Minnesota Agency Nurse Defense

As a dedicated agency nurse in Minnesota, facing allegations of professional misconduct can be a discouraging and complex experience. The initial shock of having your contract with a medical facility abruptly terminated, followed by dismissal from your nursing agency, can be deeply distressing, causing you to worry about your future career and financial stability. After battling the medical facility and your agency,  the prospect of an impending investigation and hearing before the Minnesota Nursing only escalates the possibility of severe professional consequences. 

Regardless of what phase you are in of this escalated termination and investigation process, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help. We understand the nuances of Minnesota Nursing Board proceedings and nursing agency investigations. We can help you craft a robust defense with the goal of safeguarding your financial security and professional reputation. Reach a member of our Team today by calling us at 888-535-3686 or by using our online contact form

The Unique Role of Agency Nurses in Minnesota 

An agency nurse is a registered nurse employed through a nursing agency rather than a single employer such as a healthcare facility or hospital. Because agency nurses receive nursing position assignments from their employer agency, they tend to work on a contractual basis that offers a great deal of flexibility. Agency assignments can vary, with some assignments allowing nurses to be assigned to various healthcare facilities in a geographical area or work short-term assignments at one facility at a time.  Staffing agencies may also work with nursing agencies to use agency nurses to fill short-term absences or staffing shortages at facilities. Although some agency positions may be more prolonged, they typically range from a few days to a few weeks at a time.  

This type of employment structure offers many benefits, making agency employment an attractive option for registered nurses who often work incredibly long and grueling hours in facilities. Some of these benefits are discussed below.  


Agency nurses enjoy a great deal of flexibility. Not only are they allowed to choose (by accepting or declining agency offers) their work schedule and location, but they can also tailor these shifts around other life commitments, making agency employment an ideal option for working parents and partners. 

Diverse Work Experience 

As with any profession, some registered nurses may grow bored if they are doing the same type of work day in and day out. Working at an agency exposes nurses to many different healthcare environments, widening their clinical experiences and skills.  


Although agencies can offer less job security and benefits than working at a traditional healthcare facility, agency nurses may be able to recoup this with higher hourly rates than their non-agency peers. This is especially true for facilities that are desperate to fill gaps in staffing during seasons of high demand, holidays, or even serious healthcare crises such as the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

How Do Agency Nurses Differ from Traveling Nurses? 

It depends. Although agency nurses are like traveling nurses in that they both work on a temporary contractual basis, there are significant differences in their employment structures. While traveling nurses do work through travel nursing agencies, their assignments are distinct from agency nurses and not considered the same.  

While agency nurses are called to fill in for short-term absences or staffing shortages within a limited geographical area, traveling nurses typically work assignments that last several months from anywhere around the country or even the world. Because agency nurses are limited to a geographical area, they are often responsible for their housing. In contrast, travel nurses often receive housing and traveling stipends and/or reimbursements from their agency employer. While any registered nurse provides invaluable assistance during patient management and care, agency nurses tend to work in a more “supplemental” role than traveling nurses who may be assigned to specific contracts due to their area(s) of specialty.  

What Qualifications Does an Agency Nurse Need?  

Minnesota Nurse Practice Act 

At a minimum, agency nurses must complete all nursing license prerequisites under the Minnesota Nurse Practice Act. However, many agencies will have additional requirements for nurses to gain employment. After earning their nursing degree and passing the NCLEX examination, agency nurses must apply for a Minnesota state nursing license. In Minnesota, all licensed nurses receive a license through the Nursing Licensure Compact Agreement. This interstate agreement. 

Many, if not all, agencies will also require agency nurses to have some clinical experience before they are sufficient to serve in a supplemental capacity at various facilities. Depending on the area of assignment, agency nurses may also be required to hold additional certifications, such as certificates in Advanced Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Advanced Life Support. 

Although some agencies may provide liability insurance, many agency nurses must carry their professional liability insurance and cover the cost of continuing education units.  

