Maine Nurse License Defense

As one of the ten least populous states, Maine has had difficulty attracting qualified nurses to serve its communities most in need of health services. Yet, qualified and compassionate nurses in Maine regularly face sanctions that threaten their ability to practice medicine and assist Mainers.

The Lento Law Firm Team understands how challenging the world of nursing is and how vital it is to keep capable nurses working. Our team fights tirelessly to defend nurses like you, knowing that licensing boards do not always take the time to understand a nurse or the nature of their case.

Whether through misunderstandings, false allegations of unprofessionalism, or honest mistakes, nurses often find themselves facing sanctions. If you do not fight these sanctions with every available resource, you may suffer the suspension or revocation of your license or other adverse outcomes that may be avoidable with capable representation.

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team will lead the defense of your license, negotiating with licensing agencies and seeking the most favorable resolution possible. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will contact you.

Legal Powers the Maine State Board of Nursing Has to Discipline You

The Maine State Board of Nursing has the legal authority to take any punitive action that it sees fit for nurses, so long as it has sufficient legal grounds to administer punishment.

The Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation explains that the Maine State Board of Nursing, which is composed of nurses and public appointees, has legal authority to:

  • Warn a nurse that failure to cease specific behavior could result in sanctions
  • Censure a nurse, which is a formal expression of disapproval regarding a nurse's actions or failures
  • Reprimand a nurse
  • Civil penalty, which may be a fine
  • Education, which may include retraining about professionalism, ethical behavior, medical expectations, or other areas where the board determines a nurse is lacking
  • Probation, including specific conditions for the nurse to remove the probationary conditions
  • Suspension of the nurse's license
  • Revocation of the nurse's license (with or without conditions for reinstatement)

These sanctions vary in severity, but you should take even a warning or rebuke seriously. Any form of discipline may become part of your nursing record and, therefore, may:

  • Expose you to termination for any future mistakes or misunderstandings with your current employer
  • Limit your pool of future job opportunities
  • Diminish your earning power
  • Lower the ceiling for your ambitions in the nursing field
  • Contribute to stress and mental health issues, as you may feel less professional and personal security if you're subject to license sanctions.

You should consider hiring an attorney from our team, no matter which sanctions you face. There is no way to project precisely how sanctions (even a mere warning or reprimand) will affect you adversely. However, you can be certain that your professional prospects will not improve if you accept discipline without a fight.

Do Not Expect That the Truth Will Protect You from License-Related Sanction in Maine

Our experience defending nurses has led us to many cases in which a nurse did nothing wrong. In some cases, those nurses believed that the truth—that they had not done anything to warrant discipline—would be sufficient as a defense. Fortunately, these nurses took the wise step of hiring our team rather than assuming their respective nursing boards would act rationally and fairly.

The truth is that the facts do not always determine the outcome of nurse-specific disciplinary cases. Nursing boards err all the time and can issue unfair or inaccurate rulings because:

  • They do not conduct the necessary due diligence and fail to uncover facts, testimony, and evidence that may change the outcome of a case
  • They are biased in favor of the complainant or against the accused
  • They choose not to consider certain evidence or testimony, including exculpatory evidence
  • They fail to reach an appropriate conclusion based on all available information

The Maine State Board of Nursing has a long track record of issuing discipline against nurses. An untold number of these nurses may have been innocent of allegations against them or deserved more lenient sanctions than they received.

Don't assume anything when it comes to your disciplinary case. Let an attorney from our team present all the facts and evidence and exhaust every potential path to a positive outcome.

What Is the Nurse Licensure Compact, and Why Is It Relevant to Nurses Practicing in Maine?

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an effort to unify nursing standards across the United States. Those who receive their nursing license in an NLC-compliant state can practice in other compliant states without undergoing additional licensing requirements.

Maine is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which is overseen by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NLC can be a massive benefit and convenience for nurses. However, the unification of nursing standards means that when you lose your license to nurse in Maine, you also lose your ability to practice in other NLC-compliant states.

Nurses in NLC-compliant states, including Maine, have more to lose when their in-state nursing board sanctions their license. Even if Maine were not part of the NLC, or you want to practice in another NLC non-compliant state, your nursing record in one state can follow you to another.

Why the NCSBN's Nursys Database Is Relevant to Nurses Facing Possible License Sanctions

The NCSBN's Nursys database is another tool to unify nursing in the United States. The database is a primary source for nurse licensing information, which means that anyone with access to the database can:

  • Look up a nurse's current license status
  • Look up a nurse's disciplinary history
  • Make licensure and hiring decisions based on information contained in the nationwide Nursys database

Nursys provides immense convenience for the nursing industry as a whole. However, like the Nurse Licensure Compact, the Nursys database heightens the stakes when a nurse receives sanctions in Maine. You can be certain that if you receive sanctions, then:

  • The sanctions in Maine will appear on the Nursys database
  • You will need to address the sanctions when applying for license renewal or jobs in Maine or any other state (even if a state does not participate in the Nursys database, it can access the database)

The Nursys database and NLC ensure that what happens in the Maine State Board of Nursing hearing will not stay in Maine. Word of your sanctions will enter nationwide databases. This reinforces the importance of fighting pending sanctions so that you do not face long-term consequences.

