If you are a Kansas nurse facing charges of wrongdoing, your professional license may be in jeopardy. Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense Team as soon as a complaint against you has been filed at (888) 535-3686, or use our online form for assistance in protecting your license—and your nursing career—from potential ruin.
In addition, please read below if you have been advised that your nursing education program is under scrutiny for falsifying credentials or other misfeasance.
Nurses in Kansas know how hard they work, but also how much they improve people's lives within the world of patient needs and treatment. Yet, there are many situations where nurses face accusations that threaten their professional licensure. The Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) controls licenses of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed mental health technicians. The Board is the regulatory agency that has the authority to limit a license or decide on suspension, revocation, or public or private reprimand. They can bring an administrative proceeding that can derail even the longest and most illustrious career in nursing.
You have likely put a great deal of effort into attaining your professional license. Dreams of becoming a respected nurse were made a reality by your hard work in completing educational programs and meeting clinical and field training requirements. You made a significant financial investment in becoming a licensed nurse, and your continued livelihood rests on the maintenance of your license to practice.
You may work for a private employer or a large medical institution such as:
- University of Kansas Hospital
- Stormont Vail Hospital
- Advent Health Shawnee Mission or Ottawa
- Ascension Via Christi Hospital Wichita
- Advent County Regional Hospital
Wherever you are employed, if a complaint has been filed against you, your nursing license may be at risk. Attorney Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense Team will apply their vast experience to negotiate on your behalf and defend your career. Call (888) 535-3686 or use our online form now, and arrange to speak with someone about your unique situation.
Accusations That May Jeopardize Your Nursing License
The KSBN receives various complaints about nurses, often from employers, who must report alleged behaviors which have "a reasonable possibility of injury to a patient" or those which might be a basis for disciplinary action. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
- Actions that fall below the standard of care. These can include a wide range of allegations, such as malfeasance or neglect in the treatment of a patient, offensive speech, or physical/verbal abuse. Sexual harassment can also be the basis for a complaint or even having an inappropriate relationship with a patient, co-worker, or boss.
- Inappropriate handling of medications. Nurses are entrusted with properly dispensing prescription drugs to patients. Complaints can allege personal appropriation of medications, giving them to the wrong person, even selling them illegally, or neglecting to properly record their use or transfer. Other accusations include giving false prescriptions to pharmacies, and any of the above may result in forfeiture of a nursing license.
- Fraud of various types. This can include insurance fraud, such as altering a bill, etc., in addition to tampering with medical records or misrepresenting personal credentials.
- Criminal Record. If you have been convicted of a crime, especially a felony or a misdemeanor, you may be banned from nursing depending on the type of offense. Even neglecting to report such a crime can result in losing your license to practice. There are many types of offenses—including driving while intoxicated—that can have this result.
What Happens After a Complaint is Filed?
Once a sworn complaint is received, KSBN is charged under state law to open a case. They will then collect information and commence an investigation. They won't reveal the person or entity who filed the complaint, which—in addition to an employer—may be a patient or their relative or neighbor, a media outlet, a co-worker, a health insurer, the court system, law enforcement, or various other agencies or sources.
In Kansas, investigators include other licensed nurses. The investigation will include scrutiny of all medical records, personnel information, agency documents, and information from licensing boards in other states. Witnesses are interviewed, and statements are collected. You will be questioned as well, and you can provide information and evidence on your own behalf. After reviewing all of the evidence, the investigators will assemble, evaluate and create a synopsis of all the relevant information. There are about 2300 investigations per year in Kansas.
The investigative steps will commonly take between six and nine months while a shadow is cast over your career. The time can be extended by additional post-incident information that is received or difficulty in finding key personnel or witnesses who have relocated. Sometimes agencies delay responses, and sources from other jurisdictions can be slow to respond. You don't have to face this process alone: Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense Team will advise and support you through this stressful experience, helping you communicate with the agency and skillfully guiding you regarding the issues that arise. Call (888) 535-3686 or complete this online form now in order to get them involved early in the process, when the risk to your license can more easily be controlled.
The Investigative Committee, comprised of three Board Members, will go over all of the documents and information that has been collected. They meet periodically throughout the year and make decisions regarding the cases. Dispositions of complaints may vary but often are as follows:
- "Inactivation" of the case file.