What Additional Skills Makes Someone a Good Agency Nurse Candidate? 

As with any nursing position, some nurses will be more adept at working as agency nurses than others. Although a career in agency nursing may seem less conventional, the career path offers unique challenges and rewards for those who like to thrive in new, changing environments.  

Agency nurses should be adaptable, eager to learn, and can integrate into new assignments effortlessly. Agency nurses must plug into teams and support them in a supplemental role, so they must also have excellent listening and communication skills.  

In addition to being adaptable and flexible, agency nurses typically excel in stress management and confidence. Not only can they easily handle stressful and unfamiliar environments, but they must also have a solid foundation in nursing skills that allows them to approach challenging patient scenarios confidently. This is especially true when considering that agency nurses may not have received the same orientation or training as permanent facility staff.  

Agencies also expect agency nurses to be professional and reliable as they represent both themselves and their agency. Agencies typically look at applicants who demonstrate self-motivation, independence, and advanced organizational skills. Because agency nurses do not receive the same level of support as other staff, they are responsible for managing their various work schedules, locations, licensure requirements, and continuing education requirements - organizational tasks that other nurses may take for granted if their employer offers. 

What Misconduct Allegations Can Threaten My Agency Nursing Career? 

Section 148.261 of the State's Statutes, entitled Grounds for Disciplinary Action, thoroughly addresses the various types of misconduct that can jeopardize your agency nursing career. While any failure to uphold the standards expected of a licensed nursing professional in Minnesota could place your license at risk, there are some forms of misconduct that the Minnesota Board of Nursing will aggressively pursue actions against.   

  • Fraud: Such as obtaining a nursing license through cheating, misleading professional statements, or attempts to undermine a nursing licensure exam. 
  • Criminal Conduct: Recent felony convictions (within the past five years), especially convictions related to medical or osteopathic practice. 
  • Former Disciplinary Actions: Encompasses disciplinary actions undertaken in another state or jurisdiction, such as revocation, suspension, restriction, or limitation of a nursing license. Agency nurses may also face disciplinary conduct for failure to inform the board about charges brought against the person's license in other states or jurisdictions, including instances where they were denied admission to nursing boards.  
  • False or Misleading Advertising: This is the advertising of services in a manner that is false, misleading, or otherwise contradictory to the Minnesota Board of Nursing's rules. Examples could also include unsubstantiated claims of medical performance or excellence or claiming superior skills without evidence. 
  • Harm to the Public: Engaging in any conduct that is likely to harm the public, such as carelessly performing job duties, engaging in medical practices that the provider is not competent enough to complete, and creating unnecessary danger to a patient's health and safety. 
  • Failure to Supervise: Failure to adequately supervise junior nurses or other licensed or unlicensed health care providers when necessary. This also extends to aiding or abetting unlicensed individuals in medicine when a license is required.  
  • Practicing Despite Dangerous Conditions: Practicing medicine despite conditions such as developmental disabilities, mental incompetencies, chemical dependence, deterioration through the aging process, physical disabilities, sexual predator history, including sexual psychopathic personality types. 
  • Negligent Performance: Professional performance that departs from or fails to conform with standards of the nursing profession, including the ability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety. 
  • Improper Management of Medical Records: Such as failure to adequately record patient conditions, information, diagnosis, medication, etc. This also extends to failure to furnish medical records as required by law. 
  • Improper or Unlimited Fee Splitting: Including paying, offering to pay, or agreement to receive payments, including commissions, in a manner disproportionate to the services performed or not properly disclosed as an area of economic interest. Improper payment of fees also includes dispensing drugs, pharmaceuticals, or medical devices for profit, outside of an acceptable partnership, group practice, etc.  
  • Fraudulent Billing Practices: Engaging in fraudulent billing practices such as Medicare or Medicaid billing. 
  • Failure to Comply:  The failure to report professional misconduct of peers or the inability to participate in misconduct investigations.  
  • Sexual misconduct. 

