Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary charges would concern or even frighten any sensible professional. You have every right and reason to be concerned when receiving a notice of potential action against your Massachusetts nursing license. But your response to that notice may be the most important factor influencing your disciplinary charge outcome. Professional license disciplinary proceedings are a serious matter for any professional, but especially for nurses who hold the health and safety of their patients in their literal hands.
Don't misunderstand or underestimate the seriousness of your Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary charges. You could lose everything for which you have worked. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you effectively defend your nursing license misconduct allegations. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain the premier Professional License Defense Team for the defense of your Massachusetts nursing license.
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing License Proceedings
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing declares that it “protects the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth through the fair and consistent application of the statutes and regulations that govern nursing practice and nursing education.” Massachusetts General Law Ch. 13 Section 14 confirms that the Board of Registration in Nursing has the state's authority to make rules and conduct hearings “for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and for proper administration and enforcement of its responsibilities.” 244 CMR Sections 7.01 et seq. are the Board of Registration in Nursing regulations carrying out the Board's authority to investigate, charge, and discipline nurses for misconduct.
The FBI's Operation Nightingale has exposed thousands of licensed nurses nationwide, including Massachusetts nurses, to disciplinary proceedings over allegedly fraudulent nursing credentials. A hospital industry report shows that Massachusetts nursing license officials are investigating Massachusetts nurses relating to the nationwide scandal. But the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing's own disciplinary reports show the hundreds of nurses annually whom the Board disciplines for many other reasons. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team if you face Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary charges.
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Rules and Standards
Each state regulates its own nursing profession. While the rules and standards for nurse discipline may be somewhat similar from state to state, Massachusetts has its own requirements, disciplinary authorities, and disciplinary procedures. A nurse facing disciplinary charges gains an advantage when knowing the rules and procedures. Nurses who ignore those rules and procedures place themselves at a distinct disadvantage. For your effective defense, you should not only retain skilled and experienced professional license defense representation from the Lento Law Firm, but also know enough about the rules and procedures to effectively cooperate with your retained counsel.
Indeed, in addition to knowing what this summary shares about Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary procedures, you should also have confidence in your retained license defense attorney's ability to make a difference in your disciplinary outcome. Just because you face Massachusetts disciplinary charges does not mean that you have committed some form of misconduct. And if indeed you have committed misconduct, your actions in their context may not warrant discipline. Don't default to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing's charges. Instead, promptly retain skilled and experienced professional license defense representation to help you evaluate, contest, and favorably resolve those charges. The procedure may be everything in your defense. Trust us, and invoke the process.
Valuing Your Massachusetts Nursing License
Another thing you need to do for your effective defense of Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary charges is to properly value your nursing license, practice, and employment. You made a huge investment in your nursing education. You passed the arduous NCLEX, qualified for your Massachusetts nursing license, and took nursing practice employment. Those accomplishments prove your capacity for a rewarding nursing career, no matter what your disciplinary charges allege. If you are near the beginning of your nursing career, then you have only begun to earn your due return on your substantial investment. If you are mid-career, then you know the value of your nursing license and expect to continue to realize it. But no matter where you currently are in your nursing career, even temporarily out of nursing practice, things may change, and you would once again greatly benefit from your nursing license.
Defending Your Massachusetts Nursing License
For your most effective defense of Massachusetts disciplinary charges, you also need to believe that you and your retained professional license defense attorney can lawfully defend, defeat, or otherwise minimize the impact of those charges. Just because you face disciplinary charges doesn't mean that disciplinary officials have convinced themselves that you should suffer discipline. They may just need to hear your reasoned and responsible response. Nursing license officials understand the challenges of nursing practice, as well as anyone. They see the issues nurses face daily, including false or exaggerated patient complaints, inaccurate or unreliable observations, and allegations that other witnesses or documentation simply don't support. And even if officials do find evidentiary support for misconduct, they may just need to hear your mitigating explanation to reduce or avoid any discipline.
Believe in yourself. Believe in your retained professional license defense attorney team. And trust the disciplinary process. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your best possible outcome.
The Nature of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Charges
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing disciplinary charges are not the same as criminal charges or allegations of civil liability. Prosecutors file criminal charges in criminal court, while plaintiffs sue medical care providers for civil liability in civil court. Criminal cases can result in criminal fines and incarceration. Civil cases can result in civil money judgments paid by insurance or enforced against personal assets. While disciplinary charges can be just as serious as criminal charges or civil liability, disciplinary charges have none of those specific effects. Instead, disciplinary charges proceed through an administrative proceeding, not a court proceeding. And disciplinary charges can result in license suspension or revocation, not incarceration or civil liability. Still, don't underestimate the potential impact of Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary charges. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing can revoke your nursing license, ending your nursing career, with all of the attendant professional, personal, and family impacts.
