In the world of healthcare, agency nurses in New York play a critical role in providing essential medical care to diverse patient populations. However, with the privilege of such an important role comes the responsibility of upholding professional standards and ethics. Despite the need for quality nurses in New York and throughout the country, all too often, nurses, including agency nurses, become the victims of allegations of professional misconduct. Whether these allegations are false or overstated, the sanctions handed down can be harsh and career-ending.
If you are an agency nurse and someone accuses you of professional misconduct, your job, career, and future are at stake. You must take these accusations seriously and fight. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has represented countless nursing professionals across the country against their professional boards and employers. We fight to ensure our clients' rights are protected and they are treated fairly. We work tirelessly to secure the most favorable outcome in their case possible.
Legal Powers the Agency, Medical Center, and the New York State Board of Regents' Office of the Professions Has Over You
Agency nursing is a relatively unknown field, especially among patients, who primarily assume the nurse treating and caring for them is a staff employee. But that's not always the case. Many are employed by staffing agencies that contract nurses out to medical facilities. These nurses fill a much-needed void, with medical facilities across the country reporting sometimes critical-level staffing shortages.
Unlike staff nurses, agency nurses are not employees of the hospital or clinic where they work. The staffing company hires them as 1099 contractors, meaning they don't usually receive paid time off, sick days, or retirement benefits. However, these nurses are usually paid more and can choose the shifts they want to work. Often, these shifts include night or holiday shifts, which tend to pay more than day or holiday shifts.
So, if you're an agency nurse and someone makes a complaint of professional wrongdoing about you, the repercussions can be felt on many levels — with the staffing agency that hired you, the medical center where you are contracted to work, and the New York State Board of Regents' Office of the Professions. Any one of these bodies can — and likely will — investigate the matter, and each has the legal authority to levy sanctions against you within its scope and jurisdiction, provided they have sufficient legal grounds to do so. Chances are, if a complaint comes into one entity, it will notify the others, and soon, you may find your license is in jeopardy of probation, suspension, or revocation.
The Board of Regents' powers may be the strictest, as it already has the authority to take actions, such as:
- Issuing and renewing licenses and certifications
- Establishing and enforcing standards of practice and professional conduct standards for nurses
- Conducting investigations into complaints or allegations of professional misconduct, violations of nursing regulations, or professional incompetence
- Taking disciplinary actions, such as handing down fines or warnings, or ordering probation, suspension, or revocation of a nursing license or certificate
- Requiring education or rehabilitation programs for nurses who have violated standards but whose actions are considered redeemable
- Issuing rules and regulations related to New York's nursing practice
Board sanctions against nurses can vary in severity. But even seemingly minor warnings should be taken with the utmost seriousness. Any form of discipline can become a part of your professional record, leaving a scar that can damage the career you worked so hard to build. Potential repercussions can include:
- Risk of termination for any future missteps with your current employer
- Limited job opportunities in the future
- Limited earning potential in your field
- Limited prospects for advancement
- Increased stress in your life
Regardless of who made the complaint or the validity of the accusations against you, you must arm yourself with the power of an experienced license defense team to protect your license or certification, your career, and your future.
Do Not Expect the Truth Will Protect You from License-Related Sanctions in New York
You did nothing wrong, so the truth should protect you, right? Think again. Even if the allegations are false, the board will likely move forward with an investigation, the outcome of which may not necessarily fall in your favor. You have little or no control over the outcome. Sometimes, board members make mistakes in their processes, or they make unfair or inaccurate decisions. There are many reasons why they might come to an unjust decision in a case of false accusation, such as:
- Failure to carry out the necessary due diligence and, thus, not uncovering the facts, getting important testimony, or gathering evidence that could influence the outcome of your case
- Bias in favor of a claimant or against you
- Failure to consider important information that could have impacted the outcome of your case
- Failure to reach a fair or accurate conclusion despite the evidence available
The New York Board of Regents hands down discipline against licensed nurses, including agency nurses. In some cases, an agency nurse may have been wrongly accused and face stronger penalties than they deserve, putting their license and career at risk. You can't assume that just because you are innocent of the accusations made against you, the board won't discipline you. You must be prepared for whatever may come your way, and the best way to do that is to arm yourself with the strength of an experienced team of professional license defense attorneys from the Lento Law Firm.
What is the Nurse Licensure Compact, and Why is it Relevant to Agency Nurses Practicing in New York?
