Maryland is a great state in which to pursue a nursing career. Maryland ranks third in the nation among the best places for a nursing career. Maryland nursing salaries are generally much higher than in many other states. Maryland also expects thousands of nursing jobs to open every year, with substantial job growth.
Maryland is also a Nurse Licensure Compact state. If you already have a nursing license from another state, you can get a license from the Maryland Board of Nursing for nursing employment in Maryland more easily than in many other states. But the Maryland Board of Nursing also investigates complaints against licensed nurses. Violating nursing practice standards can result in losing your Maryland nursing license and employment.
If you face Maryland nursing license misconduct allegations, get the skilled professional license defense attorney services you need. Your nursing license, job, and career deserve protection. Retain professional license defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for your Maryland nursing license defense to protect your nursing career. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.
What Allegations Can Threaten Your Maryland Nursing License
Maryland Health Occupations Code Section 8-316 authorizes the Maryland Board of Nursing to deny, suspend, or revoke a nursing license to any nurse who violates the profession's standards. Common disciplinary grounds under Section 8-316 include:
- Professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct, including acting insubordinately toward supervisors, disrespecting nursing colleagues or other healthcare staff members, inappropriate intimate relationships with patients, supervisors, or colleagues, and practicing nursing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- misuse, mishandling, or misappropriation of prescription medications, including personal use of drugs, drug theft for sale or distribution, medicating patients without or against prescription, failing to document drug administration, failing to store drugs securely, and altering prescriptions or submitting fraudulent prescriptions;
- patient abuse or neglect, including failing or refusing to appear for scheduled work assignments, failing to provide patients with necessary care, and intentionally or recklessly endangering patients with physically, mentally, emotionally, or sexually abusive care;
- healthcare fraud, such as misrepresenting services performed, billing or coding inaccurately, modifying or falsifying medical records, or misrepresenting your professional experience, licensure, and other credentials;
- criminal conviction for crimes that indicate dishonesty in nursing practice, unfitness to practice nursing, or patient endangerment, including a conviction for robbery, burglary, assault and battery, drunk driving, or drug dealing or possession; and
- failing to report crimes or other events and conditions, or misrepresenting those matters, on the license application, for license renewal, or in license disciplinary proceedings.
Maryland's Disciplinary Process for Nursing License Defense
Complaints against a Maryland nursing license can come from any direction. Patients and their family members may complain against you. So, too, may physicians, other nurses, and other healthcare workers who observe your nursing practice. Your employer's representatives may also complain, as may insurance companies or regulators who suspect violation of nursing standards.
Fortunately, Maryland Health Occupations Code Section 8-317 mandates certain protective procedures for license disciplinary proceedings. Your retained professional license defense attorney can help you invoke those protective procedures for your best outcome to license disciplinary proceedings. A disciplinary charge does not mean you've violated nursing standards. You may have a good defense if you retain representation to invoke protective procedures.
Notice of the Complaint and Request for Your Response
Section 8-317 requires the Maryland State Board of Nursing to notify you of the complaint against you so that you and your retained attorney can defend the complaint. The notice must follow Maryland's Administrative Procedures Act guaranteeing you due process. You should receive a copy of the complaint well in advance of any hearing you may have to attend to defend it.
When you receive notice of a Maryland nursing license disciplinary proceeding, the notice may require you to respond in writing. If you don't respond, the state board may proceed to discipline you without your defense or other participation. In other words, you should respond promptly as invited or required. Your retained license defense attorney can help you respond most effectively. Your articulate explanation, supported by appropriate documentation, could lead to the dismissal of the complaint.
Investigation of the Complaint
Section 8-317 authorizes the Maryland State Board of Nursing to issue subpoenas and take other actions to investigate the complaint against you. The board's investigator may interview you, the complainant, your co-workers, and other witnesses. The investigator may also obtain and review medical, employment, billing, or other records and communications.
The investigation results will guide the Maryland State Board of Nursing in whether to dismiss the complaint or pursue discipline against you. Don't sit back and let an investigation proceed on its own without your participation. Instead, retain a qualified license defense attorney to help you gather and present evidence in your defense. Your best result may be an early voluntary dismissal of all charges.
Consent Agreements for Discipline
Under Section 8-317, the Maryland State Board of Nursing may resolve disciplinary complaints with an advisory letter to the accused nurse. An advisory letter is not discipline. But the board may disclose an advisory letter to the public. The board may also negotiate a consent agreement with you. A consent agreement is your voluntary indication that you submit to the board's proposed discipline. That discipline may be anything from a reprimand to suspension or revocation of your Maryland nursing license.
A consent agreement may sound like a good outcome. But any agreement imposing discipline, even as little as a reprimand, could result in your loss of employment. You could also lose job hours, assignments, and promotions. Do not agree to any outcome imposing discipline. Instead, retain and consult a qualified license defense attorney to advise you as to your best possible outcome under the facts and circumstances of your individual case.
Formal Hearing Whether to Discipline
If your disciplinary case does not resolve by dismissal or consent, you may face a formal disciplinary hearing. Section 8-317(b) requires your nursing license hearing to follow the state's Administrative Procedure Act. The Act affords you an opportunity to present your case to an administrative law judge who will decide your disciplinary proceeding in a written decision.
You may retain a license defense attorney to advocate for you at the hearing. Your attorney may help you call your defense witnesses and present your defense exhibits. Your attorney may also cross-examine the state board's witnesses and challenge the board's evidence. The administrative law judge may dismiss the charges or recommend sanctions, including license reprimand, suspension, or revocation. Maryland's Administrative Procedure Act permits certain appeals of adverse decisions.
Why You Need a Maryland Nursing License Defense Attorney
Maryland nursing license cases are not criminal court proceedings. You won't get the rights of a criminally accused. Instead, the Maryland State Board of Nursing will generally first consider its role in protecting the public. To impose discipline against you, the board need only find that a preponderance of the evidence indicates that you violated a nursing standard.
Skilled and experienced professional license defense attorney representation can, in many cases, turn back the tide working against you in licensing proceedings. Your retained attorney can:
- review and evaluate the disciplinary complaint with you;
- answer the disciplinary complaint, raising appropriate defenses;
- help you gather, organize, and present exonerating and mitigating evidence;
- invoke the board's protective procedures, including your hearing rights;
- help you evaluate consent agreement offers and negotiate better offers;
- appear and defend you at the formal hearing, presenting your evidence;
- object to the board's evidence and cross-examine the board's witnesses;
- appeal any adverse decision.
Premier License Defense Attorney Available in Maryland
Professional license defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team are available for your Maryland nursing license defense. Attorney Lento has successfully defended hundreds of professionals in Maryland and nationwide. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.