The Lento Law Firm Can Help If Your Indiana Nurse's License Is in Jeopardy
Your Indiana nursing license means a great deal to you. Your nursing practice, job, and career depend on your nursing license. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento have the premier skills and substantial experience to defend your Indiana nursing license against disciplinary charges, no matter the kind of charges you face. Don't underestimate the seriousness of professional license disciplinary proceedings. With your Indiana nursing job and career at risk, hire the best available license defense attorney representation. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the help you need for your best outcome of Indiana nursing license disciplinary proceedings.
Indiana State Board of Nursing License Proceedings
Indiana's Professional Licensing Agency regularly disciplines professionals licensed in Indiana, including nurses. The Agency's quarterly reports indicate literally dozens of nurses disciplined on a variety of grounds every quarter. Indiana Code Section 25-23-1-7 establishes Indiana's State Board of Nursing to "prescribe standards for the competent practice of registered, practical, and advanced practice registered nursing." The State Board of Nursing has adopted administrative regulations carrying out that licensing authority. Indiana's Professional Licensing Agency enforces the Indiana State Board of Nursing's standards for LPNs, RNs, and advanced practice nurses.
Expect Indiana's State Board of Nursing to take its public-protection mission seriously. For example, Indiana's State Board of Nursing cooperated when federal investigators named thousands of nurses nationwide, including in Indiana, for allegedly buying and using fraudulent nursing credentials. Disciplinary proceedings against those nurses followed FBI criminal charges against two dozen Florida nursing school officials in its Operation Nightingale. But Indiana's State Board of Nursing pursues disciplinary action against nurses for many other reasons, too. Indiana Code Section 25-21.8-7-2 authorizes the State Board of Nursing to pursue disciplinary charges under any of the many grounds Indiana Code Section 25-1-11-5 lists, summarized below. Don't face Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges alone. Get the help you need. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for your best outcome to Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges.
Indiana State Board of Nursing Rules and Standards
Read this page for your guide to the Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary authority, disciplinary grounds, and disciplinary procedures. Indiana State Board of Nursing rules and standards appear in several different parts of the Indiana Code and administrative regulations. Indiana's State Board of Nursing does not directly enforce its own nursing practice standards but instead relies on the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency's separate staff and procedures for initial determinations. Don't get confused by going it alone or with unqualified legal representation. Instead, read this summary and retain the Lento Law Firm's highly qualified Professional License Defense Team if Indiana's State Board of Nursing and the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency have notified you of disciplinary charges.
Why Defend Your Indiana Nursing License
Don't blame yourself for everything. The nursing practice challenges every nurse. And nursing practice can lead to disciplinary charges against nurses who have done nothing wrong or whose conduct does not warrant license suspension or revocation. Nurses practice in a setting where the professional stakes could not be higher, with the life and health of their patients in their hands. Nurses also practice where disease and disability are already present. Patients in need, and their family members, can easily misunderstand the cause of a patient's decline, attributing to medical and nursing care events that would have occurred in the absence of care. Medical care also carries risks of its own. An iatrogenic injury doesn't mean substandard nursing care. Don't assume that disciplinary charges mean discipline. Prepare to fight, defend, and defeat your disciplinary charges.
Your Investment and Stakes in Your Indiana Nursing License
You have invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources in your nursing career. Your nursing education alone took a great deal of investment. You then qualified for, sat for, and passed the challenging NCLEX. Your nursing license and employment certified that you have the knowledge, skill, and commitment to provide valuable nursing care. Your patients, employer, family, and community all value your nursing practice. You also know the substantial financial, professional, and personal rewards of your nursing career. You just need to be sure that you appreciate the risk that Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges present to your nursing career. Protect your investment in your nursing career by preparing to fight, defend, and defeat disciplinary charges.
The Nature of Indiana State Board of Nursing Charges
Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges are not criminal charges. Criminal charges put your freedom, pocketbook, record, and reputation at risk. Prosecutors file criminal charges in criminal court. By contrast, Indiana nursing disciplinary charges don't threaten your freedom. But they certainly threaten your pocketbook, professional record, and personal and professional reputation. Depending on the circumstances, disciplinary charges can have a greater impact on you and your family than criminal charges.
Indiana's State Board of Nursing must protect patients and the public. Under Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-1 and following sections, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency's director investigates complaints against nurses, bringing meritorious complaints to the state's attorney general to prosecute before the Board's appointed hearing officer. The Board, director, and attorney general have the powers of a court to compel witnesses to attend, subpoena documents, and enforce decisions in court if necessary. Retain the Lento Law Firm to address the defense of your Indiana nursing license against State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges.
