Wisconsin Agency Nurse License Defense

Agency nurses in Wisconsin provide an incredibly valuable service to the community. However, being an agency nurse can be difficult with long hours, significant physical demands, and frequent stressful and emotional situations. As an agency nurse, you work tirelessly for countless patients, likely changing facilities and facing long drives to meet nursing demands throughout the state. Through all this, you consistently put the needs of your patients above your own. Despite this unwavering dedication and commitment, agency nurses rarely receive the appreciation they deserve, whether it be from patients or their loved ones.  

When you have dedicated your life to caring for others, it is normal to be surprised and even scared to learn a complaint has been filed against you and your agency nursing license, and you may be facing disciplinary action. While you are used to and excel at handling stress on a daily basis, disciplinary action can bring on a whole different type of anxiety since this entire thing is out of your area of expertise. Fortunately, this is in the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team's wheelhouse. You don't need to understand the ins and outs of the agency nursing license disciplinary process because our Team does. We will walk you through the entire process and show you how to respond to the allegations against you. 

Allegations against your agency nursing license must be taken seriously, even for the slightest infraction. Ignoring the problem or assuming the investigation against you will go nowhere is dangerous and will have serious consequences. Failing to respond to and cooperate with the Wisconsin Board of Nursing in a timely manner (30 days) is in itself grounds for the Board of Nursing to take disciplinary action against you and your license. Even if the allegation against you is false, you must address these allegations head-on. The Lento Law Firm has helped nurses throughout the state of Wisconsin retain their agency nursing license, reduce disciplinary actions, and help mitigate the short- and long-term consequences of the allegations and disciplinary action. Call our Professional License Defense Team today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online

Wisconsin Agency Nurse Regulatory Bodies 

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Wisconsin Board of Nursing regulate the practice of nursing in the state. The Department of Safety and Professional Services works to ensure the safety and competent practice of all licensed professionals, over 200, in Wisconsin. It also provides centralized administrative services to nearly 100 professional boards, including the Board of Nursing. Because this Department supports the Board of Nursing, you will likely interact with them during the disciplinary process.  

The Board of Nursing comprises nine members serving four-year terms: five registered nurses (RNs), two licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and two public members. The Governor appoints the members and must be confirmed by the Wisconsin Legislature. The purpose of the Board of Nursing is to protect the public through licensure, education, legislation, and discipline. Their jurisdiction covers RNs, LPNs, and advanced practice nurse prescribers (APNPs).  

Wisconsin Agency Nurse Laws and Regulations  

A few main laws and regulations govern agency nurses in Wisconsin, the disciplinary process against them, and the repercussions of these actions. These laws and regulations include:  

Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act   

The Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act details the professional, ethical, and legal standards nurses must adhere to while practicing nursing under their Wisconsin license. The purpose of the law is to protect the public from nurses who present a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The law contains information on the Board of Nursing, licensure processes, disciplinary proceedings, and more.  

Wisconsin Administrative Code  

The Wisconsin Administrative Code includes a section on the Board of Nursing and a specific chapter on the rules of conduct for nurses. This chapter outlines the Board of Nursing's authority to take disciplinary action against an agency nurse and the grounds for which the Board of Nursing can take such action.  

Nurse Licensure Compact  

The Nurse Licensure Compact is a national database in which state nursing boards can participate, allowing them to share information to verify nurse licensure, discipline, and practice privileges. The Wisconsin Board of Nursing, as allowed under the Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act, is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows agency nurses to practice in other participating states without obtaining additional state nursing licenses. The Nurse Licensure Compact aims to increase access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level.  

Wisconsin Agency Nurse License Disciplinary Actions  

When taking disciplinary action against an agency nurse, the Board of Nursing must only take non-punitive disciplinary actions. This means that disciplinary action cannot be taken for the purpose of punishing the nurse. Disciplinary actions are taken to protect public safety, rehabilitate and support the agency nurse, and discourage other agency nurses from participating in the same behavior. Cases can take a long time to resolve; the Department of Safety and Professional Services claims that, on average, cases are resolved within 11 months, with its goal being to resolve cases within 18 months. While every case can play out differently, the disciplinary process for agency nurses generally looks like this:  


Complaints against agency nurses are submitted to the Department of Safety and Professional Services through either its online form or by mailing the form to the Department's Division of Legal Services and Compliance. Complaints can be filed anonymously, but the Department discourages this practice and cannot guarantee anonymity. Without identifying the person submitting the complaint, the agency nurse will be unable to respond sufficiently to the matter.  

The complaint and any accompanying information will be reviewed by the Division of Legal Services and Compliance and the Board of Nursing Screening Panel to determine if the complaint has merit and if an investigation is warranted; if so, a case is opened; if not, the case will be closed.  


