Nurse License Defense in Alabama

Registered nurses work as hard in Alabama as in any other state. However, qualified and hardworking nurses often find themselves facing complaints and investigations, owing to the strict disciplinary and licensure-related regulations in Alabama.

Any allegation, whether it is fair or unfair, could lead to an investigation and subsequent sanctions, seriously impacting your career in the long term. Nurses who are honest and diligent and carry out their duties responsibly may consider themselves safe from disciplinary sanctions. However, a simple misunderstanding or mistake can lead to a disciplinary incident that has a long-term impact on your practice.

If you have had a complaint registered against you or are facing sanctions, do not try to fight the allegations by yourself. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will be able to help you ensure you put up a strong and convincing defense and avoid losing your license temporarily or permanently.

Call us at 888-535-3686 or share your details online, and we will contact you.

Sanctions and Punitive Measures Nurses in Alabama May Face

Healthcare professionals have jobs of great responsibility, as the health and well-being of their patients depends upon them. Which is why they are also expected to adhere to very strict standards of behavior and professionalism. The Alabama Nurse Practice Act and the Alabama Board of Nursing Administrative Code lay out some of the rules and regulations that govern the behavior of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in Alabama.

Nurses who fail to carry out their professional duties to an adequate standard, are found to be intoxicated at work, have previous convictions they have failed to disclose, or are found to have acted in unprofessional ways, can face complaints, investigations, and sanctions. In Alabama, these sanctions include:

  • Formal reprimand
  • A fine
  • Refusal to issue or renew a license
  • Suspension of license
  • Revocation of license (with or without the option to apply for reinstation after one year)

Aside from the sanction itself, being faced with an investigation can drastically hurt your career. It could limit employment opportunities when potential employers find out you have been subject to disciplinary action, erode patients' trust, hurt earning potential, end in termination from your current job, or expose you to future misunderstandings and mistrust as a nurse practitioner.

Moreover, losing your license temporarily or permanently is a huge waste of the time, effort and money you have put into your training and career.

Facing Sanctions When You Are Not at Fault

Very understandably, nurses and other medical professionals feel that being in the right will protect them against license-related sanctions. But unfortunately, that is not usually the case. There is a lot of room for misunderstanding, and when a complaint is made against a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, the Board tends to be a little biased towards the complainant.

Without strong evidence, and a clear defense strategy, you may find yourself facing sanctions even if you feel you haven't done anything wrong.

This is why retaining legal counsel can change the outcome of your case. The experienced team of attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have years of experience dealing with licensure boards, and know exactly how they operate. They understand that boards may not always be able to undertake a thorough investigation and unearth all the facts of a case – which may work against the medical professional whose license is in question.

With a targeted defense strategy, our Professional License Defense Team can help you clearly present all the pertinent facts and evidence that prove your innocence, and help you obtain a favorable outcome.

Potential Grounds for Sanctions Against Alabama Nurses

When an official complaint is filed against a nurse in Alabama, the Alabama Board of Nursing is required to investigate it, and either dismiss the complaint or impose sanctions as laid out in the rules. As complaints can arise from anywhere and at any time, it can be difficult to adequately defend yourself, especially without evidence or documentation in your favor.

The Alabama Board of Nursing takes disciplinary action against nurses who have been found responsible for any of the following behaviors:

  • Patient abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Improper documentation
  • Fraudulent documentation
  • Professional boundary violation
  • Violation of patient rights, privacy or confidentiality
  • Unprofessional conduct while interacting with coworkers or employers
  • Unprofessional behavior and conduct with patients
  • Drug use and impairment at work
  • Drug theft
  • Wilful or repeated violations of the Nurse Practice Act
  • Failure to report illegal or unethical nursing practices
  • Impersonation of a licensed practitioner or a licensure applicant

These are not the only reasons why registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in Alabama face sanctions. Section 34-21-25 of Alabama's Nurse Practice Act lists other grounds for discipline. It is up to the Board to decide if the alleged violation has been satisfactorily proved and if it warrants disciplinary action, or suspension or revocation of the nursing license.

Nurse Licensure Compact in Alabama

Nurses in Alabama fall under the Nurse Licensure Compact. It is a way for nurses to use a single license to practice in multiple states, if they meet the licensing requirements. Nurses who have a license in one NLC state may use it to practice in other NLC states.

While the Nurse Licensure Compact was designed as a way to make it easy for nurses to practice elsewhere, without having to obtain a license in each state, it can also make things a bit tricky if you have received sanctions.

If your license is suspended or revoked in one NLC state, you will be unable to practice in other NLC states as well. Alabama is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, and this makes it even more important for nurses in Alabama to do everything they can to protect their licenses.

Even if you are part of a non-NLC state, any sanctions or records of disciplinary action can follow you around to other states and cause issues while seeking employment.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing's Nursys Database in Alabama

The Nursys database allows prospective and current employers, coworkers, and patients to look up and identify a nurse within the system, and be able to view their license, and any sanctions against them. Nursys is a national nurse licensure and discipline database.

Although Nursys makes it easier for employers to check up on nurses they plan to hire and, by extension, makes it easier for nurses to prove their credentials and obtain employment, it can also cause issues if you have been sanctioned.

Anyone with access to this database can look up your disciplinary history and license status. Even if you currently hold a valid license but have been sanctioned in the past, it could cause some employers to pass you over for employment. Moreover, having a disciplinary history can cause bias in the minds of employers, coworkers, and patients and cause you to be unfairly blamed for any professional issues that may crop up in your workplace.