Higher Stakes of Indiana Nursing License Charges
Your Indiana nursing license disciplinary proceeding has higher stakes than you might imagine. Because Indiana participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact, discipline against your Indiana nursing license affects your ability to practice nursing in every other one of the thirty-nine Nurse Licensure Compact states. Those states include some of the most populous states in the nation, with other populous states preparing to join the Compact. Your Indiana nursing discipline would also go into the Compact's Nursys national database, meaning that your Indiana discipline would promptly show up on every search nationwide. You would not likely gain a license to practice in another Compact state unless and until you resolve your Indiana license status favorably. What happens to your nursing license in Indiana won't remain in Indiana. It instead may affect your nursing career across the U.S.
Allegations Putting Your Indiana Nursing License at Risk
Indiana disciplines nurses under both general standards applicable to other regulated professions and specific standards applicable only to nursing. The following sections summarize the grounds for discipline of a nurse first under general professional standards and then under the nursing profession's own standards. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for your defense of any of the following disciplinary charges.
General Professional Discipline Against Indiana Nurses
Professionals in any field can face disciplinary charges. Professionals simply face common license issues. Indiana Code Section 25-1-11-5 lists the following general grounds, applicable to nursing and other regulated professions, on which the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency may bring charges against a nurse for Indiana State Board of Nursing discipline:
- that the professional engaged in or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception to obtain a license to practice, including cheating on a licensing examination;
- that the professional engaged in fraud or material deception in the course of professional services or activities;
- that the professional advertised services or goods in a false or misleading manner;
- that the professional has been convicted of a crime or assessed a civil penalty involving fraudulent billing practices;
- that the professional has been convicted of a crime that has a direct bearing on the practitioner's ability to continue to practice competently or is harmful to the public;
- that the professional has knowingly violated a state statute or rule or federal statute or regulation regulating the profession for which the practitioner is licensed;
- that the professional is unfit because of professional incompetence, including undertaking professional activities that the practitioner is not qualified by training or experience to undertake;
- that the professional is unfit because of failure to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice;
- that the professional is unfit because of physical or mental disability;
- that the professional is unfit because of addiction to, abuse of, or severe dependency on alcohol or other drugs that endanger the public by impairing the practitioner's ability to practice safely;
- that the professional has engaged in a course of lewd or immoral conduct in connection with the delivery of services to the public;
- that the professional has allowed the practitioner's name or a license by another acting beyond the scope of that individual's or business's training, experience, or competence; or
- that the professional has assisted another person in committing an act that would constitute a ground for disciplinary sanction.
Specific Professional Discipline Against Indiana Nurses
Nursing practice brings its own nursing license risks that professionals in most other fields simply do not face. The Indiana State Board of Nursing states separate positive standards for licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced practice nurses, followed by lists of unprofessional conduct for each nursing field. The forms of unprofessional conduct that subject an Indiana-licensed nurse to discipline are similar. The unprofessional conduct forms for registered nurses, listed in Indiana Administrative Code 848-2-2-3, include:
- using unsafe judgment, technical skills, or inappropriate interpersonal behaviors in providing nursing care;
- performing any nursing technique or procedure for which the nurse is unprepared by education or experience;
- disregarding a patient's dignity, right to privacy, or right to confidentiality;
- failing to provide nursing care because of diagnosis, age, sex, race, color, or creed;
- abusing a patient verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually
- falsifying, omitting, or destroying documentation of nursing actions on the official patient record;
- abandoning or knowingly neglecting patients requiring nursing care;
- delegating nursing care, functions, tasks, or responsibility to others when the nurse knows, or should know, that delegation is to the detriment of patient safety;
- providing one's license or temporary permit to another individual for any reason;
- failing to practice nursing in accordance with prevailing nursing standards due to physical or psychological impairment;
- diverting prescription drugs for one's own use or another person's use;
- misappropriating money or property from a patient or employee; or
- failing to notify, in writing, state officials or one's employer of any unprofessional conduct jeopardizing patient safety.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Indiana Nurses?
The investigatory and adjudicatory process that the constitution requires Indiana to follow before depriving you of your liberty and property interest in your nursing license allows you to defend your license. As indicated above, Indiana divides authority for disciplining nurses between the Indiana State Board of Nursing and the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. The Indiana Attorney General's Office also plays a prosecutorial role in nurse license disciplinary proceedings. Putting those procedures to strategic effect to defend your license requires administrative knowledge, skill, and experience. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to help you navigate the complex procedures nurses must follow to defend their license effectively. Get the best help available to put Indiana's disciplinary procedures to strategic effect for your best outcome.