The Department of Safety and Professional Services will assign an investigator and an attorney to the case, and the two will develop an investigative plan. The investigator will collect evidence and conduct interviews with the parties and witnesses. A member of the Board of Nursing will be brought in to consult as needed to provide their professional expertise. When the investigation is completed, the Department will decide if the case warrants professional discipline or can be closed.  

Legal Action 

Department of Safety and Professional Services calls this next stage 'legal action," but it doesn't mean legal action in the way you might think; the Board of Nursing won't be hauling you into a courtroom or off to jail at any point in the legal action stage. During this step, the Department and the Board of Nursing will review the investigation findings and decide if disciplinary action or any other alternative is appropriate. During the legal action phase, cases can be resolved in a few ways: through stipulated agreements (i.e., a settlement agreement), informal settlement conferences, or administrative warnings (discussed in greater detail below). Essentially, this is the stage where your Lento Law Firm attorney will negotiate with the Department and the Board of Nursing to get you the most favorable outcome possible. Ideally, your case will be resolved at this stage; otherwise, it will go to the hearing stage.  

Administrative Hearing  

Hearings are formal legal proceedings before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The hearing is similar to litigation in court, which you may be familiar with. You would never go into court without an attorney, and you should never go into an administrative hearing without your Lento Law Firm attorney. An attorney from the Department of Safety and Professional Services will present the opposing side's case before the ALJ.  

You will be provided a Notice of Hearing; once you receive this document, you have 20 days to respond with what is called an Answer. Your Lento Law Firm attorney will represent you in front of the ALJ. They will be the ones to write and submit your Answer as well as other filings, participating in discovery and all other aspects of the administrative hearing process. If you do not file an Answer within the allotted time, you will be found "in default," meaning you have admitted guilt to the allegations in the complaint.  

At least one prehearing conference will be scheduled. During the prehearing conference, the ALJ will ask the attorneys which facts they agree to, clear up any misunderstandings, review the timeline for exchanging documents and identifying witnesses, and set a schedule for the proceedings.  

Throughout the time before the hearing, the ALJ will encourage the parties to reach a settlement. Your Lento Law Firm attorney can continue settlement negotiations as they prepare for the hearings. Once evidence and witnesses have been disclosed, parties tend to feel they have enough information to settle and a better idea of realistic settlement options. Your Lento Law Firm attorney will walk you through all the options, and you can decide what you feel comfortable with, knowing there is always the option to proceed with the hearing as scheduled.  

At the hearing, both sides will present their case just like a normal jury trial. This involves presenting evidence through documentation, witnesses, cross- and direct examination, and more. Your Lento Law Firm attorney does not have to prove your innocence; the burden of proof is on the opposing party.  

While a hearing may seem like any other court case, the procedures and rules can differ greatly from those in court. For example, there are different timelines for filing and rules of evidence, meaning what is and is not admissible to bring before the ALJ. Having an attorney familiar with administrative proceedings is crucial to prevail in your hearing; the Lento Law Firm has successfully represented numerous nurses in administrative proceedings.  


The Department and the Board of Nursing have the authority to take both disciplinary and non-disciplinary actions against an agency nurse. The severity of the crime will heavily determine the action that the Board of Nursing takes and, honestly, your attorney's ability to negotiate with the Board of Nursing and the area where the Lento Law Firm succeeds. Actions the Board of Nursing has the authority to take are:  

Administrative Warning  

An administrative warning is considered a non-disciplinary action. It is issued when the violation is minor; this is the agency nurse's first violation of this nature, and the warning will adequately protect the public. Administrative warnings themselves are not publicly disclosed, but the issuance of them is, meaning the public can see that you have received an administrative warning but cannot see the reason you received the warning.  

Remedial Education Order  

Like an administrative warning, a remedial education order is also not a disciplinary action. These are issued when the Department and the Board of Nursing believe that the agency nurse's violation results from an educational deficiency and can be remedied with additional education while still sufficiently protecting the public.  


A reprimand cites the agency nurse for their violation and is a warning to the public of the agency nurse's violation. Unlike an administrative warning, the reasoning for the reprimand is publicly available within the warning. Reprimands are disciplinary actions. 

Limitation of License  

Limiting the license of an agency nurse is another disciplinary action the Board of Nursing may take. Limiting an agency nurse's license can include imposing conditions and requirements on the agency nurse, restricting their scope of practice, or both.  


Suspension of the agency nurse's license means their license is completely withdrawn, and they are prevented from practicing nursing in any capacity for a set period of time.  


When the Department and the Board of Nursing revoke an agency nurse's license, they completely and absolutely terminate their credentials and all rights, privileges, and authority to practice nursing.  


