Nurses are a life-saving commodity in New Hampshire, a state plagued by an “acute workforce shortage.” Nurses occupy several vital roles, administering emergency treatment, assisting physicians, dispensing medication, and serving as the do-it-all cog in the state's healthcare system. Yet, nurses are vulnerable to license sanctions that threaten their livelihoods.
If you face any allegation that jeopardizes your nursing license, a Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm will assist you. Our firm's attorneys have dealt with the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, and we have helped many nurses overcome serious licensure issues.
A mere accusation of wrongdoing—even an unfounded one—puts your reputation, job, and career in the crosshairs. Take the matter seriously and retain a legal team that will fight relentlessly to resolve your license-related problem as efficiently as possible.
What Powers Does the New Hampshire Board of Nursing Wield?
The New Hampshire Board of Nursing is a subset of the New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification. The Board regulates:
● Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
● Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA)
● Medication Nursing Assistant (MNA)
● Registered Nurse (RN)
● Nursing Instructor
Real-world decisions issued by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing prove that the Board will take significant disciplinary action if it feels such action is justifiable. In 2023, for example, nurses in New Hampshire faced:
● Emergency license suspension
● Agreements that the nurse will discontinue practicing
● Voluntary surrender of license
● Involuntary surrender of license
● Revocation of license
N.H. Code Admin. R. Nur § 402.04 notes that immediate license suspensions are sometimes permitted, but in most cases, the Board must grant you the opportunity for a hearing and settlement negotiations before taking punitive action. If the Board has violated these or any other of your rights, we will consider the appropriate legal response.
What Happens If the Nursing Board Takes Action Against My Nursing License?
If the New Hampshire Board of Nursing takes any disciplinary action against you, the consequences of its decision will likely permeate both your professional and personal lives. The consequences of a license suspension or revocation may be especially serious and may cause:
● The loss of your current job
● The loss of future employment opportunities
● The de facto end to your nursing career (as some nurses are unable to overcome serious sanctions that permanently stain their reputation)
● Significant financial hardship due to the loss of your income or diminished earning power
● Severe mental health difficulties, as the wide-ranging effects of professional discipline can cause substantial stress
Even if the formal sanctions issued by the Board are temporary, the practical effects of the sanctions could be long-lasting. You may also face hurdles to reinstate your license and prove that you are employable, either in New Hampshire or elsewhere.
You may also face stigma from others who view sanctions as an indication of your responsibility for alleged wrongdoing.
The (Imperfect) New Hampshire Board of Nursing Will Oversee Disciplinary Proceedings
The New Hampshire Board of Nursing possesses great power to dictate a nurse's reputation and ability to practice. However, this Board is composed of humans who are prone to bias, preconceived notions, and judgment errors. The Board does not always rule fairly or properly, so it is vital that you present the strongest possible defense of your license and reputation.
Without an attorney from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team leading your defense, you may be vulnerable to:
● Violation of your right to due process
● A finding of responsibility that does not meet the burden of proof
● Biased Board members
● A disciplinary decision based on incomplete or inaccurate information
● Excessive or otherwise inappropriate discipline
● Other adverse outcomes that our firm's attorneys may be able to prevent
Among our firm's responsibilities is ensuring the disciplinary body has complete information, you retain all of your legally-bestowed rights, and the final decision is a fair one that reflects the totality of evidence, testimony, and information.
The Consequences of License Discipline May Extend Beyond New Hampshire
The Nursys database is a storage house for a wide range of information about nurses. You may already be aware of this database and know that:
● State nursing boards provide information about nurses, including disciplinary history, to the administrators of the Nursys database
● Licensing boards, employers, and other influential figures in the medical community routinely rely on the Nursys database to make pivotal hiring, licensing, and disciplinary decisions
● The Nursys database has largely eliminated fragmentation between state nursing boards, meaning that there is little chance a disciplinary action in New Hampshire will go unnoticed by licensing boards or prospective employers in another state
New Hampshire participates in the Nursys database, meaning that any disciplinary action against you will become accessible to medical providers throughout the United States. This interconnectivity presents substantial ramifications for your ability to gain future employment, either in New Hampshire or another state.
With this being said, the Nursys database is not perfect. Certain information on the database may be incomplete, misleading, inaccurate, or subject to interpretation. For example, a prospective employer may only see that you received sanctions—not the detailed story behind those sanctions, which may be less serious than they assume.
It's Best to Keep Your Nursys Record Clean
Having a disciplinary record on the Nursys database constitutes exponential harm. Rather than being able to explain the nuanced circumstances of a license sanction in New Hampshire, prospective employers may disqualify you before you're granted the chance to interview.
We say this to reiterate the importance of defending yourself today. If you do not retain one of our firm's attorneys to present a robust defense, you may find that your failure to avoid sanctions comes back to haunt you repeatedly.