Indiana Procedures for Investigating Nursing Complaints
The Indiana State Board of Nursing invites and accepts patient and public complaints against nurses. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-4 permits anyone at all to complain against a nurse, as long as the complaint is in writing. Section 25-1-7-4 expressly permits State Board of Nursing officials and other state agency officials to complain against nurses if no patient or member of the public does so. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-3 refers those complaints to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency for investigation. The director initially determines whether the complaint has merit. If so, the director notifies the State Board of Nursing of the director's investigatory proceeding.
The director then investigates the complaint. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-3 expressly grants the director the power to subpoena witnesses and compel document production. The director may even go to a state circuit or superior court to enforce subpoenas against parties who fail or refuse to comply. The director must, at the same time, notify the accused nurse of the pending complaint. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-3 encourages the director to "resolve the complaint through negotiation" if possible. If you receive the director's notice of your investigation, promptly retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. The Team's skilled and experienced attorneys may be able to negotiate a favorable resolution and dismissal of the charges before the director proceeds further.
Indiana State Board of Nursing Consent Agreements
At any time during your disciplinary proceeding, the Indiana State Board of Nursing may resolve your disciplinary case by consent agreement. A consent agreement involves your voluntary decision to settle your case on favorable terms you negotiate through counsel. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-6 expressly authorizes the State Board of Nursing to approve consent agreements. Do not enter into a consent agreement without review and advice by a Lento Law Firm skilled and experienced license defense attorney. Consent agreements can save a license and avoid disciplinary hearings. But consent agreements can also severely restrict your nursing practice for an extended time. Consent agreements can also set you up for failure rather than success if you are unlikely to be able to meet their terms and conditions.
Indiana State Board of Nursing Hearing on Nursing Charges
Your disciplinary case will proceed to a hearing before the Indiana State Board of Nursing's appointed hearing officer if your case does not resolve by negotiation with the director for dismissal or by consent agreement with the State Board. Indiana Code Section 25-1-7-7 requires the director to notify the Indiana attorney general that the parties were unable to resolve your disciplinary case and that your case is ready for prosecution. The director conveys the disciplinary investigation file to the attorney general to proceed to a formal hearing before the Board's appointed officer. The hearing officer then determines the truthfulness of the charges and recommends any sanction to the State Board of Nursing for its approval or rejection. You will receive notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing so that your retained Lento Law Firm attorney may:
- call witnesses and present exhibits on your behalf in defense of the charges;
- cross-examine the attorney general's witnesses against you;
- review and challenge the hearing official's recommendation to the State Board of Nursing; and
- pursue the limited court review of administrative license discipline decisions that Indiana law authorizes.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in Indiana
You can see from the above summary that the Indiana State Board of Nursing will have all of the state's resources working to its advantage in its investigation of your disciplinary charges. The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency director will have investigated and pursued many disciplinary cases, having all the experience and skill necessary to build a case against you. The Indiana attorney general will have the legal education and training, and administrative experience, to make that case before the State Board of Nursing's designated hearing officer. The director and attorney general are highly trained professionals with every advantage over you in your first-ever disciplinary proceeding.
Moreover, the Indiana attorney general need only prove the director's disciplinary charges against you under a preponderance of the evidence standard. Prosecutors must prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That highest proof standard is not the standard for administrative matters in Indiana, which instead follow the low preponderance standard. If the hearing officer finds that the attorney general has tipped the scales of evidence even slightly in favor of discipline, then the State Board of Nursing may impose discipline. That's why you need to level the playing field by retaining the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. Don't give in to disciplinary charges. Fight, defend, and defeat those charges for your best outcome.
How a Nursing License Defense Attorney Helps in Indiana
When you retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team, you get the strategic approach you need for your best outcome. Every case is different. But in many cases, the Lento Law Firm Team can help the professional facing discipline turn the case around in the professional's favor at the investigation stage, even before a formal proceeding. Your Lento Law Firm attorney can help you:
- identify, organize, and present exonerating and mitigating evidence;
- answer the charges, raising all of your affirmative defenses;
- request and attend settlement conferences;
- negotiate with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency director for the dismissal of the charges;
- advocate with the State Board of Nursing for a favorable consent agreement;
- present your witnesses and exhibits at the formal hearing;
- cross-examine the attorney general's witnesses against you at the formal hearing; and
- advocate and argue your case in hearing briefs.
Administrative license defense differs from criminal court defense. Throughout your disciplinary case, your Lento Law Firm attorney can seek opportunities to present creative options for resolution to the director and Board, showing that your nursing practice presents no threat to patients or the public warranting discipline.
License Defense Team for Indiana Nursing Charges
Do the right thing when facing Indiana State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Whether you are a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse midwife, advanced practice nurse, or clinical nurse specialist, don't risk your nursing job and career. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to address your Indiana nursing license disciplinary charges. Professionals nationwide have wisely trusted the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to defend and defeat disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.