Being an Oklahoma agency nurse is an incredibly demanding job with long hours, significant physical demands, and often little appreciation. In addition to caring for countless patients, as an agency nurse, you likely change facilities often, drive far distances and don't receive the same benefits as facility staff nurses. You work tirelessly, putting the health and safety of your patients above your own needs. When you dedicate so much of yourself to the well-being of others, it may come as a complete shock that you are facing disciplinary action against your professional license.
While succeeding at your nursing duties while under stress is necessary for your job, the anxiety of facing disciplinary action is a whole other ball game. Understandably, you may not understand how the disciplinary process works, the dos and don'ts, or the potential short- and long-term consequences you may be up against.
Disciplinary action against your nursing license should not be taken lightly. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team attorneys have helped countless Oklahoma agency nurses face disciplinary action. Our Team can walk you through your next steps and skillfully prepare your nursing license disciplinary action defense. Let someone else take care of you for once, and call the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to retain our Professional License Defense Team.
Oklahoma Agency Nurse Regulatory Body
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing is the state board responsible for all things related to nursing. Their jurisdiction covers registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and advanced practice nurses. The Board of Nursing uses a public database to verify the license information of each of its nurses.
The Board of Nursing is responsible for making, changing, and enforcing regulations; developing standards for nursing education; setting licensure procedures and fees; providing continuing education to nurses; ensuring Oklahoma nurses have completed background checks and disciplinary processes; and collecting and analyzing data on the Oklahoma nursing workforce. The Board of Nursing can investigate all complaints alleging violations of the Nursing Practice Act and the Board's Rules regarding nursing education, licensure, and practice.
Oklahoma Nursing Board Rules and Standards
The Board of Nursing has the authority to make rules related to nursing standards, licensure, investigating complaints, and disciplinary action, amongst others. The Board of Nursing complies with a variety of laws and regulations, the most important being the following:
Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act
Every state in the country adopts its own version of the Nursing Practice Act; in Oklahoma, it is the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act. This law establishes the professional, ethical, and legal standards of care nurses and healthcare professionals must adhere to. The law protects the public from providers who are a risk to Oklahoma citizens' health, safety, and welfare. The law outlines a nurse's legal duties and responsibilities to their patients, fellow employees, and the community. The Nursing Practice Act sets assessments for licensure and standards for disciplinary action.
Nursing Licensure Compact
The Nursing Practice Act permits participation in the Nursing Licensure Compact. Oklahoma is one of the many states that has passed legislation to be a part of the Nursing Licensure Compact, a program that allows nurses to practice across state lines. The program works so that a licensed nurse in their home state can practice in another state that is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact.
Nurses with this option hold what is called a multistate licensure privilege. Nurses operating under the multistate licensure privilege have unique risks regarding disciplinary action. If you are facing disciplinary action in a state you are working in that is not your home licensure state, you can face disciplinary action in both jurisdictions. For example, say you are working across the border in Kansas and have disciplinary action brought against you by the Kansas Nursing Board. The Oklahoma Nursing Board can also bring disciplinary action against you, even if the event occurred in Kansas.
Title 485. Rules of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing Rules detail all the Board of Nursing's responsibilities. This includes how they issue, monitor, and revoke licenses and the workings of the disciplinary process, among many other processes and procedures.
Oklahoma Agency Nursing Charges
If someone has made an allegation against you and you face disciplinary action, you should immediately retain a professional licensed defense attorney. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can explain the charges against you and help you keep your license. Disciplinary actions and allegations do not mean you have been found guilty of anything. Those making allegations against you will be required to prove that their allegations are true.
The Lento Law Firm can help mitigate the impacts of the disciplinary action against you. Whether that is getting the allegation dismissed quickly or obtaining a less severe punishment, our Team will pull out all the stops to protect your nursing license.
Oklahoma Agency Nursing License Disciplinary Actions
The disciplinary action against your agency nursing license could be a long process. While there can be different paths to resolution, the disciplinary process will typically occur in these stages:
Disciplinary actions will start with a complaint to the Board of Nursing. Anyone can submit a complaint to the Board of Nursing. The complaint is a nursing practice incident report alleging that a certificate holder or licensed nurse may have violated the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act. Unfortunately, complaints can even be anonymous. The complaint includes the nurse's information, patient information (if the complaint relates to a specific patient), witness information, and supporting documentation. Complaints can be made by calling the Board of Nursing, mailing in a complaint, or, most commonly, through the online Oklahoma Complaint Portal.
