Don't Face Nursing License Disciplinary Matters Alone
Are you a nurse in Oklahoma facing disciplinary charges? If your professional license is under threat, you must act fast to protect it. Mistakes happen, and you deserve a chance to tell your side of the story and protect the career you've worked so hard to build.
We serve nurses across Oklahoma, including Edmond, Enid, Lawton, Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Our experienced team has successfully represented nurses in various disciplines. We work with nurses in all areas, including:
- Med/Surg Nursing
- Emergency Nursing
- ICU Nursing
- Oncology Nursing
- Pediatric Nursing
It doesn't matter whether you are newly qualified or if you're an advanced practice nurse. Wherever you practice in Oklahoma, and no matter your specialty, the Lento Law Firm is waiting to help you. Call now at 888.535.3686 or schedule a meeting online.
Oklahoma Nursing Regulatory Bodies
In OK, nurses are regulated by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (the Board). The Board is responsible for setting nursing standards, issuing licenses, investigating complaints, and disciplining nursing staff. The Board has the power to suspend, revoke, or otherwise alter your nursing license if there is cause to do so (we will explore this below).
Although the Board can implement its own rules and regulations, it must comply with two key laws: the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act and Title 59 of the Oklahoma Statutes. For our purposes, the most significant law is the Nursing Practice Act.
Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act
The Nursing Practice Act applies across the US. Each state adopts its own version of the Act and implements its provisions. The Boards exist to enforce the Act and ensure a consistently high standard of nursing across their respective states.
The Nursing Practice Act sets out, among other things:
- Rules for issuing and applying for licenses.
- Misconduct and procedures for investigating nursing concerns.
- Remedial and corrective actions for nurses subject to disciplinary proceedings.
The Nursing Practice Act also implements Oklahoma's Administrative Procedures Act. All investigations, disciplinary hearings, and appeals must be in accordance with this Act.
Nursing Licensure Compact
OK is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses to work in different states. If you lose your OK nursing license, you can only reapply to work in OK. Only once your license is regranted can you apply for a multi-state license again.
Oklahoma Nursing Charges and What They Mean
If you're accused of misconduct and facing disciplinary action, this does not mean you will lose your license. An accusation is just that – a complaint. It's not definitive, and it must be proven before you can lose your right to practice nursing. The allegations may be dismissed quickly and informally, for one thing. Or you may receive a far less severe punishment, such as a reprimand.
Your best chance of retaining your nursing license is by hiring the Lento Law Firm. Our Professional License Defense Team will work tirelessly to protect you from license suspension or revocation. We will do what we can to mitigate the impact of disciplinary action on your career.
Are Nursing License Charges Criminal, Civil, or Administrative?
It's important to distinguish disciplinary proceedings from criminal or civil court proceedings. In OK, disciplinary proceedings for license matters are not criminal or civil. Instead, they're administrative.
Administrative proceedings work differently and have various possible outcomes. They have their own evidence standards, rules, and processes.
- Criminal charges proceed to criminal court. The penalties range from fines to incarceration.
- Civil charges proceed to civil courts, such as family court, if they don't settle prior to a court date. The penalties are often financial in nature.
- Administrative matters go before administrative forums or officials. They can involve disciplinary and misconduct issues. In nursing matters, the penalties and sanctions include suspension, dismissal, and license revocation.
That all being said, every allegation can result in serious consequences. Just because it's not a civil or criminal matter does not mean it's a simple issue. Disciplinary proceedings must be taken seriously and handled quickly and effectively.
Allegations That Can Lead to Nursing License Charges
Any allegation which calls your fitness to hold a nurse's license into question may result in disciplinary procedures. However, Title 59 lists various actions which could trigger disciplinary proceedings against you.
- Unlawfully or deceitfully obtaining a nursing license.
- Convicted of a felony that brings your ability to safely practice nursing into question, e.g., murder or assault.
- Exposing a patient to unnecessary harm by failing to provide adequate care in line with OK's nursing standards.
- Drug or alcohol addictions impair your ability to practice nursing safely.
- A pattern of behavior that demonstrates your inability to exercise safe judgment or treat patients responsibly.
- You have been certified as mentally ill or a danger to the public.
- Your actions put a patient's life in danger.
- The Board deems that you have violated its rules or committed another act of professional misconduct.
- Another state nursing board took disciplinary action against you.
- You have engaged in sexual misconduct or failed to maintain patient boundaries.
As you can see, this is a broad list with much room for interpretation. If any colleague or member of the public makes a complaint against you, there's a strong chance it will result in disciplinary actions or investigations in some capacity. This is why it's so crucial that you seek legal help at the earliest opportunity – your license is on the line.
Nursing License Investigations in Oklahoma
The Nursing Practice Act authorizes the Board to investigate any complaints made against a nurse in Oklahoma.
The complaint may not necessarily be meritorious – the Board has a wide authority to simply investigate any complaint. However, if the Board decides there's no need for formal proceedings, but there is evidence of potential misconduct or concern, they can issue a “Letter of Concern”. There's a chance that the allegations may give rise to future investigations if you're issued with such a letter.