Grounds for Sanctions Against Nurses Practicing in Maine

Some reasons the Maine State Board of Nursing disciplines nursing employees include:

  • Incompetence: Unfortunately for nurses, the definition of incompetence can vary from one employer to the next and even one superior to the next. Yet, this undefined term— "incompetence" — can be the basis for issuing life-altering discipline.
  • Unprofessional conduct: Like incompetence, the term "unprofessional" is in the eye of the disciplinary board. Poor interactions with patients, chronic tardiness, and failure to keep a clean work environment are a few examples of unprofessional conduct.
  • Substance misuse: You may face discipline if you are accused of working under the influence of drugs or alcohol or using substances inappropriately, even outside the scope of your job.
  • Misrepresentation or fraud: If you're accused of fraud, deception, or misrepresentation in obtaining a license or job or administering care to a patient, you may face severe license sanctions.
  • Medication issues: Nurses in Maine can face discipline for overprescribing or over-administering medications. You may also face sanctions for under-administering medication, making other medication errors, or taking medications off the premises of a medical facility.
  • Criminal conviction: Certain criminal convictions may threaten the validity of your nursing license. The Maine State Board of Nursing does not permanently bar anyone from licensure based on a criminal conviction. Therefore, having a capable attorney could help you preserve your license even in light of a criminal conviction.
  • Violating industry rules: If you violate nursing industry regulations or employer policies, you may face a complaint that leads to sanctions.

More than most professionals, nurses must walk a fine line. The slightest error or perceived lack of respect for a nurse's duties could jeopardize your license, reputation, and career.

The Adjudication Process for Nurse Licensing Issues in Maine

Sanctions against nurses in Maine generally begin with a complaint. The complaint may arise from:

  • How you applied for a nursing license, including how you presented yourself and your qualifications
  • How you conduct yourself with patients
  • How you conduct yourself with colleagues and superiors
  • How you conduct yourself outside the work environment
  • Your past history as a nurse, including in other states
  • Other circumstances directly or indirectly related to your nursing career

Fortunately for nurses in Maine, the state does not offer an online complaint portal as many other states do. Instead, those who wish to file a complaint must mail a physical letter to the Maine State Board of Nursing. This provides a modest level of protection against those who might file a frivolous complaint against you.

Even so, no nurse in Maine is immune from baseless, exaggerated, or biased complaints. Once the Maine State Board of Nursing receives a complaint against you, the next steps may include the following:

An Informal Conference

The Maine Board of Nursing explains that, before pursuing formal discipline against a nurse who is the subject of a complaint, representatives of the board may conduct an informal conference.

During this informal process, the board may:

  1. Speak with the complainant about their allegation(s) regarding the nurse in question
  2. Speak with the nurse accused of wrongdoing
  3. Gather as many facts as possible about the complaint, including facts that help establish whether or not the complaint has merit

The informal conference serves as a sort of de facto investigation, as the board will use information gathered to determine whether to proceed forward or dismiss the complaint.

Exploring a Pre-Hearing Settlement

If the board decides that it should move forward with the adjudication of the complaint against you, you may then have the opportunity to explore a consent order or settlement prior to an adjudicatory hearing.

The Maine Administrative Procedure Act §9053 allows you (or your attorney from our team) to resolve the complaint without a full hearing. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the evidence involved in your case, and other relevant factors, securing a pre-trial settlement may be the right decision.

Completing an Adjudicatory Hearing

Title 5, Chapter 375, Subchapter 4 of the Maine Administrative Procedure Act details your rights as it relates to an adjudicatory hearing. These rights include:

  • The right to have a hearing in response to a complaint that threatens the validity of your nursing license
  • The right to retain legal counsel
  • The right to receive sufficient notice of the hearing
  • The right to "present evidence and arguments on all issues, and at any hearing to call and examine witnesses and to make oral cross-examination of any person present and testifying." (Responsibilities which your lawyer from our team will handle for you)

Following your hearing, the Maine State Board of Nursing representatives will issue a decision. Title 5 Chapter 375, Subchapter 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act explains that this decision must:

  • Be either in writing or stated on the record.
  • Include information about the facts of the case that would allow someone reading the decision to understand the basis for sanctioning the nurse.
  • Include written notice of the nurse's rights to a review or appeal of the decision and the timeline for requesting such appeals.

Most nurses who receive sanctions from the Maine State Board of Nursing have the right to appeal. If you experience any ruling that you believe is less than fair, appealing may be the appropriate response.