When a complaint is entered, it will be sent to the Board of Nursing Investigative Division. The Investigative Division comprises six nurse investigators and three legal secretaries. If the Investigative Division can obtain evidence from the complaint filed that a violation of the Oklahoma Nursing Practices Act has been committed, it will write its document called a sworn complaint. The sworn complaint initiates formal proceedings under the Oklahoma Administrative Procedure Act.
If a complaint has been filed against you, the Investigative Division will notify you of the complaint and provide a timeframe for your response. Responding to a complaint can be frustrating and seem unnecessary, particularly when you have done nothing wrong, but you cannot afford to ignore a complaint against you. The Nursing Board has the authority to take whatever action it deems appropriate, including suspending your license or worse if you do not respond in the required timeframe.
Responding to the complaint against you without the assistance of a Lento Law Firm attorney would be unwise. While this is not a court proceeding, the Nursing Board will have its own administrative rules for what evidence can be presented, how it can be presented, and other procedural intricacies that, if not done properly, could result in you losing your case on an administrative technicality. Your initial response is your first attempt at defending yourself, and the Lento Law Firm can make sure you go into the fight with a strong strategy and defense.
The Investigative Board staff will be investigating your case. This means interviewing you, the patient in question, witnesses, and anyone else who may be relevant to your case. They will also review supporting videos, photos, or other documentation.
During this time, you may be subject to an interim suspension, temporarily removing your right to practice nursing. This does not mean your license has been revoked or that you will need to reapply to get your licensure back; it essentially just places a pause on your license until your disciplinary proceeding concludes.
Many people don't realize that in addition to the formal procedures, there are options for resolution that are less formal. An informal proceeding doesn't mean you should take this less seriously and that an attorney isn't necessary. Informal proceedings work as negotiations, and having your Lento Law Firm attorney who has previously worked with the Board of Nursing is essential to your success. Getting things resolved in informal proceedings can significantly speed up the process and get you back to work faster.
If you and your Lento Law Firm attorney decide to pursue informal proceedings first, you will likely have an informal conference with the Board of Nursing to resolve the issue. If you cannot come to a resolution, the Board will institute formal proceedings in the form of a formal hearing.
You may be entitled to an information disposition panel in some specific situations. The panel will comprise at least one or more individuals appointed by the Board of Nursing President. These panels are used for the following types of cases:
- Reinstating or returning a license to active status after a lapsed license or after a surrender, suspension, or revocation of a license
- Voluntary surrenders
- Termination of probation
- Request to amend orders
- Uncontested complaints such as actions in another jurisdiction or criminal conviction
- Negotiated disposition of a complaint
If the panel is unable to come to a decision, a formal hearing will be scheduled.
Discovery is a fancy way of saying that both parties must share what evidence they plan to present during a hearing.
The Board of Nursing will hold a hearing on your case. This is similar to what you imagine a trial in court to look like, and just like you wouldn't go to court without a seasoned attorney, you need to have a Lento Law Firm professional license defense attorney representing you at the hearing. During the hearing, both parties will present evidence followed by cross-examination and rebuttal of witnesses. Members of the Board of Nursing can ask questions throughout this time. Both parties will then give closing statements, and the Board of Nursing will be left to make its determination.
The Board of Nursing considers a variety of factors when determining the appropriate penalty for any Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act violations. Some of the factors the Board of Nursing will look at include, but are not limited to:
- Evidence of actual or potential harm to patients, clients, or the public
- The seriousness of the violation, including the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited acts, and the hazard or potential hazard created to the health, safety, and welfare of the public
- Evidence of any misrepresentation regarding knowledge, education, experience, credentials, or skills that would lead employers, patients, or others where such reliance could be unsafe
- Evidence of practice history
- Evidence of prior disciplinary action by the Board of Nursing or any other health care licensing agency
- Actual damages of the violation
- Attempts by the licensed nurse to correct or stop the violation
- Evidence of a lack of truthfulness or trustworthiness
After weighing these and other factors, the Board of Nursing will release its decision as a written order. The order will be given within either 20 days of the Nursing Board's decision or within 20 days of the Oklahoma Attorney General's review of the Nursing Board's decision if such is required. You will receive a copy of the order by mail.
