The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Protect Your South Dakota Nursing License From Disciplinary Action
Any individual who receives a professional license in South Dakota is held to high ethical and professional standards. Nurses, who deal with life-and-death situations on a daily basis, are held to even higher standards. These standards govern how they dress, what their name tags look like, how they interact with patients, and what behaviors are appropriate when they are off the clock and not working. When a nurse in South Dakota violates one of these standards, the South Dakota Board of Nursing is quick to resolve the issue. It is incredibly important that you respond to any accusations in a succinct and timely manner, or you could be punished unnecessarily, which may include losing your nursing license altogether.
Hiring an attorney-advisor who knows how difficult these proceedings can be, is the best way to ensure you are not only fully prepared to defend yourself but that you are aware of all possible outcomes of the case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team understand the stress you are facing and have spent years helping professionals across the country protect themselves from unnecessarily harsh disciplinary actions. Call Lento Law Firm today for help.
South Dakota Board of Nursing License Proceedings
The South Dakota Board of Nursing supervises all licensing processes for nurses, including disciplinary issues. If a nurse is accused of disobeying a rule or law, the Board will examine the complaint and decide if the nurse is responsible for the misconduct. The Board will also decide what kind of sanction the nurse should receive if they are found responsible. For example, if a licensed practicing nurse is accused - and subsequently found responsible for - working as a nurse when their license is invalid because it was not renewed on time, the Board has every right to deny their license for renewal or revoke their license altogether.
Finding the rules and regulations that nurses are supposed to abide by can be hard, which makes it all the more difficult to know what conduct is okay and what is not. Being accused of violating the rules becomes even more frustrating when you don't know exactly what they are. How are you supposed to defend yourself against disciplinary action? Attorney-advisor Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help identify the regulations your license is subject to and will not only ensure you understand the charges against you but also the due process rights you are entitled to.
Types of Nursing Licenses in South Dakota
There are several types of nursing licenses available in South Dakota, including licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and advanced practical registered nurse (APRN). All of these licenses have differing fees and continuing education requirements associated with them.
If you are unable to renew your license in the appropriate window because you either forgot the renewal date was coming up, or you failed to take the appropriate amount of continuing education courses, your license will become invalid. Practicing with an invalid nursing license in South Dakota is against the Board - and state's - regulations and could result in disciplinary action.
Losing your South Dakota nursing license does not just affect your immediate life; it affects your life in the future as well. If the Board revokes your license or disciplines you in some other way, it will affect how you are able to get work going forward. For example, if your license is revoked in South Dakota, but you move to Wyoming and reapply for a license, you will likely have to make a case to the Board in that state for why you should receive a new license. Additionally, if you are unsuccessful, it could mean not working as a nurse ever again. Protect your future by retaining Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team.
Nursing License Compact in South Dakota
South Dakota was one of the first states to join the original Nursing License Compact in 2001. It then joined the Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC) in 2018. The eNLC was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to stop all the confusion nurses had around their state regulations and what conduct was expected of them. To do so, they worked through every state's conduct, educational, and fee requirements and organized a more streamlined approach to licensing.
The hope is that the eNLC gives patients greater access to healthcare and reduces costs to insurance companies, hospitals, and patients. Additionally, the eNLC allows travel nurses, who fill contracts for certain periods of time in different states, to move freely without having to waste time applying for new licenses. Sadly, though, opponents of the eNLC think it is preventing them from collecting state revenue that single-state licenses would allow and that it is impacting the growth of telemedicine and telenursing, influencing patient confidentiality, and hindering the state from properly managing disciplinary actions.
In response to the concerned state legislators, the NCSBN created the online database and notification system, Nursys. Nursys allows nurses and states to look up licenses to determine if they are valid when they need to be renewed, and if there are any disciplinary actions against the license in question. Not only does this system help nurses stay on top of their licenses, but it helps the state boards ensure their nurses are licensed and qualified, as well as lets them create and follow the disciplinary process for an accused nurse. For example, if a complaint is lodged against a nurse in South Dakota, the Board can look up the nurse's license on Nursys and initiate disciplinary action if necessary.
Since its induction, over 40 states and territories have joined the eNLC, save for Connecticut, California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and the Mariana Islands. If you have an eNLC multistate license and are notified of a complaint stating you violated one of South Dakota's professional rules for nurses, an attorney-advisor can craft a strategic defense on your behalf to make sure you are not being punished unnecessarily and prevented from working in multiple states.
