We Can Help if Your Virginia Nurse's License Is in Jeopardy
If you are a Virginia-licensed nurse facing license disciplinary charges, you are likely concerned and indeed should be. License disciplinary proceedings threaten professional practice, whether for a nurse, another healthcare professional, or professionals in other fields. The nurse facing disciplinary charges for alleged misconduct could lose the license to suspension or revocation and thus lose the nursing job and career.
The point, though, is not the depth of your concern. The point is instead of the quality of your response and wisdom of your actions. If you face Virginia Board of Nursing disciplinary charges, retain highly qualified professional license defense representation. Retaining a local criminal defense lawyer who is unfamiliar with administrative license hearings may hurt more than help. Instead, retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento to answer and address your nursing license misconduct charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the skilled and experienced representation you need for your best outcome to Virginia nurse licensing disciplinary charges.
Virginia Board of Nursing License Proceedings
The Virginia Board of Nursing regulates licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners, including nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, nurse aides, advanced certified nurse aides, clinical nurse specialists, and medication aides. Virginia's Nurse Practice Act establishes the Virginia Board of Nursing to establish and enforce minimum standards for each of those nursing licenses. The Act's Section 54.1-3007 specifically authorizes the Board to suspend or revoke a nursing license, censure or reprimand the nurse, or place the nurse on probation with terms and conditions for any violation of the Board's nursing standards. The Board of Nursing has further promulgated exhaustive regulations governing nursing practice in the state.
Virginia-licensed nurses practice in a heavily regulated and closely monitored environment. Virginia's Department of Health Professions publishes in quarterly reports dozens of nursing license revocations and suspensions. As a nurse facing Virginia disciplinary charges, your job and career are at risk. The FBI's Operation Nightingale, naming thousands of nurses who allegedly presented fraudulent nursing credentials for licensure, has increased that disciplinary scrutiny, including on Virginia nurses. If you face Virginia disciplinary charges, your best move is to retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for strategic and effective defense.
Virginia Board of Nursing Rules and Standards
State law, not federal law or local regulations, governs your Virginia nursing practice, nursing license, and the procedures under which the Virginia Board of Nursing will determine disciplinary charges. Virginia's Nurse Practice Act states separate qualification requirements for each nursing license type. The Act's Section 54.1-3017, for instance, lists registered nurse (RN) requirements, including the requisite education, passing the NCLEX licensing exam, and committing "no acts which are grounds for disciplinary action as set forth in this chapter." The Act lists similar requirements for the other nursing license types.
The Virginia Board of Nursing's administrative regulations detail those rules and standards for nursing licensure in the state. 18 Virginia Administrative Code Section 90-19-80, for instance, requires that licensees also meet the national Nurse Licensure Compact requirements. For your effective defense of Virginia disciplinary charges, you need to retain our highly qualified Professional License Defense Team's attorney-advisors who not just know these rules and standards but also know how to strategically invoke the Virginia Board of Nursing's disciplinary procedures set forth in the same statutes and regulations.
Valuing Your Virginia Board of Nursing License
You may not devote appropriate time, attention, and resources to your Virginia nursing license's defense unless you first appreciate the value of your Virginia nursing license to you, your family, your employer, and your community. To say that you invested a lot in your nursing education would be an understatement. Your years of education, many clinical course hours, and arduous NCLEX exam required your complete devotion. But graduating, qualifying for the NCLEX, obtaining your nursing license, and actually beginning nursing practice for an appreciative employer have proven that you have what it takes. Your nursing job also proves the financial value of your investment. Now, project that value to the end of your nursing career to appreciate the full value of your Virginia nursing license. And don't just consider your license's monetary value. Also, consider the personal and professional advantages your licensure grants. You have every reason to retain the best available representation, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team.