It may be possible to resolve matters informally at the initial stages. This may be the case for minor complaints which do not merit formal proceedings or if you wish to admit the allegations and offer an explanation (an attorney-advisor will explain if this is a sensible option). These informal proceedings are “without prejudice,” meaning the Board could still take formal action against you later.
The investigation stage, or the time between notice of a complaint and the formal hearing, is your opportunity to gather evidence. An attorney from our Professional License Defense Team can explain what evidence may be helpful in your situation.
OK Nursing License Disciplinary Proceedings
As per the Nursing Practice Act, the Board must conduct hearings in line with Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act (Section 567.8(F)).
You must receive fair notice of any hearing. The notice must include:
- Date and time of the hearing.
- Nature of the hearing (why you're being called to a hearing).
- A short explanation of the assertions against you.
At the hearing, you are entitled to represent yourself, or you may instruct counsel to represent you. The findings must be based on the evidence presented by both sides.
The Board officials have the power, upon hearing from both sides, to either dismiss the allegations against you or impose sanctions ranging from a simple reprimand to permanent license revocation.
Defenses Against Nursing License Charges
Before you talk to an attorney-advisor, avoid responding to the charges or allegations against you. As a medical professional, it's crucial that you avoid accidentally incriminating yourself, as this could make the matter worse. Instead, seek advice at the earliest opportunity. The quicker you construct an effective defense, the sooner you can move forward from nursing disciplinary action.
There are various defenses available to nurses facing disciplinary matters. How you defend your case, though, depends on your unique situation. For example, in some cases, a simple explanation will suffice. In other cases, more robust evidence may be required. And in other situations, you might need to show that the Board failed to follow its own processes. For example, the Board revoked your license without warning, and it was not an emergency situation.
In all cases, you must deal with the matter and respond to the accusations. Attempting to ignore the issue will only compound matters. An experienced attorney-advisor will help you present your side of the story and provide evidence to support your case, such as documentation, witness statements, and photographs.
Have confidence that you can answer and defeat these allegations. No matter the accusations against you, there must always be an opportunity to defend yourself.
Consequences of Nursing License Charges in Oklahoma
You face potentially far-reaching consequences if you're accused of a nursing disciplinary issue in Oklahoma. Here are some of the most common potential penalties and repercussions.
- Mandatory education: Knowledge or clinical deficiencies may be central to the allegations. If the Board alleges that you lack a certain skill or there's a gap in your education, you may be required to complete a Board-certified course.
- Reprimand on record: The disciplinary action may be recorded formally on your public record. Or you may receive a simple, informal reprimand.
- Reputation damage: You may feel alienated from your colleagues after a disciplinary matter. They may treat you differently as if you're less trustworthy.
- Revocation: The Board revokes your nursing license permanently. This means you can't work in OK as a nurse. There may be a route to reinstating your license, depending on the case, but revocation should be avoided where possible.
- Supervision: Senior colleagues and medical staff supervise you to ensure that you are completing duties properly.
- Suspension: Your license is suspended, meaning you can't practice nursing in OK for a certain length of time. Depending on the allegations, this could be a substantial period.
Other penalties include paying fines or attending mandatory rehab classes, e.g., drug or alcohol counseling.
Depending on the circumstances, you may face criminal charges following misconduct allegations. This could happen, for example, if you're accused of assaulting a patient. Criminal charges may result in further penalties, including:
- Mandatory counseling
- Financial penalties not exceeding $500 (OK Statutes Title 59 § 567.8(J)(1)
While it's uncommon for nurses to face criminal charges alongside licensing issues, it's not unheard of. You need urgent legal representation in this scenario – call the Lento Law Firm immediately to schedule a consultation.
Appealing a Charge Against Your Nursing License
Oklahoma nurses may appeal disciplinary action such as license suspension or revocation. This is part of due process – without the right to appeal, the proceedings against you may be deemed unfair.
In Oklahoma, you have the right to appeal pursuant to OK's Administrative Procedures Act (Oklahoma Statutes Title 59 § 567.8(I)). This usually involves making an appeal through your local district court and following the applicable procedures. Typically, though, appeals or re-hearings may be permitted in the following circumstances:
- New evidence is now available which could change the outcome.
- It's in the public interest to reconsider the decision.
- A proper decision can't be reached until further evidence is produced.
- The Board made procedural errors that affected the outcome.
Nurses typically have 10 days from the date of the Board's decision to request an appeal. These procedures can be extremely complex, and there may be deadlines for filing appeals – you are not advised to file an appeal alone. Instead, call us to ensure that you complete all required paperwork within the timeframe.
Reapplying for Your Nursing License
In OK, it's possible to reapply for your nursing license following revocation or suspension.
To apply for a license reinstatement in OK, you must complete the relevant paperwork and submit it to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. You'll also be expected to pay an admin fee for submitting the form.