What Types of Allegations Can Put a Nurse's License at Risk?
Like all professions, nurses are supposed to follow specific ethical and professional rules while practicing in South Dakota. If a complaint is made against you for violating one of these rules, the South Dakota Board of Nursing has every right to discipline you if they find you are responsible for the misconduct. Sometimes, though, disciplinary actions include the application of conditions or restrictions to your license, which could prevent you from renewing your license if the Board finds you did not meet those conditions or abide by those restrictions. Moreover, the Board could decide to suspend or revoke your license for repeated misconduct or conduct so egregious that such harsh sanctions are the only option. This is why it is so important to work with an attorney-advisor the moment you learn of the accusations being lodged against you. Working with Attorney-advisor Lento and his Team can mean the difference between having the accusations voided and the complaint dropped and losing your nursing license completely.
Under South Dakota legislation, nurses of any license level are barred from the following conduct:
- Committing fraud, deceit, or misrepresenting themselves in some way while getting or attempting to get a license.
- Being convicted of a felony.
- Practicing nursing under a false, incorrect, or fake name that is not registered or impersonating a nurse with a valid license.
- Committing an alcohol or drug-related offense or act that prevents the nurse from practicing safely.
- Intentionally, willfully, or negligently acting in a way that puts another person that was placed in the nurse's care at risk of harm or some other safety issue.
- Having their license revoked, denied, suspended, or some other disciplinary action in another state, territory, or foreign country.
- Disobeying any of the rules in either of the South Dakota Codified Laws that govern RN, LPN, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists, or the ones that govern certified nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives.
- Helping another person who is unlicensed or uncertified in practicing nursing.
- Practicing nursing when your license or application is lapsed, inactive, suspended, or revoked.
- Providing substandard care or practicing unsafe nursing.
- Using the nurse-patient relationship to influence the patient into sexual activity.
- Participating in gross sexual harassment or sexual contact with a patient, their family members, hospital or medical office staff, or any other person around.
- Having a physical or mental condition that endangers the health or safety of the nurse's patients or anyone else in their care.
- Behaving unprofessionally or dishonorably, such as failing to maintain patient confidentiality, abandoning or neglecting a patient who requires immediate care, failing to maintain professional boundaries with a patient, resident, or their family members, or stealing from patients, their families, the hospital, or other staff members.
If a nurse is found responsible for any of the conduct listed above, the South Dakota Board of Nursing will more than likely punish them. But that doesn't mean that that is the end of the matter. In some cases, the Board may believe the behavior so egregious that it should be referred for criminal charges. If so, they will refer it to the state - or federal - law enforcement. Law enforcement officials will review the issue and determine if criminal charges should be pursued. In other cases, the family or individual patient may decide to pursue a civil suit against the nurse and medical facility or believe the nurse should be charged with a criminal offense and report it to their own local law enforcement agency.
Either way, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can not only help you navigate the Board's disciplinary proceedings but, if necessary, the criminal and civil ones as well. Having an experienced attorney-advisor on your side through all of the proceedings will make for a better, more clear-cut defense that is sure to guarantee the best possible outcome in each venue.
Exemptions to Nursing Statutes in South Dakota
South Dakota has enacted a Good Samaritan law that prevents individuals who give emergency care, in good faith, from being civilly charged. Under this law, nurses, or any other person, cannot be pursued for civil damages because of their actions (or inactions) that resulted from providing emergency care and services at the site of an emergency. For example, if you see a car accident and do not stop to help, you cannot be sued for not helping. Additionally, if you do stop and provide emergency care, such as CPR, which cracks the individual's ribs and punctures their lung, which ultimately causes their death, you cannot be sued by their family for malpractice.
The Good Samaritan law does not protect nurses who are found to have behaved with willful or purposeful negligence. This means that if you are accused of such action during an emergency, you will have to ensure your argument includes a direct defense to such accusations using the Good Samaritan law. Your skilled attorney-advisor will know how to pursue this defense on your behalf.
What is the Disciplinary Process for South Dakota Nurses?
In South Dakota, all healthcare employees and facilities are required to report nurses for disciplinary action if they know or have a reasonable suspicion that a nurse is violating the professional and ethical standards of their license. Once a complaint is received by the Board, they will investigate it to see if it falls within their legal jurisdiction. If they determine that the complaint does not fall within their jurisdiction - that it doesn't fall within any of the grounds listed above, it will be dismissed.