- The Board of Nursing has the authority to deny, revoke, or suspend any of the following:
- Licensure to practice as an LPN, single-state or multistate
- Licensure to practice as an RN, single-state or multistate
- Multistate privilege to practice in Oklahoma
- Licensure to practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- Authorization for prescriptive authority
- Authority to order, select, obtain, and administer drugs
The Board can further assess administrative penalties and otherwise discipline licensees as appropriate.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your hearing, you have the legal right to an appeal. You need to reconsider if you have gone through proceedings thus far without a professional license defense attorney. Our Professional Defense Team frequently joins cases at the point of an appeal. While the Board of Nursing's decision may seem final, it isn't.
If you choose to appeal, you will be required to request an appeal following the rules of the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act. Your Lento Law Firm attorney is well-versed in the practices and procedures required. Remember that your time frame for an appeal is limited, so do not wait to contact your attorney to begin the process.
Allegations That Can Lead to Actions Against Your Agency Nursing License
In Oklahoma, the Board of Nursing can take disciplinary action against your agency's nursing license for various reasons. Acts that can lead to disciplinary action by the Board of Nursing include:
- Deceit or material representation in procuring your agency nursing license
- You have been found guilty of a felony or any offense related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of your license
- You have been found guilty of any offense of which an essential element is fraud, dishonestly, or an act of violence, regardless of whether a sentence is imposed
- Failure to adequately care for patients or conform to the minimum standards of acceptable agency nursing care
- You have used drugs or alcohol in a manner that the Board of Nursing has determined endangers or could endanger patients
- You have exhibited through a pattern or practice or other behavior an actual or potential inability to practice agency nursing with sufficient knowledge or reasonable skill and safety due to impairment from illness, use of drugs, alcohol, other substances, or other mental or physical conditions
- You have been found to be mentally incompetent, mentally ill, chemically dependent, or dangerous to the public.
- You have been found guilty of any act that jeopardizes a patient's life, health, or safety
- You have failed to maintain professional boundaries with patients
- You have engaged in sexual misconduct with a current or former patient
Consequences of Disciplinary Action Against Your Agency Nursing License
Losing your agency nursing license likely means you also are losing your livelihood and the ability to support the people who rely on you. Having this allegation turn into a disciplinary action against your license can have life-long impacts. One of these impacts is being added to the Nursys website. Nursys is a national licensure and disciplinary database for nurses.
The database provides licensure verification, disciplinary actions, and practice privileges for RNs and LPNs. The database allows employers and even the public access to licensure information for nurses nationwide. If disciplinary action is taken against your Oklahoma license, you cannot just move on to another state without consequence. Potential employers, facilities, or individuals can view a record of your disciplinary actions. Your Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense attorney will do everything they can to prevent disciplinary action from reaching a point where it would be shared on the Nursys database.
Why You Need the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team
Having an agency license defense attorney from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can make all the difference in your case, and you cannot afford to lose the license and career you put so much time, money, and effort into. Our Team will help ensure you get the best possible outcome. The Board of Nursing has its entire Investigative Division with years of experience fighting this battle; we ensure that the Board of Nursing upholds your rights and that you get a fair fight.
How an Agency License Defense Attorney Can Help You
Our Team can support you through any aspects of the disciplinary process with the Board of Nursing. We assist with gathering evidence and support and building a strong and persuasive case, which we will present to the Board of Nursing on your behalf. We prepare everything you must submit to the Medical Board, including motions and briefs, and represent you in hearings. Additionally, we will create open communication between you and the Board of Nursing to try and come to a mutually agreed-upon resolution quickly and painlessly.
Areas We Serve in Oklahoma
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has helped agency nurses facing disciplinary action throughout Oklahoma. While we can work with agency nurses anywhere in Oklahoma, we often work in larger areas such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Edmond, and Lawton.
The agency nurses we have served have been staffed in different settings, from home health to hospitals. Our agency nurses have worked in some of the largest health systems in the state of Oklahoma, including Integris Health, Saint Francis Health System, the Atoka County Healthcare Authority, and Mercy Health Oklahoma Communities.
Professional License Defense Team for Oklahoma Agency Nurses
Whether the allegation against you is minor or major, all allegations of wrongdoing can seriously threaten your agency nurse license and your reputation. Our Professional License Defense Team takes upholding your license seriously. We appreciate everything nurses do for us and the ones we love, and we are determined to ensure you can continue serving your Oklahoma community. Let us help you; call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today.