Reasons Why New Hampshire Nurses Face Discipline
N.H. Code Admin. R. Nur § 402.04 details 17 primary offenses that may warrant the discipline of a nurse in New Hampshire. Because medicine is such a high-risk profession, nurses typically receive little leeway or margin for error in their day-to-day work—however, this doesn't mean that every mistake warrants a heavy-handed punishment.
In many cases where a nurse faces possible discipline, accusations are merely alleged. You should not face discipline for any of the following offenses unless the New Hampshire Nursing Board determines your responsibility beyond the burden of proof.
Some of the more common reasons for nurse license sanctions in New Hampshire include allegations of:
Legal proceedings could lead to professional disciplinary proceedings if you are accused, charged, or convicted of a criminal offense. You may even face an emergency suspension of your license, especially if an alleged criminal act (such as driving under the influence) calls your judgment into question.
Since 2018, New Hampshire legislatures have passed protections for N.H. Rev. Stat. § 332-G:13 limits discrimination against license applicants with criminal histories. Even if you are convicted of a criminal offense while practicing nursing, you do not necessarily face automatic license-related sanctions.
Misuse of a Medical Provider's Property
You may face licensing sanctions if you are accused of:
● Stealing medical items from your workplace
● Using work-related items (such as medications) for personal means
● Borrowing work-related items in an unauthorized manner
● Breaking any other laws or rules related to the use of employer-provided property
Even seemingly minor offenses or genuine mistakes (like forgetting you have work-related items in your possession when you leave work) could trigger a disciplinary process.
N.H. Code Admin. R. Nur § 501.02 and 501.03 list several offenses that qualify as “unprofessional conduct.” A nurse may be accused of unprofessionalism if they are alleged to:
● Have an unpleasant interaction with a superior, colleague, or patient
● Use profane or otherwise inappropriate language in a work setting
● Place any other consideration ahead of patient safety
● Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a work setting or in any manner that impedes their work
● Break the general standards of moral, ethical, and professional conduct for a nurse
“Unprofessional” is a fairly subjective term, which means you may face serious disciplinary consequences for a mere disagreement, unfair perception of your behavior, or other non-malicious conduct.
Deceit in the Educational or Credentialing Processes
You may face sanctions if you are accused of obtaining or renewing your degree or license through fraudulent or deceptive means, which could include:
● Lying about any criminal history you may have
● Misrepresenting where you studied
● Misrepresenting your grades or test scores
● Misrepresenting your nursing experience or credentials
Mistakes happen when someone is seeking to become a nurse or obtain a specific position. In other cases, the desire to enter the nursing profession prompts lapses in judgment. In either case, a mistake in the educational or licensing process does not have to be the end of your nursing career.
Lack of Technical Skills or General Unfitness for Nursing
You could face license-relate sanctions if the New Hampshire Board of Nursing alleges that you:
● Lack the demeanor to interact regularly with patients
● Do not have the requisite knowledge to perform nursing duties
● Lack the physical ability to meet the demands of nursing
● Have any other shortcoming that makes you unfit to nurse, either temporarily or indefinitely
Such allegations can arise from a single moment that is out of character for you, such as a suboptimal interaction with a patient on a day when you were not at your best. An attorney from our firm can put any such incident in proper context as we work to protect your license.
The List of Sanctionable Offenses Is Long and Complex
The above-listed offenses are only a modest portion of the actions or failures that can trigger disciplinary proceedings for a nurse in New Hampshire. Many of the offenses listed in New Hampshire's laws governing occupations and professions may be easy to overlook, yet can lead to life-altering consequences if they come to the nursing board's attention.
On a day-to-day basis, a nurse's priorities typically involve:
1. Ensuring that patients receive the care they need
2. Tending to emergency medical situations
3. Responding to the demands and requests of superiors and colleagues
4. Ensuring that they have the equipment and items necessary to provide high-quality care
5. Ensuring that their medical facility is operating as smoothly and efficiently as possible
If a nurse adheres faithfully to these duties, they (and most observers) would believe they are doing their job to the expected standard. On top of these important professional duties, nurses have personal responsibilities that they must also balance.
Nursing boards do not always view your responsibilities in the same way. These boards are often concerned with the letter of laws and regulations, down to the most minute detail. You could find your license at stake if you violate the most technical or inconsequential aspect of New Hampshire's nursing rules (or are merely accused of a violation).
You must take any disciplinary matter seriously, even if you believe the New Hampshire Board of Nursing is making a mountain out of a molehill or treating you unfairly.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Nurses in New Hampshire?
If you have received notice of a complaint or investigation that could threaten your license, now is the time to begin preparation. The disciplinary process for nurses in New Hampshire generally involves:
A Complaint or Board-Initiated Action
The New Hampshire Board of Nursing can initiate an investigation into a nurse:
1. On its own volition
2. Upon receipt of a complaint against a nurse
If the Board has any reason to suspect misconduct or other reasons for an investigation, it can launch the disciplinary process.