If you are unhappy with the determination by the ALJ and the Board of Nursing, you have the right to an appeal. An order from an ALJ might seem like the end of the line, but it is not the time to give up hope and stop fighting. It is common for cases to receive a more favorable outcome on appeal. Even if you have not been represented by an attorney or a Lento Law Firm attorney, our Team can help. We frequently join disciplinary actions at the appeal stage and have gotten them a better outcome.  

If you choose to appeal, you will have a short window of time to submit an appeal. If you choose to do so, your Lento Law Firm attorney will file the appeal in court in the appropriate jurisdiction.  

Allegations That Can Threaten Your Wisconsin Agency Nursing License  

Under Wisconsin law, a whole laundry list of actions can threaten your agency nursing license. These actions range from administrative actions to physically harming a patient, including, but not limited to, the following:  

  • Practicing beyond the scope of practice permitted by law  
  • Failing to notify the board of a felony or misdemeanor within 40 hours after the entry of the judgment  
  • Failing to report any violation of relevant nursing laws and regulations conducted by another licensed nursing  
  • Practicing nursing while under the influence of alcohol drugs or while impaired when using legitimately prescribed medications  
  • Knowingly, recklessly, or negligently sharing confidential patient information  
  • Misappropriating money or property from a patient or their family  
  • Physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing a patient  
  • Failing to maintain professional boundaries with a patient  
  • Accepting gifts which are more than minimal value or any cash from a patient or patient's family 
  • Submitting false claims  
  • Engaging in fraudulent billing practices  
  • Misrepresenting their credentials  
  • Failing to conform to the minimal standards of accepting nursing practice may create an unnecessary risk or danger to a patient's life, health, or safety 
  • Prescribing, dispensing, or administering any drug other than in the course of legitimate practice  
  • Obtaining, possessing, or attempting to obtain or possess a drug without lawful authority  
  • Any violation of relevant nursing laws, regulations, and Board of Nursing guidance 

Regardless of the allegation against you, you can be sure that the Board of Nursing will thoroughly investigate any and all allegations against you.  

Consequences of Disciplinary Action Against Your Agency Nursing License 

Unfortunately, there are many consequences you can suffer after facing disciplinary action. Rarely will the side effects of disciplinary action end with the disciplinary action itself. Having a restricted, suspended, or revoked license can have an immediate impact on your livelihood. There is no way your employer has managed to stay in the dark throughout the disciplinary process, and you can expect your employment will be greatly affected or even terminated as a result.  

As you know, when disciplinary action is taken against your agency nursing license, it will become public immediately. Because Wisconsin is in the Nurse Licensure Compact, that disciplinary action will be entered into the database. Any disciplinary action taken in Wisconsin will impact and likely prevent you from practicing nursing in any other state. Even states that do not participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact can readily access your disciplinary history and licensure status through other national licensure verification and disciplinary action databases, including Nursys. Even if your license is reinstated, there will be a stigma against you for this disciplinary action, and it will be publicly available forever. 

Disciplinary action against your license also leads to professional and personal reputational damage. Losing the respect of your colleagues, supervisors, mentors, and patients is a lot for anyone to bear. Even worse is losing the respect of your friends and family. 

Depending on the nature of the incident that led to your disciplinary action, you may have a legal battle ahead of you. Your Lento Law Firm attorney can also discuss the possibilities and likelihood of court action against you.  

Areas We Serve in Wisconsin  

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team helps nurses throughout Wisconsin, from Milwaukee to Bayfield. While we represent nurses everywhere, we tend to work most often in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, and Kenosha. The agency nurses we have represented work in various settings, from hospitals to home health care. We work with nurses from all sizes of healthcare systems in Wisconsin, including:   

  • Ascension  
  • Aspirus Health Network  
  • Marshfield Clinics Health System  
  • Aurora Health Care  
  • Essentia Health  
  • Mayo Clinic Health System  
  • Gundersen Clinic  
  • HSHS Hospital Sisters Health System  
  • Bellin Health  
  • Children's Health System  
  • Mercyhealth System  
  • Divine Savior Healthcare 
  • Beloit Health System  
  • SSM Health Care  
  • ThedaCare 
  • ProHealth Care 

Why You Need the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team  

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is your best chance to successfully retain your agency nursing license. Our Team will earn the ins and outs of your case and build a strong and persuasive argument to present in defense of your license. We handle all the preparations, filings, and negotiations for you.  

All threats to your license are serious. Whether you committed the allegation against you or are being falsely accused, you need the Lento Law Firm on your side. The Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Board of Nursing have endless resources; you should not try to fight them on your own.  

The Lento Law Firm takes defending your license with the utmost seriousness. We appreciate agency nurses and everything they do for patients throughout Wisconsin. Let us help you get back to serving our community. Let us help you by calling 888-535-3686 or contact us online today. 


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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