What Virginia Board of Nursing Disciplinary Charges Mean
Don't despair if you face Virginia Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Disciplinary charges are not the same as a disciplinary determination. The disciplinary officials who receive complaints against nurses do not evaluate all the evidence. They instead take allegations largely at face value, giving the accused nurse the opportunity to respond. The disciplinary official who issued your charges is waiting to hear from you, likely expecting exonerating or mitigating explanations. Disciplinary officials know the challenges of nursing practice, including that patients and their family members will complain inaccurately, without factual basis, about things that do not amount to violations of nursing standards. Officials also know that nurses are not perfect and that they often have mitigating reasons why they did as they did. So don't despair. Instead, trust Virginia's disciplinary process. And more so, retain and trust our highly qualified Professional License Defense Team. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain our premier representation for your best possible outcome.
The Nature of Virginia Board of Nursing Disciplinary Charges
You may not fully appreciate the nature of the disciplinary charges you face. Virginia Board of Nursing disciplinary charges initiate administrative proceedings, not court proceedings. Disciplinary charges are not criminal court charges or civil court claims of your liability. Disciplinary charges proceed before an administrative hearing official or panel of officials, likely with nursing credentials and experience, not before a jury of your lay peers. Your administrative license proceeding has different rules and procedures from court rules and procedures, often less formal but still highly technical and precise. Your administrative license proceeding is also all about your license, not, as in the case of criminal charges, about your freedom from jail or prison, and not, as in the case of civil court claims, about your monetary liability. But don't underestimate the potential impact of a poorly handled administrative license proceeding with a bad outcome: you could lose your nursing license, job, and career. Defend your Virginia nursing license by retaining our skilled and experienced License Defense Team.
Increased Stakes of Virginia Board of Nursing Charges
By legislative action, Virginia is among the thirty-nine states that participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact. You likely know that your Virginia nursing license qualifies you to practice, as a licensed practice nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN) although not in other nursing specialties, in other Compact states. Multistate licensure through the Compact can be a tremendous advantage for a nurse who may need or want to move from state to state following professional or personal life goals and changes. But the same multistate advantage when licensing becomes a multistate disadvantage when facing license discipline. If the Virginia Board of Nursing revokes or suspends your nursing license, disciplinary officials will enter that license discipline in the Compact's national Nursys database. Licensing officials and employers in other states will learn of your license discipline and refuse your nursing practice. In short, Virginia discipline can mean losing your nursing career, whether you intend to practice anywhere in the United States.
What Allegations Put a Virginia Nursing License at Risk?
All professionals, not just nurses, can face common license disciplinary issues. Nurses, though, also face license issues unique to their field. Healthcare, generally, and nursing in particular, simply expose practicing professionals to additional, unique disciplinary risks. Section 54.1-3007 of Virginia's Nurse Practice Act authorizes the Board of Nursing to discipline nurses for any of the following forms of misconduct. Some of these categories are exceptionally broad, giving disciplinary officials discretion to charge virtually any departure from nursing norms. Retain our highly qualified License Defense Team's representation if you face any of the following charges.
Virginia Board of Nursing Fraud Charges
The Nurse Practice Act's first category of misconduct has to do with "fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license, certificate, or registration…." The FBI's Operation Nightingale, identifying over 7,600 nurses who allegedly presented fraudulent nursing credentials to sit for the NCLEX and for licensure, is an example. But false statements or misleading omissions on a license application or renewal application about any material thing, such as criminal convictions, civil lawsuits, or hospitalization or treatment for mental disability, could also constitute prohibited fraud. Section 90-19-230 of the Virginia Board of Nursing's administrative regulations defines fraud to include not just filing false credentials but also "falsely representing facts on an application for initial license, reinstatement, or renewal of a license" and "giving or receiving assistance in the taking of the licensing examination." Beware of disciplinary charges involving credentials issues.