Chapter 326-B of the New Hampshire Nurse Practice Act details how the Board investigates alleged misconduct and completes disciplinary hearings. You should know that:
1. Representatives of the New Hampshire Board of Nursing will investigate alleged misconduct or other reasons for the disciplinary proceedings
2. The investigation and information gleaned during the investigation are a matter of private record
3. If it deems necessary, the Board may disclose information gleaned during the investigation to law enforcement officials
The Board has broad discretion over how to conduct the investigation. It has a right to subpoena your records as a caregiver and anyone whose insight may aid in the investigation.
It is pivotal that you protect yourself during the process—otherwise, the Board's broad investigative powers may lead to a violation of your rights. You can retain a Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team to guide you through the investigative process.
If the New Hampshire Board of Nursing reviews your case and determines that disciplinary proceedings are necessary, it will provide a copy of the allegations against you. You and your employer will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint in writing within 15 business days of receiving the complaint.
The Board may schedule a public adjudicative hearing, giving you at least 15 days' notice. As is often the case with disciplinary hearings, yours may involve:
● The presentation of both favorable and unfavorable evidence
● The presentation of any witnesses whose insights are relevant to the hearing
● Oral arguments by your attorney, including a direct defense against any claims you face
You have the right to have one of our firm's attorneys represent you during this hearing process. Following the hearing, the Board will convene and issue its decision in writing within a reasonable time.
At any time during the disciplinary process, the New Hampshire Board of Nursing can pause proceedings to negotiate a consent order with the nurse or their counsel.
If you agree to a consent order, you generally:
● Accept fault for some or all of the allegations you face
● Negotiate specific sanctions
● Accept the sanctions voluntarily
● Immediately begin serving the penalties you have accepted
Consent agreements are a way to avoid the risk of severe sanctions. For example, you may accept a temporary suspension of your license because you fear that, if your case proceeds to the hearing stage, you might face the permanent revocation of your license.
Chapter 326-B, Section 326-B:39 of the New Hampshire Nurse Practice Act explains that anyone disciplined by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing can appeal for a rehearing within 30 days of receiving a disciplinary decision.
Reasons to Hire a Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm
Though each nurse who faces a disciplinary proceeding in New Hampshire is dealing with a unique set of circumstances and challenges, there are common reasons to hire one of our firm's attorneys, which include:
● The high stakes of nurse license defense cases: No matter the specifics of why you're facing the disciplinary process, losing your defense could come with life-changing ramifications. Even if the worst-case outcome is a reprimand, this is a blemish on your record that could stand in the way of future employment opportunities, earnings, and professional aspirations.
● The complexity of defending a nursing license: Any license defense process can be complicated, but nurse license defense comes with several considerable challenges. Not only must we understand the nuances of the adjudication process, but we must also understand the medical jargon, facility protocols, and other medical concepts related to your case. We will work to become well-versed in your case and may work with medical professionals to analyze the technical aspects of the allegations you face.
● The time and energy demands your defense will require: Whether or not you continue to practice nursing during the disciplinary process, you may be occupied with professional obligations and your personal life. Few nurses have the necessary time to dedicate to building their defense against license sanctions.
● The unique, experience-based perspective an attorney from our firm will provide: Because we have resolved many nurse license defense cases, we offer a degree of experience and real-world problem-solving acumen you may not possess. We encourage you to lean on our experience to the benefit of your defense.
● The peace of mind that hiring a competent license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm may afford you: Having a capable lawyer to bounce questions off, provide assurance, and build your defense may be immensely reassuring during a difficult time in your life.
Then there is the most obvious reason for hiring one of our firm's attorneys—you want to protect your license and continue nursing without interruption. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case in New Hampshire.
How Our Firm Will Assist with Your Nurse License Defense in New Hampshire
Our Professional Licenses Defense Team will perform several high-value services on your behalf, tailoring our defense to your specific case. We are prepared to:
● Accompany you to all interviews, hearings, and other case-related appointments
● Organize all evidence, witness testimony, expert testimony, and other elements of your case
● Manage correspondence with the New Hampshire Board of Nursing
● Negotiate a consent order, if it is necessary in your case
● Negotiate with the legal counsel for the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, as their lawyers may have the capacity to resolve your case in a more favorable manner than the Board would
● Oversee any necessary appeals process
When we agree to defend your nursing license in New Hampshire, we're by your side until we obtain a resolution.
We Represent Nurses Working for Medical Providers Throughout New Hampshire
The Lento Law Firm is familiar with many medical providers in New Hampshire, including:
● Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, NH)
● Catholic Medical Center (Manchester, NH)
● Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (Lebanon, NH)
● Cheshire Medical Center (Keene, NH)
● Elliot Hospital (Manchester, NH)
● Southern New Hampshire Medical Center (Nashua, NH)
● Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (Dover, NH)
If your employer is not on this list, we can aid in your defense. Any nurse who is facing career-altering sanctions should turn to an attorney from our firm for help.
Call the Lento Law Firm Today to Discuss Fighting for Your Nursing License in New Hampshire
Few concerns could be more important if you face allegations that could lead to license sanctions. Let our Professional License Defense Team make your defense our priority.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to discuss our license defense services.