- A call for a hearing, which results in formal discipline.
- Inactivation of the case file "due to in-house/facility or self-imposed education actions"
- A probation agreement that isn't disciplinary
- An agreement to take particular CNE classes
- A referral to the impaired provider program
What Happens if the Investigation Results in Formal Discipline?
The structure and rules of a formal hearing are controlled by the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act. Since a nursing license is considered a property right, you have constitutional protections that are triggered when someone tries to take it away. Affording you due process means that you are entitled to the following:
- Opportunity to confront witnesses
- Opportunity to present and challenge evidence
- Counsel present
- Proper notice
- A fair and impartial hearing
If you are to be the subject of formal discipline, a "Summary Order" may be sent to you, detailing the asserted facts and circumstances of the charges and offering you the opportunity to request a hearing if you contest the allegations. Alternatively you may receive a Petition describing those same allegations, also laying out potential penalties.
When a Formal Hearing is the Next Step
If you decide to ask for a hearing in response to the Summary Order, or if you've gotten a Petition, the next step is to expect a hearing notice for a particular date and time. You must respond within very specific time limits, and if you don't—or if you haven't reached out to KSBN or requested a continuance—you are in danger of getting a default judgment. Your license may be lost, and/or other penalties may be imposed without you ever having had an opportunity to present your side of the story. It is absolutely critical that you don't let things get to this stage without an experienced advisor: well before a hearing is scheduled, maximize your chances of a successful license defense by contacting nationwide Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team.
Preparation for the hearing will require you to contact witnesses and collect information such as relevant medical records or documents. This investigative work on your part is called "discovery," and you are entitled to do it in order to counter the allegations made against you by the other side. The right team will know how to organize the evidence and present it in the best light, deciding on who to subpoena on your behalf. They will go through all relevant information and decide what should be offered at the hearing, saving you from trying to wade through documents and witness statements, etc., on your own. This is a critical part of your license defense.
The hearing will be before either the entire Board, a smaller panel of Board members, or a single hearing officer. Witnesses will be required to be sworn in under oath, and exhibits will be entered by both sides. Evidence may be either written or oral, and hearsay is permissible but weighed according to its circumstances. If your fitness to practice nursing is under scrutiny, the following factors—though not all-inclusive—will be evaluated, as set forth by KSBN:
- Danger to the public health safety and welfare,
- The present moral fitness,
- Your consciousness of what you did wrong and the effect on profession,
- What you did and are doing for rehabilitation
- Nature and seriousness of misconduct,
- Current conduct,
- Time elapsed since prior discipline or criminal activity,
- Character, maturity, and experience
- Present competence and skill.
When the hearing is done, the Board or hearing officer will make a decision based on a weighing of the evidence. A written order will issue, consisting of findings of fact, legal conclusions, and—most importantly—the penalties that are to be imposed. This order is served on the parties following the decision, and it will contain an effective date as well as information regarding your right to appeal. The costs of the hearing will be allocated to either of the parties.
The written hearing decision may deny, revoke, suspend, limit, or publicly or privately censure your nursing license. You may also be subject to a fine: for a first offense, not to exceed $1,000; for a second offense, not to exceed $2,000; and for a third and/or additional offenses, fines are not to exceed $3,000. These fines are specified under the Kansas Nurses Practices Act (K.S.A. 74-1110).
Career-altering or expensive consequences may be completely avoidable. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team are well aware of what is at stake when your license to practice is in jeopardy. Immediately after a complaint against you has been filed with the Board, get Attorney Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense Team involved in order to prevent such dire results. Call (888) 535-3686 as soon as possible, or complete this online form so that they can prepare a robust defense and help you to get the complaint dismissed.
Your Have the Right to Appeal the Results of the Hearing
There is a time period after the hearing where the parties are entitled to ask the Board to review the decision. If the Board upholds the decision or refuses to review it, either of the parties has the right to appeal to the District Court. This type of appeal is controlled by the Kansas Judicial Review Act (KJRA). There is no repeat hearing; rather, under the KJRA, the court reviews the basis for the appeal and decides whether the Board's written order is supported by substantial evidence. After the District Court makes its decision, either party has one additional opportunity to appeal to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of the State. In order to file such an appeal, great care must be taken to meet all court deadlines.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and His Professional License Defense Team Have the Experience You Need
When your nursing license is at risk, your best chance of keeping it is to hire a seasoned professional rather than trying to "go it alone." Attorney Lento and the Professional License Defense Team have a comprehensive background in handling professional license defense cases across the nation. Rather than taking the easy way out, they carefully evaluate the best outcome for the client and skillfully advocate for that result. They use their vast experience to know how best to resolve the matter, using a nuanced approach in dealing with the Board or the courts.