Virginia Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct Charges
The Nurse Practice Act's second category of misconduct has to do simply with "unprofessional conduct…." Unprofessional conduct charges can be especially subjective, exposing the accused nurse to the whims and interpretations of disciplinary officials with their own customs and expectations, different in some cases from the accused nurse's education, training, or practice experience. The Act does not further define unprofessional conduct. But Section 90-19-230 of the Virginia Board of Nursing's administrative regulations defines unprofessional conduct to include:
- performing acts beyond the limits of the practice of professional or practical nursing;
- assuming duties and responsibilities within the practice of nursing without adequate training or when competency has not been maintained;
- obtaining supplies, equipment, or drugs for personal or other unauthorized use;
- employing or assigning unqualified persons to perform functions that require a licensed practitioner of nursing;
- falsifying or otherwise altering patient, employer, student, or educational program records, including falsely representing facts on a job application or other employment-related documents;
- abusing, neglecting, or abandoning patients or clients;
- delegating nursing tasks to an unlicensed person;
- giving to or accepting from a patient or client property or money for any reason other than fee for service or a nominal token of appreciation;
- obtaining money or property of a patient or client by fraud, misrepresentation, or duress;
- entering into a relationship with a patient or client that constitutes a professional boundary violation in which the nurse uses the professional position to take advantage of the vulnerability of a patient, client, or family member;
- actions that result in personal gain at the expense of the patient or client;
- nontherapeutic personal involvement or sexual conduct with a patient or client;
- violating state laws relating to the privacy of patient information;
- providing false information to staff or board members in the course of an investigation or proceeding;
- failing to report evidence of child abuse or neglect and elder abuse or neglect; and
- engaging in conversion therapy with a person younger than 18 years of age.
Virginia Board of Nursing Criminal Misconduct
The Nurse Practice Act's next category of misconduct has to do with "conviction of any felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude…." Those convictions may include crimes of violence threatening patient safety, property crimes threatening a patient's or employer's assets, or crimes of dishonesty like embezzlement, criminal conversion, and retail or insurance fraud implicating a nurse's accurate recordkeeping and reporting obligations. If you face criminal charges involving moral turpitude, retain highly qualified license defense counsel before resolving those criminal charges to ensure that you are properly considering their effect on your Virginia nursing license.
Virginia Board of Nursing Endangering Misconduct
The Nurse Practice Act's next categories of misconduct have to do with "practicing in a manner contrary to the standards of ethics or in such a manner as to make his practice a danger to the health and welfare of patients or to the public." A similar provision addresses "abuse, negligent practice, or misappropriation of a patient's or resident's property." Patient abuse and neglect allegations can be the most critical to defend with highly qualified counsel, given that disciplinary officials will take these allegations most seriously.
Virginia Board of Nursing Substance Abuse Misconduct
The Nurse Practice Act's next category of misconduct involves "use of alcohol or drugs to the extent that such use renders him unsafe to practice, or any mental or physical illness rendering him unsafe to practice…." Suspected alcohol or drug abuse may arise from drunk driving charges or observations of patients or colleagues. But adverse reactions to prescription medication, overwork, or personal stress can contribute to mistaken charges or give mitigating context to supported charges. And the Virginia Department of Health Professions offers a Health Practitioners' Monitoring Program that may divert substance abuse charges for education, counseling, and treatment. Again, though, retain highly qualified counsel to defend serious allegations of substance abuse affecting practice. Don't accept a monitoring program assignment that may curtail or severely limit your nursing practice while setting you up for failure and future license revocation. Get our wise counsel to review any alternative disposition program.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Virginia Nurses?
The Virginia Department of Health Professions publishes disciplinary procedures addressing the discipline of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Those procedures follow Virginia's Administrative Process Act. The Department's Enforcement Division carries out disciplinary investigations and prosecutions. While these administrative disciplinary procedures are complex, our Professional License Defense Team can strategically invoke these procedures for your best defense. Your protection is a significant part of the procedures' purpose, which is to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process. The procedures are generally as follows.
Virginia Board of Nursing Complaints
Anyone can file a complaint with the Enforcement Division against a Virginia nurse. Patients and their family members are common sources. But colleagues and employers may also have statutory or ethical duties to report suspected nursing misconduct. And Board of Nursing officials may also monitor criminal charges, media reports, and professional sources for disciplinary issues. Once the Enforcement Division receives a complaint, a staff member evaluates it for potential merit, assigning it for investigation or dismissing it depending on that evaluation.
