We Can Help If Your Missouri Nurse's License Is in Jeopardy
If you are a Missouri-licensed nurse facing disciplinary charges, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento are available to help you defend and defeat those misconduct allegations. Professional license disciplinary proceedings are serious and risky business. Take nursing license disciplinary proceedings seriously. When your Missouri nursing job and career are at risk, don't hire unqualified local criminal defense attorney representation. Instead, call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team to help you address and overcome your Missouri nursing license issues.
Missouri State Board of Nursing License Proceedings
Missouri's State Board of Nursing regularly and frequently censures, suspends, and revokes the licenses. See the dozens if not hundreds of names of disciplined nurses whom the Missouri State Board of Nursing's quarterly newsletters publicly identify. License discipline is nothing unusual for Missouri's State Board of Nursing. Indeed, thousands of nurses nationwide have been facing disciplinary proceedings over allegedly fraudulent nursing credentials in the FBI's nationwide Operation Nightingale. And Missouri's State Board of Nursing disciplines nurses for all kinds of reasons, not just questionable credentials. Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.066 authorizes the Board of Nursing to investigate, discipline, and suspend or revoke the licenses of nurses whom the Board finds have violated any of the Board's many nursing rules and standards by some form of unfit, incompetent, or unprofessional conduct.
Missouri State Board of Nursing Rules and Standards
This page is your summary guide to Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary rules, standards, and procedures. Knowledge is power if you face a Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary charge. For your best disciplinary outcome, you must appreciate both the seriousness of the disciplinary charges you face and the ways in which you can responsibly minimize the risk of actual discipline. Disciplinary charges don't necessarily mean that you've done anything wrong. Disciplinary charges do mean that you face the risk of losing your nursing license, job, and career and that you should take the charges very seriously. Read and follow this guide if Missouri's State Board of Nursing has notified you of its investigation of misconduct allegations against you.
Defend Your Missouri Nursing License
Nursing isn't easy. Nursing practice is demanding physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Nurses must acquire and deploy a substantial knowledge base under strict supervision in extremely fluid professional circumstances with the highest human stakes, in which their patients often face severe disease and disability. And no nurse is perfect. Every nurse faces challenges that test their abilities to the maximum and sometimes beyond. Every nurse has also invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources in their academic and clinical education. Qualifying for and passing the NCLEX to obtain a Missouri State Board of Nursing license as proof that you earned the right and privilege to practice nursing. And your nursing job and career are doubtless earning you valuable income while giving you substantial professional and personal standing.
You know the rewards of your nursing career. Be sure you appreciate the threat to your career from Missouri Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to protect your investment. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now before it is too late to preserve your nursing career.
The Nature of Missouri Board of Nursing Charges
If you take one thing away from reading this guide, appreciate the seriousness of Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. No, the charges are not criminal court charges. You won't face jail time. But in nearly every other respect, Missouri State Board of Nursing charges are very serious charges. The Missouri State Board of Nursing has one overriding purpose, which is to protect patients and the public against unqualified nurses. Under Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.036, the State Board of Nursing has the express duty to examine every applicant for a nursing license and grant a license only to duly qualified applicants who can meet the Board's nursing standards and rules.
Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.066 not only authorizes the Board to investigate nurse misconduct but also to discipline nurses who fail to cooperate with a misconduct investigation. Indeed, Section 335.097 gives the Board the power to compel witness testimony and document production by subpoena in discipline hearings and other matters. Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges have the full force and effect of law. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or online to discuss the defense of your Missouri nursing license against State Board of Nursing charges.
The Stakes of Missouri Nursing License Charges
Missouri participates in the national Nurse Licensure Compact, meaning, as Missouri's State Board of Nursing explains, that your licensure in Missouri qualifies you for practice in the compact's thirty-eight other states. That's the good news of Missouri's Nurse Licensure Compact participation. But if Missouri's State Board of Nursing charges you with nursing misconduct and revokes or suspends your Missouri nursing license, you lose those multistate privileges. And your Missouri nursing license discipline will appear in the Compact's Nursys national database. Your Missouri nursing license's suspension or revocation may well prevent you from practicing nursing in any other Compact state, including many of the nation's most populous states. And your discipline's inclusion in the Nursys national database may mean you won't practice nursing in any other state. You now know the stakes. Do the right thing and retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team today.
What Allegations Put a Missouri Nurse's License at Risk?