This is why it is extremely important to nip potential complaints and investigations in the bud, if possible. Even a single instance of disciplinary action against you could impact your career and have long-term consequences for you.

The Alabama Board of Nursing Adjudicatory Process

The Board takes complaints made against nurses very seriously and is required to investigate all written complaints. Once a complaint is made, the registered nurse or licensed practical nurse in question will be informed, and an investigation will be initiated.

The adjudicatory process proceeds as below:

  • Complaint

If a written complaint is filed against a nurse practitioner, the Board is required to investigate it and may choose to bring an action against the nurse in their own name. Complaints can be made by coworkers, mandatory reporters, patients, families of patients, and regulatory authorities, or they can also be board-generated. Once a complaint that includes a possible violation of the Nurse Practice Act is filed, the nurse practitioner is sent a Notice of Investigation letter.

  • Investigation

Board staff will be directed by the Executive Officer to conduct an investigation into the behavior and alleged violation. The investigation may reveal that no disciplinary action is warranted, and in this case, the file shall be closed. However, the matter may be reinvestigated at any time, based on the circumstances. The Board will be able to act on the recommendations of the investigation. The investigation may recommend:

    • Dismissal of the complaint
    • Sending a letter of admonishment to the nurse in question
    • Accepting voluntary surrender of a license, or
    • Recommending disciplinary proceedings

The Board will then be free to accept or reject these recommendations.

  • Statement of Charges and Hearing

Once the investigation is complete, the registered nurse or licensed practical nurse will be sent a Statement of Charges, including the time, place and nature of the hearing. At the hearing, which shall take place in Montgomery, Alabama, the complainant will have the right to put forward any evidence or testimony supporting their claim. The same is applicable to the nurse in question and any other persons the Board deems to be of relevance to the case. The licensee is allowed to have an attorney present, and the attorney or licensee themselves may cross-examine any witnesses put forward. A Hearing Officer will hear the case and present a ‘Recommended Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law' report to the Board.

  • Disposition

The Board does not attend the hearing but has access to transcripts and exhibits from the hearing, along with the Hearing Officer's report and recommendations for discipline. They then meet and vote on whether to accept, reject, or amend the Hearing Officer's recommendation. The licensee, if found responsible for the allegations against them, will then be subject to sanctions, which can include suspension or revocation of license, admonishment, a probationary period, or other sanctions.

Appealing A Decision or Sanction

Even if you have already been awarded harsh sanctions by the Board and have had your professional license suspended or revoked, all may not be lost. You can still appeal the decision, and with the attorneys on the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team on your side, you might be able to get the sanction modified or reduced.

In Alabama, any professional who has had their license revoked or suspended may appeal to the circuit court or an equivalent court within 30 days of the board's decision being announced. According to the Code of Alabama 1975, “The Court can affirm the decision, remand the case for further proceedings, or reverse or modify the decision, or grant other appropriate relief.”

Many nurse practitioners may not realize how serious the consequences of a complaint can be and can fail to take adequate steps to protect their license. Before they know it, they find themselves facing a fine, probation, license suspension, or revocation. Even at this stage, the Lento Law Firm can help you. If the Board violated hearing guidelines in any way, behaved in an unlawful manner, displayed bias, or made an arbitrary decision, an appeal may be useful in getting the Board's decision modified or even reversed.

What the Lento Law Firm Can Do For You

If you find yourself facing sanctions or an investigation and feel you have done nothing wrong, you may wonder what the point of hiring an attorney is. Many nurse practitioners and other medical professionals make the mistake of opting to deal with an investigation or complaint single-handedly and usually end up regretting it.

This is because the onus of disproving the allegations against you is on you, and without adequate legal guidance, you may not be able to put up an adequate defense. Boards tend to have a bias in favor of the complainant and may not understand the mitigating circumstances that caused you to act the way you did.

Additionally, your inexperience in dealing with license defense proceedings may also act against you and prove to be a disadvantage. The Alabama Board of Nursing has a vast number of resources, time, and expert professionals. You do not have the same resources, and this may act against you. An experienced team of attorneys, like our Professional License Defense team, can provide the experience, knowledge, and resources required to successfully defend your professional license.

Where We Can Help

With years of experience helping medical professionals with license issues nationwide, our Professional License Defense Team can help you wherever you are employed in Alabama. We serve nurses throughout Alabama, including at the following hospitals and medical centers:

  • Dale Medical Centre
  • Atrium Health Floyd Cherokee Medical Centre
  • Alabama Family Medical Centre
  • North Alabama Medical Centre
  • University Medical Centre
  • Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Centre
  • Fayette Medical Centre
  • Prattville Baptist Hospital
  • Russellville Hospital
  • Athens Limestone Hospital
  • Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital

Wherever in Alabama you work, if you are worried about facing sanctions or having your license revoked, the Lento Law Firm can help you. We are available to help you in Huntsville, Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Auburn, Dothan, Madison, Decatur, Florence, Prattville, and all other Alabama locations.

Call The Lento Law Firm Today

Our experienced Professional License Defense Team has attorneys with years of experience helping nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals avoid severe sanctions and hold onto their licenses nationwide. As a medical professional, your license is the most important element of your career, and protecting it is important.

Whether you have just had a complaint registered against you or have already been through a hearing and are considering an appeal, the Lento Law Firm can help you. Prevent further harm to your career and license by retaining the Lento Law Firm, which can guide you through the disciplinary process and help you with presenting a strong defense.

Call us at 888-535-3686 or tell us about your case online, and we will contact you.


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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