Appealing an Unfavorable Ruling

The Maine Administrative Procedure Act states that anyone "aggrieved" by the disciplinary action of an agency (such as the Nursing Board) is "entitled to judicial review" by a Superior Court. Subchapter 7 of the Maine Administrative Procedure Act explains that an appeals court can:

  1. Affirm the decision of the Nursing Board
  2. Require that the case undergo further proceedings, such as the finding of additional facts
  3. Reverse or modify the Nursing Board's decision

The appeals court may modify or reverse a Nursing Board decision because:

  • The board violated the statutory guidelines for conducting a hearing or issuing a decision
  • The board issued a ruling that exceeded its authority
  • The board engaged in or based its decision off any unlawful procedure
  • There was evidence of bias or error in the board's proceedings
  • The board's decision did not reflect the facts or evidence in the case
  • The board was "arbitrary or capricious" in its use of power or discretion

If an appeal is necessary, our team may present evidence or testimony to the appeals court that was not permitted during your initial hearing.

The initial appeals court may not be your last course of action if the Maine State Board of Nursing rules against you. Subchapter 7 explains that the Supreme Judicial Court may also hear an appeal, and this may be a viable option in your case.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team When Facing Nursing License Sanctions in Maine

Anyone facing the prospect of professional sanctions may ask: Is it really necessary to hire an attorney? We advise that you consider the true magnitude of facing professional sanctions and also consider hiring the Lento Law Firm Team because of the following:

  • The low threshold for sanctioning nurses: You may face the burden of disproving allegations against you. In this sense, the Maine State Board of Nursing may consider you guilty unless proven innocent. Therefore, you'll need an active license defense strategy, which our team will provide and execute for you.
  • The resources the Maine State Board of Nursing has on its side: When you're fighting a complaint filed through the Maine State Board of Nursing, you're fighting the state of Maine. You deserve a law firm that has the resources necessary to complete such a fight.
  • Your inexperience with license defense proceedings: Most nurses we represent have not experienced the disciplinary process before. Our team has, and we will prepare you for the process ahead.
  • Our attorneys' successful track record defending nurses: Our record of successfully protecting nurses from license sanctions should be a comfort to you. There is no substitute for experience, and our team will not rest until we have resolved your case.

Life goes on even as you face the weight of potential license sanctions. Our team will manage every aspect of your defense so you can continue to focus on your personal and professional responsibilities.

How Our Firm Will Assist You

The Lento Law Firm Team's mission is clearing your name and avoiding sanctions. If sanctions are inevitable, our goal will be to reduce those sanctions to the greatest possible degree. In pursuing these outcomes, our firm will:

  • Identify the ideal outcome of your case: In some cases, nurses have not committed any of the actions they're accused of. In others, a nurse has had a lapse in judgment, an emotional outburst during a difficult time, or made another error that they're willing to admit to. These kinds of details will affect our strategy and target outcome in your case.
  • Obtain all relevant evidence and testimony: We'll conduct our own investigation of your circumstances. We never rely on information provided by third parties, instead verifying the facts for ourselves. The right evidence or witness account can determine the outcome of your case, so we're thorough in this aspect of a nurse licensure case.
  • Explore settlements outside of the standard adjudication proceedings: We will negotiate with any Offices of General Counsel (OGCs) that have the authority to settle your case. In many instances, negotiating directly with these attorneys leads to an efficient, ideal case outcome. Our familiarity with OGCs is one of the reasons clients trust us to defend their licenses.
  • Accompany you through adjudication proceedings: If your case must go through traditional adjudication channels, we'll be prepared. We will accompany you to any meetings, represent you during your hearing, and file any necessary appeals promptly.
  • Take further legal steps, if necessary: All options are on the table when your nursing license is on the line. If we need to take legal action beyond appeals, we will. Our team will discuss your options as they become relevant to your case.

We are a nationwide legal team experienced in negotiating with professional licensing boards and their attorneys. Considering each client's unique circumstances, our firm always presses for the best possible outcome.

We Serve Nurses Employed by Medical Providers Throughout Maine

No matter your employer or specific role, sanctions on your license can have a devastating effect. Therefore, we serve nurses employed throughout the state of Maine. Our team is familiar with prominent employers in the medical space, including:

  • Maine Medical Center (Portland)
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center (Bangor)
  • Cary Medical Center (Caribou)
  • Central Maine Medical Center (Lewiston)
  • Down East Community Hospital (Machias)
  • LincolnHealth (Damariscotta)
  • Maine Coast Memorial Hospital (Ellsworth)
  • MaineGeneral Medical Center (Augusta)
  • Mid Coast Hospital (Brunswick)
  • Mount Desert Island Hospital (Bar Harbor)
  • Northern Light Mercy Hospital (Portland)
  • York Hospital (York)

These are just examples of high-volume employers of nurses in Maine. If your employer is not on this list, we can still assist you.

Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today to Discuss How We Will Fight for Your Nursing License in Maine

Defending your license should be a priority, and our team is ready to start work on your case today. We will use every minute you provide us before any interviews, hearings, appeals, or legal processes take place.

Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation about how we will fight for your nursing license in Maine. You can also contact us online with your case details, and a member of our team will reach out as soon as possible.


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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