Increased Stakes of Massachusetts Nursing License Charges
Massachusetts is not currently among the thirty-nine states participating in the national Nurse Licensure Compact, although the Compact indicates that Massachusetts has legislation pending passage which would move the state into the Compact. The Nurse Licensure Compact's advantage is that nurses licensed in participating states can participate in other states. Massachusetts-licensed nurses won't have that advantage unless the state joins the Compact. But the Compact maintains a national Nursys database reflecting the status of nursing licenses issued by Compact states. Non-participating state boards often share their disciplinary information for upload into the national Nursys database. In short, whatever happens to your Massachusetts nursing license may impact your ability to practice nursing elsewhere in the United States. Your high stakes warrant retaining the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team.
What Allegations Put a Massachusetts Nurse's License at Risk?
Professionals in all fields, not just nursing or other healthcare fields, face license disciplinary issues. But nursing has such special professional hazards, dealing with patient disease and disability, that nursing raises its own nursing license risks. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has adopted nursing standards published at 244 CMR Section 9.03, the violation of which may result in discipline. The Board maintains additional, similar nursing standards at Massachusetts Administrative Code 244 CMR Section 7.03. Section 9.03 expressly warns that the “Board may take disciplinary action against the license of any nurse licensed by the Board … or against the nurse's right to renew such license, upon the nurse's failure to comply with the Standards of Conduct for Nurses or with any other laws and regulations related to the practice of nursing.” Section 9.03 then proceeds to list these specific and general grounds for discipline:
- unauthorized nursing practice without a current, valid Massachusetts nursing license;
- practice as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) without the state's advanced practice credential;
- practice after state disciplinary officials have suspended, revoked, or refused to renew the nursing license;
- practice in another state through telecommunications without both states' authority;
- failure to comply with state laws requiring reporting of suspected elder abuse, child abuse, abuse of a disabled person, patient abuse, lead poisoning, or death of an individual for coroner examination and death certificate;
- failure to pay state tax obligations, student loans, and child support obligations;
- failure to meet tuberculosis testing and reporting requirements;
- violation of requirements for possessing, dispensing, administering, and prescribing controlled substances;
- failure to provide patient records on lawful request;
- violation of restraint obligations for the mentally ill;
- aiding others in unlawful activities relating to nursing practice;
- failure to wear an identifying badge when in nursing practice;
- failure to take responsibility for nursing judgments, actions, and competency;
- discrimination in providing nursing care based on age, ancestry, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, color, religious creed, national origin, diagnosis, or mental or physical disability;
- failure to adhere to standard precautions and principles of asepsis and infection control, or placing a patient, oneself, or others at risk for the transmission of infectious diseases;
- patient abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or other harm;
- breach of patient confidentiality or failure to safeguard a patient's right to dignity and privacy;
- exercising undue influence on a patient, including promoting the sale of services, goods, appliances, or drugs exploiting the patient for financial gain of the nurse or a third party;
- borrowing money, materials, or other property from any patient;
- caring for or referring a patient with undue benefit or gain;
- engaging in false, deceptive, or misleading advertising related to the practice of nursing;
- sexual contact with any patient with whom the nurse has a patient relationship or with any former patient who may be vulnerable by virtue of emotional status, age, illness, or cognitive ability;
- failing to maintain professional boundaries with respect to any patient with whom the nurse has a patient relationship;
- initiating or maintaining a patient relationship that is likely to adversely affect the nurse's professional judgment;
- failing to report another nurse directly observed abusing a patient, practicing while impaired, or diverting controlled substances;
- engaging in fraud such as billing for services not rendered or submitting false claims for reimbursement;
- impersonating another nurse, physician, or other healthcare provider;
- failing to secure controlled substances under the nurse's responsibility;
- practicing nursing while impaired;
- unlawfully obtaining controlled substances;
- administering prescription drugs without authorizing order;
- endangering the safety of the public, patients, or coworkers by making actual or implied threats of violence or carrying out an act of violence;
- failing to make complete, accurate, and legible entries in all records required by federal and state laws and regulations and accepted standards of nursing practice;
- inappropriately altering or destroying medical records;
- failure in any respect to meet the standards of nursing; and
- engaging in any other conduct that fails to conform to accepted standards of nursing practice or in any behavior that is likely to have an adverse effect upon the health, safety, or welfare of the public.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Massachusetts Nurses?
A professional disciplinary proceeding must generally provide the licensed professional with constitutional due process. Professionals have property and liberty interests in their licenses. An investigatory and adjudicatory process can be daunting for any professional, nurses included. But your Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary proceeding is your opportunity to defend and defeat or minimize the impact of your disciplinary charges. The Massachusetts Administrative Code 244 CMR Sections 7.01 et seq. state the procedures the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing must follow in disciplining a nurse. Those procedures are generally as follows.