You must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to nursing care, including attendance at Board-approved refresher courses, completion of contact hours, and completion of nursing coursework at the appropriate level. You may need to explain the prior disciplinary action against you. Any criminal convictions must also be disclosed.
There's no guarantee of reinstatement. However, your attorney-advisor can help you maximize your chances of regaining your license.
Your Nursing License Matters
A nurse's license is precious. It demonstrates your suitability to practice nursing. It proves that you have the skills, competency, and knowledge required to treat patients safely. And it shows your long-term commitment to a career in healthcare. After all, there's nothing easy about becoming a nurse – and it takes a significant investment of time and money to get that all-important license.
Any allegations which bring your nursing license into question must be rigorously challenged. Whether you're seeking a dismissal of the allegations or hoping to mitigate disciplinary action, you must act fast and effectively. In some cases, a simple explanation may be all that's necessary to preserve your license. And in other cases, you may need a more substantial defense.
But in all cases, you must not lose sight of how precious your license is. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you protect it.
Your Livelihood Is at Risk
As a nurse, you're a compassionate and caring individual who chooses to help people at vulnerable points in their lives. You are suited to a nursing career, even if you've made a mistake or you're facing untrue or unfair allegations.
If your license is suspended, you'll lose the right to practice nursing for a set period. And if the Board revokes your license, you may be forced to consider alternative career paths. In all cases, your very livelihood is on the line. When it comes to professional licensure matters, the stakes are high.
There is something you can do, though. You can seek legal counsel to stand alongside you. You can seek legal advice to ensure you get a fair chance to tell your side of the story. And you can attend any Board hearing with an experienced representative on your team.
You've worked too hard and invested too much money into a nursing career to let it slip away. Call the Lento Law Firm now to retain our license defense services.
Why You Need a Professional License Defense Team
You can choose to defend yourself against professional licensure issues in Oklahoma. As these are not criminal or formal civil proceedings, you might think that you don't need legal representation. However, you need to understand why this line of thinking is potentially prejudicial to your best interests.
First, consider how experienced Board members are at investigating allegations and managing disciplinary hearings. They understand how to construct a case and present a compelling argument. They are intimately familiar with disciplinary processes, and they will use this knowledge to their advantage.
Remember, professionals have niche expertise. You are highly trained and qualified, and you understand what it takes to be a nurse. Board members and their legal counsel have expert knowledge of disciplinary rules and regulations. They are familiar with evidence standards and burdens of proof, which means they already have an advantage over you. Hiring your own legal counsel means that you're on equal ground.
Consider also the level of resources available to the Board. They'll instruct their own legal counsel to attend hearings and petition for a particular outcome. When it comes to nursing license matters, you're effectively standing against the government – you deserve your own experienced legal counsel in your corner.
Finally, you must also think about what's at stake if you lose your professional nursing license. Even if it's only a temporary suspension, it could affect the entirety of your career. It may prevent you from progressing or seeking promotional opportunities. In the worst cases, it will prevent you from working as a nurse at all. There's simply too much at stake to tackle this matter alone.
How the Lento Law Firm Can Help
At the Lento Law Firm, we understand how difficult this time is for you. After all, your career and reputation are under threat. However, you should not face these challenges alone. That's why you should contact us.
The Lento Law Firm understands what it takes to protect and preserve nursing licenses in Oklahoma. We're committed to ensuring that every single one of our clients gets the justice they deserve. If you retain our services, here is what you can expect from us.
- We will carefully listen to you and thoroughly evaluate your case.
- We will determine the strengths and weaknesses of your case based on the evidence. This helps us determine how best to move your defense forward.
- Our goal is to help you secure an informal resolution. The Professional License Defense Team will negotiate with Oklahoma Nursing Board officials on your behalf with a view to resolving matters quickly and effectively.
- If it's not possible to preserve your license through informal negotiations, we will gather the evidence required to build your defense. Our team will explain what evidence we need to seek the most favorable outcome possible.
- You can expect passionate and knowledgeable representation at any disciplinary hearing before the Board.
- If required, we will help you appeal a suspension, disciplinary action, or license revocation.
No matter the allegations against you, it's crucial that you receive a fair hearing and a proper chance to defend yourself. We will facilitate this by standing at your side throughout the process. The Lento Law Firm will ensure the Board follows due process, considers all mitigating evidence in your favor, and gives you the shot you deserve to protect your nursing career.
Retain the Services of the Lento Law Firm Today
Whether you're new to nursing or you're highly experienced, disciplinary action can jeopardize your career. You need effective legal advice from a team that understands how to protect your interests. You need guidance from an experienced attorney-advisor who knows how to build a case in your favor. And you deserve a team on your side that can support you through this turbulent – and highly stressful – time.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team are here for you. Whether you're fighting unfair allegations or appealing a license revocation, we want to help. Contact the Lento Law Firm now at 888.535.3686 or reach us online to schedule a consultation at your convenience. You owe it to yourself to fight for your license – you've worked too hard for your career to let it go.