As a Nevada agency nurse, your job is likely gratifying but challenging. The physical demands, long hours and drives, and constant bouncing around from facility to facility can be absolutely exhausting. On top of that, you don't usually get the same benefits as staff nurses. While often underappreciated, you always work your hardest to protect the health and safety of your patients, prioritizing their needs over your own. With such an unwavering commitment to your patients, it is extremely upsetting to learn that you are facing disciplinary action against your professional license.
You always face stressful situations at work, but having disciplinary action brought against your agency nurse license is different. Not knowing how to respond emotionally or logistically is completely normal. You are likely wondering how the disciplinary process works. Who will be involved? Do allegations mean you have already been found guilty? What are the consequences? How do you defend yourself?
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is here to help. We can answer all these questions and more. Our Professional License Defense Team attorneys are well-versed in disciplinary actions against agency nurses in Nevada. We will walk you through the whole process, build your defense and all possible outcomes, and vigorously defend your license. We understand how hard you have worked, how much time and money you have put into becoming an agency nurse, and how much your career means to you. Let us fight for you; call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to retain our Professional License Defense Team.
Nevada Agency Nurse Regulatory Body
The Nevada State Board of Nursing is the government agency in charge of protecting the Nevada public from unsafe practices by its nurses. The Board of Nursing's mission is "to protect the public's health, safety and welfare through effective nursing regulation." The Board of Nursing is charged with licensing, certifying, and disciplining over 30,000 nurses across the state of Nevada. The Board of Nursing's duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Establishing minimum practice standards
- Approving schools of nursing and nursing assistant training programs
- Adopting exams for licensing and certification
- Licensing registered nurses and licensed practical nurses
- Developing and adopting regulations
- Approving education and training programs for ongoing nurse competency
- Investigating complaints against nurses and nursing assistants
- Conducting disciplinary proceedings
- Administering programs for nurses recovering from chemical dependency
- Publishing, distributing, and providing educational information on the Nurse Practice Act
The Board of Nursing oversees all registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), advanced practice registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. It maintains an online database that allows the public to verify whether an individual holds an active nursing license or certification and whether any disciplinary actions have been taken against their license.
If disciplinary action is being taken against your agency nurse license, the Board of Nursing will be responsible for investigating the complaint and the disciplinary proceedings and ultimately deciding if punishment is warranted and what such punishment will be.
Nevada State Board of Nursing Relevant Laws and Standards
The Board of Nursing has the authority to make rules for performing all its duties listed above. It has been given this authority under the Nevada Nursing Practice Act (every state in the country is required to adopt its own version of the Nursing Practice Act). The law details the professional, ethical, and legal standards of care nurses must adhere to, as well as training and licensure requirements.
Nevada Agency Nurse Disciplinary Charges
Whether you have been accused of a violation wholly unrelated to patient care or accused of harming a patient, you should treat all charges with the utmost seriousness. Just because an allegation has been made against you does not mean you have been found guilty of anything. The Board of Nursing will need proof that the allegations are true and follow an extensive procedure before anything can happen to your agency nurse license. The Lento Law Firm is here to walk you through the allegations against you, the possible outcomes, and the plan for dismissing your case or receiving a lesser punishment.
Nevada Agency Nurse License Disciplinary Actions
When the Board of Nursing receives an allegation of a Nursing Practice Act violation against you, it will take the allegation seriously. While your Lento Law Firm attorney can best walk you through the process and procedures, cases will follow some variation of this timeline:
Potential misconduct will come to the attention of the Board of Nursing through the form of a complaint. A complaint is an incident report alleging that you, a registered agency nurse, have potentially violated the Nevada Nursing Practice Act. Complaints should be written, including submission through the Nevada Complaint Portal. When filing a complaint, the person will be asked to include the nurse's information, patient information (if a complaint relates to a specific patient), witness information, and supporting documentation. There are no restrictions on who can file a complaint against you.
Under the Nevada Nursing Practice Act, some people are required to report violations of the law in writing to the Board of Nursing. Some of the people who are required to report are individuals providing medical services who are licensed in the state of Nevada, law enforcement personnel, social workers, and medical administrators. There are also voluntary reporters who have no obligation to file a complaint against you but are compelled to for some other reasons. When a voluntary reporter files a report in good faith, they are immune from civil liability for reporting the violation.