Misconduct Issues That Are Unique to Agency Nurses   

As a registered nurse in Minnesota, you already know that you can face disciplinary consequences and even a potential hearing before the Minnesota Nursing Board for various forms of ethical, professional, and moral misconduct. While the disciplinary process for any registered nurse is complex, the disciplinary process for agency nurses is exceptionally nuanced and characterized by gaps in communication.  

While nurses employed full-time at facilities may be aware that professional misconduct complaints are forthcoming due to conversations with their superiors or hospital administration staff, the communication channels are unclear for agency nurses.  

It's not uncommon for an agency nurse to face disciplinary action without realizing the escalation involved. An agency nurse could be “reassigned” or “removed” from a position at a facility, potentially excluded from conversations between the facility and the agency regarding the nurse's performance. Shortly after, the agency nurses may find themselves dismissed from the agency without further warning, making it impossible for them to sustain their livelihood to accept contracts at other hospitals.  

In fact, agency nurses may be unaware of the pending misconduct violation until the complaint has escalated to a formal investigation by the Minnesota Nursing Board. To avoid this, it's best to seek legal counsel before things escalate all the way to the Board. Often, violations at the agency level may be due to misconceptions, mistakes, or misunderstandings. While investigations and strategic defenses in these situations can be complex enough for a professional to manage, added legal action at the agency and facility level may be necessary to adequately defend the nurse's professional reputation, nursing license, and ability to continue working as an agency nurse.  

The Disciplinary Process for Agency Nurses in Minnesota 

As a nurse in Minnesota, you likely know that your license is issued and governed by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.  

The Complaint Phase  

Under Section 148.262 of the State's statutes, the Minnesota Board of Nursing can deny, revoke, suspend, or otherwise limit an agency nurse's license due to misconduct. The Board only takes such action if they receive a formal complaint from the public, such as patients, employers, staff, etc. After receiving the complaint, the Board must ensure that the entire disciplinary process is executed with Due Process in mind, a legal right afforded to agency nurses under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions that grant them the right to be notified about the allegations against them and present their side of the story before a neutral decision maker.  

The Investigation Phase 

After receiving and reviewing the complaint, the Board will officially investigate the misconduct claims. When a complaint alleges mental or physical incapacity or poses a risk to public health and safety, the Board may automatically suspend a nurse's license throughout the investigation phase.  

During an investigation, the Board may speak to hospital or facility staff and management, review records, talk to agency colleagues, and ask the agency nurse to comply by sharing their side of the story. Failure to “cooperate” with the Board in an investigation, even against oneself, may be grounds for additional professional misconduct violations.  

Stipulations or Settlement Phase 

After completing the investigation, the Board may offer the agency nurse stipulations or a formal settlement offer. These agreements often require the nurse to agree to disciplinary consequences such as fines, suspension periods, or professional education courses. Settlement agreements may be wise depending on the matter involved because they allow the parties to settle the matter outside of a formal hearing, where the consequences issues are undetermined and could be far worse than those posed in the agreement.  


A formal administrative hearing will be held if the parties decide not to proceed with a settlement agreement. The hearing must follow the rules, timelines, and procedures outlined in the Minnesota Administrative Procedure Act. These hearings are typically held within 30 days of receiving notice of the complaint and are operated akin to a small trial. Both parties can present arguments of law and fact, submit evidence for review, and even testify or cross-examine witnesses.  

At the end of the hearing, the administrative law judge or hearing officer will issue a formal decision. Consequences can range from license suspension to revocation and other limitations. Additional orders may include civil fines not exceeding $10,000 for each civil violation and rehabilitation requirements such as ongoing monitoring, reporting, and education.   