Nurses are not alone in facing professional disciplinary charges. Professionals in many different fields inside and outside of the healthcare field face common causes of license issues. But nursing practice brings its own nursing license risks that professionals in most other fields simply do not face. Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.066 lists the grounds on which the State Board of Nursing may suspend or revoke a nursing license or deny the license's renewal. Below is a summary of those literally dozens of grounds, appreciating that virtually any conduct that a nursing supervisor judges to be outside of practice norms could result in disciplinary charges. Retain skilled and experienced professional license defense attorney representation if you face any of the following Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges:
- use or unlawful possession of any controlled substance regardless of impairment;
- use or unlawful possession of any alcoholic beverage to the extent that such use impairs the person's ability to perform nursing work, with a blood alcohol content of at least .08 creating a presumption of impairment;
- conviction of any criminal offense reasonably related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a nurse;
- conviction of any criminal offense, an essential element of which is fraud, dishonesty, or an act of violence, or for any offense involving moral turpitude;
- use of fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or bribery in securing a license or taking an examination necessary for licensure;
- attempting to obtain any nursing fee, charge, or other compensation by fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
- incompetence, gross negligence, or repeated negligence in the performance of the functions or duties of a nurse, with negligence meaning failure to use the skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by a nurse;
- misconduct, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty, unethical conduct, or unprofessional conduct in the performance of nursing functions or duties;
- willfully and continually overcharging or overtreating patients;
- charging for visits which did not occur;
- charging for services which were not rendered or documented in the patient's records;
- attempting by way of intimidation, coercion or deception, to obtain or retain a patient or discourage the use of a second opinion or consultation;
- willfully and continually performing inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, diagnostic tests, or nursing services;
- delegating professional responsibilities to a person who is not qualified by training, skill, competency, age, experience, or licensure to perform such responsibilities;
- performing nursing services beyond the authorized scope of practice for which the individual is licensed in this state;
- exercising influence within a nurse-patient relationship for purposes of engaging a patient in sexual activity;
- being listed on any state or federal sexual offender registry;
- failure of any applicant or licensee to cooperate with the Board during any investigation;
- failure to comply with any subpoena or subpoena duces tecum from the Board or an order of the Board;
- failure to timely pay license renewal fees specified in this chapter;
- violating a probation agreement, order, or other settlement agreement with this Board or any other licensing agency;
- any other conduct that is unethical or unprofessional involving a minor;
- any departure from or failure to conform to nursing standards;
- failure to establish, maintain, or communicate professional boundaries with the patient;
- violating the confidentiality or privacy rights of the patient, resident, or client;
- failing to assess, accurately document, or report the status of a patient, resident, or client, or falsely assessing, documenting, or reporting the status of a patient, resident, or client;
- intentionally or negligently causing physical or emotional harm to a patient, resident, or client;
- failing to furnish appropriate details of a patient's, client's, or resident's nursing needs to succeeding nurses legally qualified to provide continuing nursing services to a patient, client, or resident;
- violation of any professional trust or confidence;
- use of any advertisement or solicitation which is false, misleading, or deceptive to the general public or persons to whom the advertisement or solicitation is primarily directed;
- violation of the drug laws or rules and regulations of this state, any other state, or the federal government;
- failure or refusal to properly guard against contagious, infectious, or communicable diseases or the spread thereof;
- maintaining an unsanitary office or performing professional services under unsanitary conditions;
- failure to report the existence of an unsanitary condition in the office of a physician or in any health care facility to the Board, in writing, within thirty days after the discovery thereof;
- a pattern of personal use or consumption of any controlled substance or any substance which requires a prescription unless it is prescribed, dispensed, or administered by a provider who is authorized by law to do so or a pattern of abuse of any prescription medication;
- habitual intoxication or dependence on alcohol;
- diversion or attempting to divert any medication, controlled substance, or medical supplies; and
- any conduct that constitutes a serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of a patient or the public.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Missouri Nurses?
Again, just because you face Missouri State Board of Nursing disciplinary charges doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong or that you may lose your nursing license. Missouri, like other states, must afford constitutional due process to nurses who face the potential loss of their license because their license represents a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest. An investigatory and adjudicatory process gives you a chance to save your Missouri nurse's license against disciplinary charges. Missouri's State Board of Nursing doesn't have its own administrative procedure for investigating and determining disciplinary charges. Instead, under Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.066.3, the State Board of Nursing approves or disapproves of the disciplinary determination that a state administrative hearing commission makes. The administrative hearing commission follows these procedures when deciding the professional fate of a nurse or other professional appearing before the commission on disciplinary charges.
Missouri Administrative Commission Nursing Complaints
Under Revised Missouri Statute Section 621.100, the administrative hearing commission receives reviews, and formally accepts complaints against nurses. The commission serves the complaint on the accused nurse with a notice that the nurse must timely respond in writing. If you receive a Missouri administrative hearing commission complaint charging you with nursing misconduct, do not attempt to answer the complaint on your own. Instead, retain skilled and experienced professional license defense representation to assist you in filing a timely, accurate, and complete answer that raises all of your affirmative defenses. Answering a complaint effectively requires legal knowledge and skill. Get the help you need. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team.
