When you learned that the California Board of Registered Nursing received a complaint against you, you may have been stunned. Perhaps you felt angry or began second-guessing your choice of careers. After spending so much money and time getting your license, to have it put on the line so easily seems almost unreal.
Shocking as it may seem, it often doesn’t take much for a nurse to face the scrutiny of a disciplinary board. Professional licensing boards are essential for maintaining high quality care for patients. Nevertheless, you may feel especially vulnerable if you are unsure why someone filed a complaint against you.
Your finger on the pulse of licensing standards
You might expect that the Board would sanction a nurse for stealing drugs, drinking on the job or committing a felony. However, many nurses face disciplinary action for surprising reasons. In one recent year, over 2,000 nurses lost their license to practice, and almost 5,000 licenses were suspended. Some ways you may inadvertently trigger a complaint against you include:
- Agreeing to do something someone asks you to do even if you don’t feel comfortable doing it
- Behaving unprofessionally in public, especially while wearing scrubs or in places where people know you are a nurse
- Making social media posts that are inappropriate or violate patient privacy
Nursing advocates say no nurse is safe from losing his or her license, and for many, that means losing a career. Some experts fear that the aggressive censuring of nurses may lead to an even greater shortage than the one that exists. If you had known that you would face a board hearing, would you have chosen another career instead?
The right prescription for you
Facing a disciplinary hearing is good cause for concern. You likely received little training in nursing school about dealing with issues that threaten your license or protecting yourself against accusations of wrongdoing. Whether you are struggling with addiction, accused of ethics violations or the victim of a misunderstanding, you certainly want every advantage as you protect the career you have worked so hard to achieve.
The Board is not on your side, but you have every right to have someone standing with you. A lawyer with skills and experience defending nurses before licensing boards can advise you on the best way to proceed with your case. You will have an advocate to represent you and fight the allegations made against you.