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Complaints
Massachusetts Administrative Code 244 CMR Section 7.02 authorizes any person to complain against a Massachusetts-licensed nurse in any form. Complaints against a nurse may come from a patient or the patient's family member, a colleague or supervisor, or even an agency official who sees a report of a criminal charge or conviction, a civil lawsuit for malpractice, or other indication of potential fitness or competency issues. Section 7.02 authorizes a Board of Registration in Nursing designated staff member to investigate the complaint, require the accused nurse to answer the complaint, and initiate a formal complaint before the Board if the allegations appear meritorious. The Board may close cases the Board deems not to have merit or to be trivial. The investigation and complaint stage can be an especially opportune time for your the Lento Law Firm Team to identify, gather, and present evidence exonerating you or mitigating the charges. Early dismissal of the charges is generally your most favorable possible outcome.
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Formal Hearings
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has broad discretionary authority to proceed or not to proceed with formal proceedings on meritorious complaints its staff investigates and refers for hearing. That discretion again strongly recommends that you retain skilled and experienced license defense counsel to advocate with Board disciplinary officials for the voluntary resolution of your matter before a formal hearing. Massachusetts Administrative Code 244 CMR Section 7.04 authorizes the Board to proceed with a formal hearing by serving an order to show cause on the accused nurse to appear at a specific time, date, and place for hearing. Section 7.04 refers to the general Massachusetts administrative tribunal procedures at 801 CMR Sections 101 et seq. for how the hearing proceeds.
Under 244 CMR Section 7.04, the Board of Registration in Nursing designates a prosecuting counsel to present the case against the accused nurse at the formal hearing. The Board also appoints an administrative hearings counsel as the Presiding Officer to conduct the adjudicatory proceeding. The accused nurse may retain license defense counsel to attend the hearing, present the nurse's own testimony, witnesses, and exhibits, and cross-examine the prosecuting counsel's witnesses. The Presiding Officer determines the charges and recommends a sanction for the Board to accept or reject. Section 7.04 specifically authorizes license reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation as potential sanctions. Don't attempt to represent yourself at an adjudicatory hearing. Contact the Lento Law Firm for professional assistance.
Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Consent Agreements
Under 244 CMR Section 7.04, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has the authority to offer the accused nurse a consent agreement resolving the charges voluntarily, without formal hearing. Consent agreements can certainly look attractive to a nurse wishing to avoid the stress, time, and risk of a contested formal hearing. But consent agreements can, in the worst case, simply pave the way toward the accused nurse's loss of the nursing license. Consent agreements typically include terms and conditions the nurse must complete or face license suspension and revocation. Retain skilled and experienced professional license defense representation to help you carefully evaluate any proposed consent agreement. You must be confident that you can timely meet all terms and conditions without substantial risk, or the consent agreement may represent a bad bargain.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in Massachusetts
You need a highly qualified license defense attorney team on your side in Massachusetts nursing license proceedings because you face several distinct disadvantages in those proceedings. First, the prosecuting counsel need only establish the charges by a preponderance of the evidence, not the beyond-a-reasonable doubt standard for criminal court charges. A preponderance simply means making the charges more probable than not. You could thus have substantial evidence on your side but still lose the case and suffer discipline because the prosecuting counsel presented slightly more evidence.
Another reason you need the Lento Law Firm is that the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing will have the state's full resources behind it. Those resources include the services of disciplinary investigators, prosecuting counsel, and hearing officers who may do nothing other than handle these disciplinary cases. The Board's staff will have far more experience, skill, and insight than any nurse appearing before the Board might expect to muster without highly qualified counsel. Your only way of leveling the playing field is to retain that highly qualified counsel, not a local criminal defense attorney but an attorney team with substantial experience winning license defense cases.
How a Nursing License Defense Attorney Helps in Massachusetts
There are numerous ways our team can increase your likelihood of prevailing in your Massachusetts nursing license disciplinary proceeding. Prompt, clear, timely, and diplomatic communications with disciplinary officials can open communication and negotiation, leading to an early resolution in some cases. In those communications and negotiations, your defense team can present the exonerating and mitigating evidence that the team has helped you identify, acquire, and organize. Your defense team can timely answer the charges, raising your technical, procedural, and factual defenses. We can also prepare you for and attend the hearing to cross-examine the prosecuting counsel's witnesses, present your own witnesses, and advocate in your favor. Our team can also draft and submit the required hearing briefs with supporting law and prepare and pursue appeals if you have already lost your hearing.
License Defense Team for Massachusetts Nursing Charges
Don't give up and give in to Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing disciplinary charges. Instead, retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your disciplinary defense, whether you are a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse midwife, advanced practice nurse, or clinical nurse specialist. Protect your enormous investment in your rewarding nursing job and career. Trust the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team with your disciplinary charges, as hundreds of other professionals nationwide have done. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.