento Law Firm Team Is Familiar with the Largest Employers of Nurses in Idaho
Our lawyers are familiar with many of the largest medical providers in Idaho, one of which may be your employer. Some of the notable medical providers in Idaho employing many nurses are:
- St. Luke's Regional Medical Center (Boise)
- St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (Boise)
- Bear Lake Memorial Hospital (Montpelier)
- Benewah Community Hospital (Saint Maries)
- Intermountain Cassia Regional Hospital (Burley)
- Kootenai Health-Coeur D'Alene (Coeur D'Alene)
- Madison Memorial Hospital (Rexburg)
- Mountain View Hospital-Idaho Falls (Idaho Falls)
- Northwest Specialty Hospital (Post Falls)
This list could continue, and we help nurses working in medical facilities of all sizes throughout Idaho. We may work with your employer to secure evidence and pursue a resolution if they have the power to resolve your licensing issue.
Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today to Discuss Our Services
The Lento Law Firm Team puts ourselves in our client's shoes. We have the utmost respect and appreciation for nurses, and our interest is in preserving your license so you can continue to serve others.
Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation about how we will fight for your nursing license in Idaho.