When the Board of Nursing receives a complaint, its staff and legal counsel will review it to determine if the information and evidence submitted warrant an investigation. At this stage, the Board of Nursing isn't looking to determine guilt or innocence; they are asking, "If this information was true, would the nurse in question have potentially violated the Nurse Practice Act?" If so, the Board of Nursing will assign an investigator and open a case.
The Board of Nursing investigators are comprised of registered nurses and other professionals with extensive experience in investigative procedures and analysis. Their expertise does not have to be specific to nursing. Investigators are independent fact-gatherers; their only job is to collect as much information as possible regarding the allegations against you. They are not solely seeking information supporting the allegation; the investigator is seeking all the relevant information. The investigator's role is not to determine your guilt or innocence.
When an investigation has been opened against you, you will receive notification that a complaint has been filed and an investigation has started. This notification will be sent to you by certified mail and contain the name of the person who filed the complaint and the allegations against you. This document must inform you of your legal rights to respond to the allegation and obtain legal counsel. It will also detail the disciplinary actions the Board of Nursing has the authority to impose and the potential financial costs of a hearing.
The moment you receive notice of an investigation, you should hire legal representation from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. You cannot afford to make any missteps in responding to the allegations against you.
During this time, the assigned Board of Nursing investigator will gather and review documents. The investigator has the authority to obtain subpoenas for documents not voluntarily provided. Documents that may require subpoenas include personnel files and patient records. The assigned investigator will also be conducting interviews. All information the Board of Nursing gathers during its investigation is private and cannot be disclosed publicly.
It is essential to have your Lento Law Firm attorney respond to the complaint notification against you. This will provide your side of the story, documentation, evidence, and witnesses to the investigator. Once you have retained counsel from our Professional License Defense Team, you cannot speak to the investigator directly, and they also cannot contact you directly. Only your attorney will be permitted to correspond with the investigator. If you have any questions for the investigator, ask your attorney.
Once the investigator has completed collecting and reviewing your case materials, they will present the evidence for an internal review. The investigators may choose to close the complaint at this time and will send you a notification of case closure. If they pursue the complaint further, it will be referred to the Board of Nursing's Director of Nursing Practice, its Executive Director, and its general counsel for further investigation.
Before proceeding with a hearing on the allegations against you, you will have the option for your Lento Law Firm attorney to negotiate a settlement agreement between you and the Board of Nursing. Settlement negotiations are not required, and you do not have to participate.
Settlement negotiations will typically involve admitting you have violated the Nevada Nurse Practice Act and detailing the disciplinary action to be taken against you. This generally requires agreeing to some sort of remedial action on your part, such as taking additional training or completing a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. You must complete the requirements detailed in the settlement agreement in the amount of time agreed upon, or you will face additional disciplinary action from the Board of Nursing, and this time around, they may not be as forgiving.
When you have accepted the settlement agreement, it will be presented in front of the entire Board of Nursing at its next available meeting. The Board of Nursing can choose to accept or reject the agreement. If it is rejected, you can either renegotiate or move forward with a hearing. If the Board of Nursing accepts the agreement, the disciplinary action will be published in the Board of Nursing's Disciplinary Action List. In addition to being published on the Disciplinary Action List, the Board of Nursing will submit the action to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and potentially other national databases such as the National Practioner Data Bank. These databases distribute notices of disciplinary action to all state nursing boards. This means that the disciplinary action will be visible if you apply for licensure or certification in another state and may impact your ability to obtain a license or certificate.
If you choose not to participate in a settlement agreement or are unable to come to a resolution through the settlement negotiation process, you can request a formal hearing. Once you have made this request, the Board of Nursing's general counsel will file formal charges against you using a document called an Administrative Complaint and Notice of Hearing. This document will include the date and logistical information about your upcoming hearing. It must be sent to you at least 21 business days before the scheduled date of your hearing.
While this isn't a court proceeding, you need to treat it with the same level of seriousness; if you don't follow the rules to the T, you could easily lose your agency nursing license on a technicality. There are timelines for your responses and rules for what evidence you can submit and how.
At your hearing, the general counsel will present its case to the Board of Nursing; seven members of the Board of Nursing are present at the hearing and will decide your case. Your Lento Law Firm attorney will then argue your defense. Through this process, both sides can call and cross-examine witnesses. Members of the Board of Nursing will ask any questions about the case during the hearing. After the hearing is completed, the Board of Nursing will make its decision and issue an order.