New York is one of a handful of states that do not participate in the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). The compact, adopted by the majority of states in the U.S., allows nurses who obtain their licenses in a compact state to practice in other states that participate in the NLC program without having to obtain additional licensing requirements. However, as of spring 2023, New York lawmakers are considering a bill for New York to join the Nursing Licensure Compact as a way to address nursing shortages.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) oversees the NLC. Being a licensed nurse in an NLC state has its advantages. Nurses can easily transfer from one NLC state to another and secure employment as a nurse without having to undergo any further licensing requirements. But it can also have its drawbacks. For example, if your nursing license is suspended or revoked in one NLC state, you won't be able to practice in another NLC state. But you also won't be able to practice in a non-NLC state because your nursing records will probably follow you to any other state you travel to, jeopardizing your ability to get hired as a nurse.
Why the NCSBN's Nursys Database is Relevant to Agency Nurses in New York
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing operates a Nursys Database. State nursing boards provide information for this national database regarding nurse licensure and disciplinary actions. This process helps to unify nursing across the nation. But it also means that anyone working in the medical industry can access the Nursys Database data and find out information, such as:
- A nurse's current license status
- A nurse's professional disciplinary history
- Make decisions about a nurse's licensure or hiring decisions based on the information in the database
The Nursys Database further stresses the professional issues at stake when you face accusations of professional wrongdoing. If you are sanctioned, you can expect the repercussions such as:
- Any sanctions the board levies against you will be added to the Nursys Database
- When you apply to renew your license or for another job anywhere in the country, regardless of whether it is an NLC state or not, you will need to explain why you were sanctioned by the board
The NLC and Nursys Database are tools that help ensure that any sanctions the New York Board of Regents levies on you don't stay in New York. Those sanctions follow you to other states. This only stresses the importance of hiring an experienced professional license defense attorney to protect you from long-term consequences that can sabotage your job, career, and future.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Agency Nurses Practicing in New York
The New York Board of Regents and its Office of the Professions identifies several actions that can result in disciplinary action against a licensed nurse in New York, including agency nurses. Some of these actions include:
- Engaging in unethical conduct
- Violating patient confidentiality
- Providing poor or substantial care
- Failing to follow Board-established protocols
- Neglecting or harming patients
- Being convicted of a crime that affects their ability to safely practice
- Abusing substances that impact your job performance and patient safety
- Engaging in fraudulent activities related to patient care or documentation
- Failing to renew or maintain their valid nursing license
- Violating professional boundaries with patients
- Engaging in inappropriate relationships with patients
- Failing to fulfill required continuing education hours
- Engaging in unprofessional or unethical behaviors
- Having physical or mental health issues that impair your ability to practice safely
Remember, the slightest mishap on your part can put your nursing license and your career at risk.
The Adjudication Process for Agency Nurses Issues in New York
The disciplinary or complaint process the New York Board of Regents uses for complaints against nurses, including agency nurses, is a formal procedure designed to review and resolve complaints or allegations of misconduct or incompetence against licensed nurses. The general steps involve the following:
The process begins when a complaint is filed against a nurse. Complaints can come from various sources, including patients, colleagues, employers, or members of the public. The complaint is typically submitted in writing and should include relevant details and evidence.
The nursing board or regulatory authority reviews the complaint to determine if it falls within their jurisdiction and if it contains sufficient information to proceed. If the complaint is deemed valid, an investigation is initiated.
The regulatory body assigns an investigator or a team to gather evidence and conduct an inquiry into the allegations. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, and collecting any other relevant information.
If the investigation reveals evidence of misconduct or incompetence, formal charges may be filed against the nurse. These charges outline the specific allegations and provide the nurse with an opportunity to respond.
Notice to Nurse
The nurse is formally notified of the charges and is given an opportunity to respond. The nurse may choose to admit to the charges, deny them, or negotiate a settlement.
If the nurse disputes the charges or if a settlement cannot be reached, a formal hearing is conducted. This hearing is typically held before an administrative law judge or a panel of experts appointed by the regulatory body. Both parties present their evidence, witnesses may testify, and legal arguments are made.
Following the hearing, the adjudicatory body (administrative law judge or panel) issues a decision. This decision may include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and sanctions if the nurse is found guilty of misconduct or incompetence.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the nurse or the regulatory body may have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court or authority.
