Nursing License NY Defense Lawyers

A nursing license represents the culmination of years of schooling and effort. A valid license allows a nurse to care for patients and build a career in healthcare. When your license is threatened by a disciplinary hearing or administrative action, you may feel as if you’re on the brink of losing everything you’ve worked for. 

If your nursing license is in jeopardy, speak to an experienced New York nursing license defense lawyer immediately. Do not attend a hearing or accept a settlement offer without speaking to an attorney first. An experienced lawyer like the team at Brill Legal Group PC can help you understand your options and defend your rights. 

Types of Nursing Disciplinary Cases

In New York, the Board of Nursing (BON) is responsible for monitoring licensed nurses who practice their nursing careers within the state. The Board of Nursing can investigate alleged violations of the state’s nurse practice laws and the power to discipline nurses and certified nursing assistants found to have violated these laws. 

Cases before the BON typically fall into one of several categories:

  • Allegations related to the practice of nursing, such as failing to evaluate changes in a patient’s condition, failing to carry out interventions, and failures in charting. 
  • Drug-related allegations include positive drug test results or allegations a nurse has performed their duties under the influence of prohibited substances.
  • Claims of violations of boundaries, such as a nurse or CNA improperly practicing medicine or performing tasks not covered by their education or nursing license.
  • Sexual misconduct, including alleged misconduct involving patients.
  • Abuse claims may include physical, mental, emotional, or financial abuse.
  • Fraud claims are a broad category that can range from deceiving an individual to participating in Medicare or other types of financial fraud. 
  • Criminal background check results that conflict with rules regarding licensing. 

Generally speaking, the BON can investigate any claims against nurses that involve unprofessional, unsafe, or unethical behavior, including criminal records or alcohol and substance abuse. These include medical errors such as giving the wrong type or dose of medication or other forms of negligence. 

What Are the Board of Nursing Procedures

The Board of Nursing must conform to state and federal law in its proceedings. Protections include the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause, which requires the Board of Nursing to provide the basic rights of procedural due process. In other words, the BON cannot take an action against a nurse’s license without providing the accused nurse with basic rights, including:

  • Notice of the accusations, the reasons behind them, and the BON’s plans to investigate or hold a hearing, and
  • A hearing at which the accused nurse may hear the evidence presented against them, present their own evidence and witness testimony, and question witnesses presented against them. 

In addition, the Board of Nursing may not bring baseless or vague charges against a nurse. The charges must have enough specific substance that the nurse can address them directly. 

These basic due process rights apply to all adverse actions, including full criminal trials. However, the Board of Nursing is not required to follow all the rules that apply to criminal trials. For instance, the BON may consider hearsay evidence, even though that evidence wouldn’t be permitted in court. 

BON hearings are also not required to follow all the rules that apply to civil court cases, such as a medical malpractice lawsuits. For example, in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the doctor or hospital being sued is allowed to see evidence the injured person plans to submit at trial. In a Board of Nursing hearing, however, the BON is not required to show you the evidence they have collected, even if they plan to use that evidence to argue that your license should be revoked. 

Understanding the rules that apply in a BON hearing is essential in building an effective case defending your actions and your license. Attempting to handle your own disciplinary hearing case adds additional stress and confusion to a situation that is already difficult. 

Working with an experienced attorney makes the situation bearable. Your lawyer can defend your rights and explain what you need to know, so you can focus on the day-to-day tasks you and your family need. 

Actions the Board of Nursing May Take Against a Nurse at a New York Medical Facility

The Board of Nursing has the power to discipline nursing license holders if it determines that discipline is warranted. Common types of disciplinary action the BON may take include:

  • Issuing a fine or a civil penalty, the nurse must pay.
  • Limiting or restricting the nurse’s ability to practice nursing, such as by placing the nurse on probation or limiting the number of hours the nurse may work.
  • Referring the nurse to a discipline program, which oversees the nurse’s work for a stated period. Reprimanding the nurse for a minor violation of the nurse practice act.
  • Revoking or suspending the nurse’s license. 

It is important to remember that not all Board of Nursing disciplinary actions are “one and done.” Some consequences can continue to affect future options and decisions. For instance, certain actions the Board of Nursing may take against your license could affect your ability to obtain a nursing license in other states. If you later choose to leave New York, you may not be able to become licensed as a nurse in your new home state.

Actions you take during your disciplinary case can increase the chance that you won’t be able to practice nursing in another state. If you sign a consent agreement, for instance, your disciplinary case may be included on future exclusion lists in other states. You cannot renegotiate this agreement once it’s signed一not even if you find out later that the agreement has effectively prevented you from working as a nurse in your new home state. 

All of these actions have a negative impact on your daily life. Some have a bigger impact on your career and future than others. By working with an experienced lawyer, you can fight for the outcome that best reflects the facts of the case and your best interests as a person and a professional. 

Emergency Actions by the Board of Nursing

In some cases, the Board of Nursing may take action even before holding a hearing or reaching a final decision. For example, the BON may review a complaint against a nurse and decide that the allegations, if true, pose too great a risk to the public to allow the nurse to continue practicing. 

In these instances, the BON may take emergency action. A common form of emergency action is the summary suspension of a nursing license. When the summary suspension is issued, a formal complaint is also filed, and the Board of Nursing launches a full investigation. 

The Board of Nursing may not issue a summary suspension in every case. Instead, the Board must have “clear and convincing” evidence that allowing the nurse to keep practicing poses severe risks of harm to the public. A summary suspension can be reversed by the Board of Nursing if the Board finds a reason to do so or a final order is issued in the case.

A summary suspension prevents you from performing your work as a nurse一work you rely on to support your household and family. Rumors or discussions about why you’re no longer showing up to work can have a negative impact on your professional reputation. An experienced lawyer can help you fight for your rights in the face of a summary suspension. 

How a NY Defense Lawyer for Nursing Staff Can Help 

An experienced nursing license defense lawyer can help you understand the charges you’re facing and the potential outcomes. Questions your lawyer can help you answer include:

  • What is the Board of Nursing claiming I did wrong?
  • What are the pros and cons of discussing a settlement? Is an offered settlement fair and reasonable?
  • Should I apply for a nursing license in another state now or wait until my BON case is resolved? 
  • Should I relinquish my license voluntarily? 

Board of Nursing actions are not criminal cases, although they can feel as accusatory as a criminal charge. If you are facing criminal charges in another case, however, it is vital to speak to an attorney with experience handling nursing license disciplinary actions. Criminal lawyers without this experience may counsel you to accept a plea agreement without realizing the impact it will have on your nursing license. 

Every nursing license case arises from a unique set of facts and circumstances. Consequently, it’s important not to assume that your case will have the same outcome as another nurse’s case. While friends and colleagues can offer emotional and practical support at this time, only an experienced attorney can provide the legal strategy and guidance your specific case requires. 

Contact Brill Legal Group Today

If you’re facing disciplinary action related to your nursing career or license, talk to the team at the Brill Legal Group. We help nurses respond to disciplinary actions, including:

To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Just when I was getting discouraged and was at my wits end trying to find the right attorney for my case, a family member recommended Mr. Brill. He did not disappoint. Mr. Brill and his team are diligent, very professional, encouraging and honest every step of the way. Highly recommended.

- A.S.