The Board of Nursing will notify you of its decision on the day of your hearing. You will either have your complaint dismissed or face disciplinary action. You will later receive a document with a full write-up of the decision and punishment mailed to you; this document is called the Finding of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order.
Disciplinary actions can vary drastically based on the nature and severity of the violation. When determining the punishment for a violation, the Board of Nursing asks, "What is needed to make this nurse safe to practice again?" The Board of Nursing has the authority to issue citations, fines, reprimands, probations, suspensions, and revocations. If you are found guilty of a violation, the Board of Nursing can also require that you pay the costs of the investigation and hearing.
Further, your disciplinary action will be published in the Board of Nursing's Disciplinary Action List and in other relevant databases. One of these databases is Nursys, a national licensure and disciplinary database for nurses. The Nursys database provides licensure verification and disciplinary action for RNs and LPNs. Anyone can access the database, including employers and the public. There is almost no chance that a potential employer will not search for you within the Nursys database in the employment process. Any disciplinary actions against you will be impossible to hide.
If you disagree with the Board of Nursing's determination, you have the legal right to an appeal. It may be that you went through with your hearing without representation from legal counsel, but under no circumstance should you appeal without assistance from a skilled professional license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm. Keep in mind there is a very limited time frame for which you can submit an appeal, and the appeal will require the filing of specific documents. If you do not follow these procedures, you will lose your right to an appeal. The Lento Law Firm attorneys are well-versed in appeals timelines and processes.
Our Team frequently joins cases at the appeal stage; we will do everything in our power to ensure that the disciplinary actions taken against you are not upheld. While it might feel like the Board of Nursing's determination is final and an appeal won't change that, it is not uncommon for our attorneys to get you a better outcome on appeal.
Allegations That Can Lead to Actions Against Your Agency Nursing License
Many different actions can result in an agency nurse facing disciplinary action before the Board of Nursing. Acts which are grounds for denial, revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary action to your agency nurse license include, but are not limited to:
- You have used fraud or deceit to obtain your agency nurse license
- You are guilty of any offense involving moral turpitude
- You are guilty of any offense related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of your agency nurse license
- Use of controlled substances
- Use of alcohol in a manner that impairs your ability to practice nursing
- You are found guilty of unprofessional conduct
- You have been practicing negligently
- Physical, verbal, or psychological abuse of a patient
- Falsifying an entry on a patient's chart concerning controlled substances
- Falsifying prescriber information to obtain controlled substances
- You have engaged in conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or endanger a patient or the general public
- You have practiced beyond the scope of your agency nurse license
Consequences of Disciplinary Action Against Your Agency Nursing License
The consequences of disciplinary action on your license can be life-altering. Losing your agency nurse license will undoubtedly change your life, at minimum economically, when you lose your livelihood and ability to work in your field. There are more than just economic consequences; your reputation in the medical community and amongst your friends and family can be compromised as well. When you fight for your agency nurse license, you are fighting for more than just your job; you are fighting for the financial protection of those you love and continued respect for your community.
Why You Need the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team
Professional license defense attorneys are unique in that they work specifically with licensed professionals facing disciplinary actions. What you don't want when your license is on the line is an attorney or law firm outside this scope. You cannot afford to have ineffective counsel when this much is at stake. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will fight to protect your rights through every step of the disciplinary process and ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case. The Board of Nursing has no shortage of resources when building its case against you, and you need to come to the fight with your own army, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team.
Areas We Serve in Nevada
The Lento Law Firm has fought for agency nurses in disciplinary actions throughout the state of Nevada. While our Team often works in larger areas, including Las Vegas, Henderson, and Reno, we can work with you regardless of where in Nevada you are located. The Professional License Defense Team has represented agency nurses working in different settings, from hospitals to in-home care. Many of the agency nurses we have represented have come from placements in Nevada's largest hospitals and healthcare systems, including Carson-Tahoe Health System, Renown Health, and Intermountain Medical Holdings Nevada.
The Professional License Defense Team for Nevada Agency Nurses
No matter the allegation against you and your agency nurse license, the Lento Law Firm will work tirelessly to maintain your good name and your license. Our Team appreciates everything you do for the community, and we want to ensure you can continue providing the best care possible and keep your livelihood. To retain the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team, call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online today.