Missouri Administrative Commission Hearing on Nursing Charges
Under Revised Missouri Statute Section 621.100, the administrative commission hears the complaint against the nurse. The hearing is before a commission officer who ensures that the commission makes a record of the hearing. The commission's representative and the nurse's retained license defense attorney may each present evidence, including witness testimony, while challenging the other side's evidence. The commission hearing ensures your opportunity to have your attorney present your exonerating and mitigating evidence. Don't attempt to conduct the hearing on your own. Nurses generally lack the legal and procedural knowledge and the advocacy skills to make effective tribunal presentations. Nor do nurses generally have the cross-examination skill to contest the other side's evidence.
Missouri Nursing Board Review of Administrative Commission Decisions
Under Revised Missouri Statute Section 621.110, the administrative commission's hearing officer forwards the officer's decision and the hearing record to the Missouri State Board of Nursing. The officer determines whether misconduct occurred and, if so, what discipline the Board should adopt. But the officer's recommendation does not bind the Board, which instead makes its own decision, as Section 621.110 provides. Section 621.110 expressly grants a nurse facing discipline the right to request a second hearing, effectively an appeal, before the Board. Section 621.110 also gives you, the charged nurse, the right to present evidence directly before the Board. In effect, Missouri rules give you and your retained license defense attorney two chances at exonerating you or mitigating any sanction, provided that you request each hearing.
Missouri State Board of Nursing Consent Agreements
In certain types of cases, Missouri's State Board of Nursing may enter into a non-disciplinary consent agreement with a nurse facing disciplinary charges. Under Revised Missouri Statute Section 335.067, the Board may approve a voluntary dismissal of charges relating to substance use and abuse if the nurse agrees to a plan and program of treatment. The Board may exercise other general authority to dismiss pending disciplinary proceedings on conditions to which the nurse agrees. Do not, though, enter into a consent agreement with the State Board of Nursing without consulting the Lento Law Firm's skilled and experienced Professional License Defense Team. While consent agreements can, for the moment, avoid discipline, their terms may prevent the nurse from practicing or limit practice for a substantial time. Consent agreements can also set a nurse up for failure if their terms are unduly burdensome or subjective, or the nurse faces another substantial risk of not being able to comply. Get qualified help before entering into any proposed consent agreement.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in Missouri
The above summary of the procedures of the Missouri administrative hearing commission and Missouri State Board of Nursing is simply an outline of much more detailed procedures. Those administrative procedures can challenge and confuse any professional, especially one facing daunting disciplinary charges. The other thing to know about administrative disciplinary procedures, beyond their subtlety, strategic nature, and complexity, is that they give Missouri disciplinary officials substantial advantages over the nurses who must appear before them. Those state officials do not have to prove professional disciplinary charges beyond a reasonable doubt, as a prosecutor would generally have to prove criminal charges. Instead, Missouri law permits a professional discipline under a mere preponderance of the evidence standard. That standard means that you could face the loss of your nursing license even if you have substantial evidence in defense if the state has just a little more evidence. Don't take on the challenge of your nursing license defense on your own or with unqualified counsel. Instead, trust the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for the best possible outcome.
How a Nursing License Defense Attorney Helps in Missouri
Missouri's State Board of Nursing must protect patients and the public. But nurses and other professionals may have several favorable options to present to disciplinary officials showing those officials that discipline is unnecessary to achieve the Board's public-protection objective. Your retained Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help you take a firm and clear but also sensitive and strategic approach to your Missouri nursing license disciplinary charges. That approach will depend on your specific case. But the services your Lento Law Firm defense attorney provides may include:
- helping you respond to an investigation even before any formal charges result;
- help you timely answer any charges, including raising all appropriate defenses;
- proactively gather, organize, and present your defense evidence during the investigation;
- proactively present your evidence in your answer, in settlement conferences, in pre-hearing conferences, and at the formal hearing itself;
- challenge the Board's incriminating evidence with cross-examination of witnesses and other advocacy skills;
- create opportunities to meet, communicate, and negotiate with state disciplinary officials to explore win-win resolutions;
- help you evaluate settlement offers and consent agreements;
- help you appeal adverse decisions; and
- help you communicate with your employer about the disciplinary charges to help you retain your employment pending the outcome.
License Defense Team for Missouri Nursing Charges
Retain the best professional license defense attorney team available in Missouri, whether you are a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse midwife, advanced practice nurse, or clinical nurse specialist. Don't risk your nursing job and career, which have substantial value not only to you but also to your family, employer, and community. Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your best outcome to Missouri nursing disciplinary charges. Many nurses and other healthcare professionals nationwide have trusted the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to defend and defeat disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.