If the nurse is found to have committed misconduct or incompetence, sanctions can range from a reprimand, fines, probation, suspension, or revocation of their nursing license. The severity of the sanctions depends on the nature and seriousness of the misconduct.
The outcome of the adjudication process is typically made part of the nurse's public record, and in many cases, it is reported to national databases for the public to access.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney from the Lento Law Firm Team When Facing Agency Nurse License Sanctions in New York
As an agency nurse in New York facing sanctions by the board or any other agency, you may wonder if it's worth the investment to hire a lawyer to handle your case. You may think that, since you are innocent of the charges against you, the truth will come out, and the board will let you off. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. When it comes to losing the license and credentials you worked so hard for, the stakes are high. Investing in the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can mean saving your career and your livelihood. Here are some reasons why we feel so strongly about protecting your future:
- When it comes to sanctioning nurses in New York, the threshold is low. You face the burden of disproving the claims against you. The New York Board of Regents and the Office of the Professions may consider you guilty until you are proven innocent. This is not the time to back down. You need an experienced license defense team that will build a strong strategy to protect your license.
- The New York Board of Regents and its Office of the Professions have extensive resources. When investigating allegations of wrongdoing against one of its members, the board will use these resources. Thus, when you fight accusations, you are also fighting the board's legal team. You must level the playing field if you want the best possible outcome in your case. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team isn't afraid to go up against the resources licensing boards put up. We will always fight for the best outcome in your case.
- The Professional License Defense Attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have a strong record of success. We have defended countless nurses, including agency nurses, against boards. We will fight for you until your case is resolved to its very best conclusion.
How Our Firm Will Assist You
When you invest in the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team, you can find peace in knowing a professional is handling all the details of your case so you can focus on your own career and well-being. Our firm can assist you in the following ways:
- Fight to get the best possible outcome in your particular case
- Gather all evidence and testimony to support your case
- Explore all possible settlement options outside the standard adjudication process
- Stand by you through the entire legal process
- Appeal any unsatisfactory board decisions
- Take further legal action, if needed
We Serve Agency Nurses Employed Throughout New York State
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is proud to represent agency nurses throughout the state of New York. We are especially active in representing nurses in cities such as:
New York City
The Big Apple is the largest city in the U.S., home to an astounding 8 million people. It anchors the largest metropolitan area in the country, which is made up of over 20 million people. A global hub of culture, entertainment, and finance, NYC's iconic skyline is punctuated by endless skyscrapers and one-of-a-kind experiences. Dozens of hospitals and no less than hundreds of healthcare facilities serve this area, including New Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Northwell Health.
New York's state capital is home to over 100,000 residents, not to mention the hordes of visitors who come to the city each year. The options for education, recreation, and entertainment are endless. It's also home to The University at Albany (SUNY), to name a few. The healthcare landscape is diverse here, with Ellis Medicine and Albany Medical Center.
In the heart of Central New York, Syracuse is home to roughly 145,000 people. Rich in history and activities, Syracuse is also the location of one of the most prominent universities in the state—Syracuse University. The Upstate Medical Center is known statewide for its exemplary care.
On the banks of Lake Ontario, Rochester hails as the third-largest city in New York, with over 210,000 residents. The city is known for its cultural attractions, such as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the George Eastman Museum. But it's also home to a large concentration of medical institutions, including Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, and Unity Hospital.
New York's largest western city and the second-largest in the state is Buffalo. The city is home to over 277,000 people. The city is known for its diverse dining experiences, from Italian eateries to Asian cuisines. It's also home to numerous medical facilities, including Erie Medical City and Sisters of Charity Hospital.
Contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today
Accusations against your professional license can jeopardize your job and your future. Don't let a complaint against your good name derail your career. Contact the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm today, and let us build a strong defense in your case. Even if you know you are innocent of the charges against you, you can't trust that the board will make the right decision. Your job, your career, and your future depend on the board's decision. Are you ready to take the risk alone, or do you want to face the board with the strength of an experienced team of experienced defense attorneys?
The answer is clear. Arm yourself with the power of an experienced team of defense lawyers. Arm yourself with the Professional License Defense Team from the Lento Law Firm. We won't stop until we get the best outcome possible in your case. Contact us today at 888.535.3686 or through our online form to begin the fight of your professional life. Because accusations that may jeopardize your future and your well-being should never be taken lightly.