Virginia Board of Nursing Investigations
If the Enforcement Division finds potential merit in a complaint, it will assign a staff member to investigate. The investigator collects witness statements, documentary evidence, public reports, and other information to assemble into an investigative report. The investigator shares the report with Virginia Board of Nursing disciplinary officials for their review and evaluation. The investigator may contact you for information, or you may hear of the investigation from your employer or other sources. Retain our highly qualified defense counsel as soon as you learn of an investigation against your license. Your retained counsel may be able to supply the investigator with evidence, analyses, and interpretations convincing the investigator to produce a favorable report recommending dismissal of the charges.
Virginia Board of Nursing Formal Complaints
If the Virginia Board of Nursing determines from the investigation report to pursue disciplinary charges, then the Virginia Administrative Proceedings Division will notify you of the charges. An assistant attorney general will represent the Board of Nursing in pursuing the charges through administrative procedures before an administrative hearing officer. You must respond to notice of disciplinary charges or risk default. Retain our highly qualified defense attorney advisors as soon as receiving notice. Our retained counsel will ensure your timely answer raising all available defenses. Our retained counsel may also reach out to the assigned attorney general or other disciplinary officials with your exonerating and mitigating evidence, seeking an early favorable resolution without a hearing.
Virginia Board of Nursing Formal Hearings
If your disciplinary case does not resolve at the complaint, investigation, or notice stages, your case will proceed to a formal hearing before an administrative hearing officer. Virginia's Administrative Process Act sets forth detailed administrative hearing rules both for pre-hearing procedures and the hearing itself. Those rules permit you to retain and rely on our own Professional License Defense Team attorneys throughout the proceeding. Our defense attorney advisors may attend pre-hearing conferences to advocate for charge dismissal while sharing your exonerating and mitigating evidence. Our retained attorney advisors will also research, draft, and file hearing briefs arguing the law and evidence, again seeking dismissal of the charges. If the case proceeds to a hearing, our retained defense attorney advisors may present your witnesses and evidence while cross-examining the Board's witnesses and challenging incriminating evidence. The hearing officer must make a written decision on the charges detailing supporting grounds and preserve a record of the proceedings for limited court review.
Virginia Board of Nursing Consent Agreements
The Virginia Board of Nursing may, through its assigned assistant attorney general, offer you a consent agreement for the resolution of the disciplinary charges. Our retained defense attorney advisors may alternatively propose a consent agreement with your approval. A consent agreement avoids a formal hearing and discipline. The consent agreement would contain terms and conditions satisfying the Board that you are competent and fit for safe nursing practice. While a consent agreement could be your best option, that evaluation depends on the terms and conditions. In the worst case, a consent agreement will include terms and conditions that the accused nurse cannot readily meet. Consent agreements routinely include a term that violation of the agreement may lead to license revocation. Don't let disciplinary officials set you up for failure with an unfair consent agreement. Retain our highly qualified counsel to closely review and advise you on any proposed consent agreement.
Why You Need Our Nursing License Defense Attorney in Virginia
The Virginia Board of Nursing, Department of Health Professions Enforcement Division, and Administrative Proceedings Division all have unlimited resources. They also all employ career disciplinary officials who know exactly what they are doing to implicate nurses charged with misconduct. You must retain our highly qualified Professional License Defense Team attorney advisors to level the playing field. Otherwise, if attempting your self-representation, you are at a tremendous disadvantage.
Virginia nursing license disciplinary officials need also prove their misconduct allegations only by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not. That low proof standard means that our retained attorney advisors must come forward with at least as much evidence as the Enforcement Division presents against you. You cannot rely on raising doubt about the Enforcement Division's evidence, as a criminal defense lawyer might in a criminal case where the prosecutor must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Disciplinary procedures do not presume you are innocent. You must instead come forward with evidence to at least meet the charge. That's why you need our highly qualified Professional License Defense Team attorney advisors.
License Defense Team for Virginia Board or Nursing Charges
Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to respond to your Virginia Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Do as hundreds of other professionals nationwide have done, trusting the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.