The Significant Life Impact of Losing Your Professional License
As soon as the Board decides to take away your nursing license, there are rapid and significant consequences that you will need to be prepared for. Some of the myriad effects on your life may include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Your salary will terminate, effective immediately. Unlike other situations where a job is lost, you will not be afforded severance pay or otherwise be given a notice period. You're out and not entitled to unemployment compensation. For many people, this creates a sudden financial crisis: what are your ongoing financial commitments? How long could you make your monthly mortgage, lease, or car payments without a paycheck?
- It will be challenging to explain your situation to prospective employers. Depending on the particular reasons for the loss of your nursing license, other employers may frown on the circumstances leading to your termination, even if the new job does not require a license. You would be starting out with trust issues.
- Your patients will suffer the impact of your license revocation. It can be quite difficult for someone with medical needs to quickly find a newly licensed caregiver. Often people will be very attached to a particular nurse and will be left in an untenable position by that person's sudden disappearance.
- You will have difficulty applying for licensure in other states. They will almost certainly check with Kansas and will learn of your situation.
- Harm to your reputation as a nurse. This may last a long time and be difficult to shake. There will be a public record of the Board's actions against you, and this can be a lingering problem in gaining people's trust, building a clientele, or gaining the type of employment you are otherwise qualified for.
- Obstacles that delay getting your license back. It is hard to predict how long it will take for the Board to agree to restore your license. You may not apply for reinstatement until three years have passed. This process has many requirements, including:
- Clear and convincing evidence" of "sufficient rehabilitation."
- Payment of a fee.
- Yet another three-year waiting period should your application be denied.
- If you have been out of practicefor more than five years, proof of a refresher course is submitted to the Board.
- 30 hours of CNE.
- Submission to the Board of all relevant legal history.
As you can see, the road ahead can be very lengthy and rather bleak once your loss of license is a done deal. Don't let it come to this: hire a professional with the experience you need, and go into the process with knowledge, preparation, and support. Whether you're in Wichita, Overland Park, Topeka, or Kansas City, call (888) 535-3686 if a complaint has been filed against you, or complete this online form in order to get Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his nationwide Professional License Defense team on your side.
Other Damage to Your Career, Even if You Manage to Retain Your License
As you can see, your dream of being a nurse can be shattered by one person's perception of events, and the filing of a complaint can be costly to you, even if the allegations are false. To reiterate and expand on some alternative penalties mentioned previously, the Board can:
- Suspend or limit your right to practice as a licensed nurse for a particular time period.
- Ask you to redress the situation or the harm caused by the incident cited in the complaint.
- Assess a fine against you.
- Mandate continuing education hours.
- Publicly or privately censure your license
- Require you to sign an agreement subjecting you to an "educational remedy."
Any of the above non-exhaustive list of consequences and requirements will become part of the public record and can be uncovered by a patient, co-worker, boss, or prospective employer with a few clicks on the computer. Whether you have been subjected to such sanctions or action has been taken against your license, your reputational issues will continue into the foreseeable future. A nurse has a position of trust, and many people will be hesitant to hire someone for this job if others have accused them of being untrustworthy.
Hire a Nationwide Attorney, and a Team With a Proven Track Record
The health and safety of patients in Kansas are your major concern as a licensed nurse. The KSBN is charged with protecting this same group by regulating those to whom it has granted licenses. If trust issues arise, you can suddenly be confronted with an overwhelming situation that places your livelihood and your cherished career at risk. Finding an attorney who has broad and successful experience in professional license defense can be key to your entire future.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team know that whether you feel that a complaint is baseless or the subject appears to be relatively insignificant, things can escalate. They will bring their experience to bear in helping you get the charges dropped and will work hard to keep your professional reputation from being tarnished. They can be reached by completing this online form, or calling (888) 535-3686.