However, if it does fall within one of the grounds for review or discipline, the Board will investigate it, which might include an informal interview with the nurse in question. Present at the interview may be Board staff, attorneys, and the nurse in question. According to South Dakota law, all nurses who are being accused of something have the right to be notified of the complaint and given a copy of it for their own records. The moment you get a copy of this complaint, you should reach out to an attorney-advisor with experience helping nurses avoid disciplinary actions. Attorney-advisor Lento and his Team will state mounting your defense prior to your informal interview with the investigator to try and nip the issue in the bud before it goes to a hearing.
After the investigation, if the Board believes there is enough preliminary evidence to continue, the case will be referred to the Board's Compliance Committee. The Compliance Committee will review the matter and propose a settlement to the case at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Board will decide if the settlement should be accepted at the following Board meeting. But if the settlement is rejected, the Board will hold a Contested Case Hearing.
During the Contested Case Hearing, the accused nurse and the other party will have a chance to present their arguments. Attorney-advisor Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team will create a solid defense on your behalf that includes relevant evidence and witness testimony to support your argument. Once you have presented your side fully, you will have the chance to cross-examine the other party's evidence and witness testimony.
At the end of the Contested Case Hearing, the Board will review the arguments and determine whether you are responsible for the accused misconduct. If found responsible, they will also impose specific sanctions, which are usually denial for reapplication or renewal, revocation of the license, or suspension of a license or application.
It is incredibly important to take Board's disciplinary charges and proceedings seriously. You have worked so hard to become a nurse, and being prevented from practicing will affect your life in the long run. Not only will you be prevented from practicing nursing in South Dakota, but you will likely be stopped from practicing in any other state. Moreover, certain conduct accusations could result in criminal or civil proceedings. Having Attorney-advisor Lento and his Team in your corner will prevent you from experiencing unnecessarily harsh consequences.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in South Dakota
Sometimes, the Board of Nursing will lack the resources to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the complaint. Unfortunately, this means that they could miss some sort of evidence or testimony that would lessen the charges against you - or have them dropped completely. All nurses have the right to face their accuser, the right to defend themselves, and the right to an attorney. When the Board fails to provide these simple due process rights, they run the risk of invalidating their own determinations.
Working with Attorney-advisor Lento and his Team will ensure the Board does its job fully and doesn't drop the ball. Those due process rights are mandatory, and the Board cannot fail to provide them without being fined or punished themselves. Therefore, it is a very big deal when they do forget them and should be held accountable for such a failure.
The Nature of South Dakota Board of Nursing Charges
All disciplinary actions enforced by the South Dakota Board of Nursing are not the same as a criminal conviction or a civil penalty. So, when you are charged with a violation, your punishment is different from those that would be imposed by the federal or state government. However, there are cases where the Board will refer the matter to federal or state law enforcement, who may decide that the conduct violation also consists of a criminal or civil law violation. When this happens, law enforcement officials may bring other charges against you.
Criminal and civil charges can affect more than just your nursing license. Instead of having to worry about losing your license, you could be facing a loss of freedom. This is why it is so important to contact an attorney-advisor the moment you learn of these accusations. Attorney-advisor Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team will review the accusations and determine what steps to take next to mitigate the possibility of a criminal or civil charge. Whatever they discover, it will influence how they craft your defense.
How Lento Law Firm Professional Licensing Defense Team Can Help
Becoming a nurse in South Dakota is no easy or inexpensive feat. Not only do you have to pass difficult courses and endure stressful examinations, but you also have to pay considerable fees to keep your license up to date. This is why being accused of violating one of the South Dakota Board of Nursing's rules can be so overwhelming, particularly when it comes as a surprise.
The regulations that manage nursing licenses in South Dakota are often hard to find and confusing to review. Moreover, many nurses are subject to unfair complaints that arise out of complicated circumstances. Telling your side of the story is the only way to prevent disciplinary action from upsetting your world.
Working with Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is the most effective way to ensure you are prepared to defend yourself. Not only will they work tirelessly to prevent you from suffering from any unnecessary punishments, but they will ensure the Board provides you with the due process rights you are entitled to, including a fair and just trial and access to appeals proceedings if necessary Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.