After exhausting their administrative options through an administrative hearing, a nurse may want to appeal the hearing officer's decision. It's important to note that appeals are quite demanding and require the experience and strategy of counsel who is well-equipped and familiar with the state's bureaucratic system. Fortunately, our Professional License Defense Team members have successfully navigated nursing appeals for nurses across Minnesota.   

My License Was Revoked. Can I Request a Reissuance? 

Yes. Under Minnesota nursing laws, any person whose license is suspended, limited, or revoked may apply to reinstate their license.  A nurse's license will only be reinstated when the Board, in its discretion, determines that reissuance is warranted. It's important to note that even if the license is reissued, the board requires the applicant to pay the costs of the administrative proceedings for the original disciplinary matter. 

Areas We Serve in Minnesota 

Our Team can help you craft a defense regardless of what nursing agency you are employed with. We provide strategic representation throughout Minnesota, including for nurses employed through Interim HealthCare Staffing or Maxim Services based out of Minneapolis, Interim Healthcare based in Bloomington, or Favorite Healthcare Staffing near Roseville. 


Known as a vibrant and diverse community nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Minneapolis is home to several top-ranked hospitals and medical centers, such as the University of Minnesota Medical Center and Abbott Northwestern Hospital, which are at the forefront of medical research and patient care. The city's growing population and medical research interests lend themselves to a high concentration of healthcare professionals.  

St. Paul 

 Minnesota's capital city, St. Paul, forms the well-known "Twin Cities" with its neighbor Minneapolis. As the state's capital, the city boasts a charming blend of historical Victorian architecture against a modern arts and professional scene. For nursing professionals, the city is home to esteemed medical institutions like Regions Hospital and United Hospital, known for their comprehensive care and advanced medical practices. These hospitals, along with numerous clinics and specialized healthcare facilities, contribute to a robust healthcare system, offering a variety of employment and contract experiences for agency nurses.  


Situated in the southeastern part of the state, Rochester is best known as the home of the world-famous healthcare and research institution Mayo Clinic. For nursing professionals, Rochester presents a remarkable opportunity to work at the cutting edge of medical science and patient treatment. The city also has other medical facilities like St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester Methodist Hospital, and Olmsted Medical Center.  


Duluth caters to various medical areas, from primary care to specialized medical centers. Professionals in the area can also enjoy various outdoor adventures and landmarks in the key port city, creating a serene environment and attractive location for professional agency nurses. Essential medical facilities in the area include St. Luke's Hospital and Essentia Health, both of which are known for their engagement in community health initiatives. 

St. Cloud 

Also situated along the Mississippi River, St. Cloud, Minnesota, boasts a vibrant downtown area, a historic Paramount Theater, and beautiful parks for growing families. Agency nurses in St. Cloud may have contracts with St. Cloud Hospital, The CentraCare Health System. 

How Can the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Help Me? 

Our experienced, diligent, and available Professional License Defense Team has experience navigating the unique and complex license defense of agency nurses. If you were recently let go from a contract without explanation from your agency and are struggling to receive additional assignments, this may be a sign that some misconduct allegations are brewing. We can help communicate with your agency on your behalf and step in before things escalate to the state Board.  

If you are already being investigated by the state Board, we can walk you through the complaint and investigation process, represent you during settlement conversations, and, if necessary, represent you at an administrative hearing by presenting arguments of fact and law that support your defense, submitting and evaluating evidence on your behalf, subpoenaing, and examining witnesses, and conducting cross-examinations.  

If you have already had a hearing and weren't satisfied with your legal defense or represented yourself, let us help you apply for an appeal and/or start working towards a license re-issuance request.  

Contact our Professional License Defense Team Today  

If you're dealing with contract termination, agency dismissal, or a Minnesota Nursing Board investigation,  our experienced Professional License Defense Team can provide the essential support and advocacy you need. Let us help you navigate this challenging situation, defend your case effectively, and protect your nursing career. Contact us today at 888-535-3686 or use our online contact form


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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