Nurses: Don’t Be a Scapegoat

August 17, 2022
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Nurse talking to patient in their bed

The healthcare industry is in a near-perpetual nursing shortage. As a result, nurses work long hours in intense, high-pressure environments, often without adequate time off or personnel support. Mistakes can easily happen when people are overworked, but nurses face especially severe consequences when mistakes are made – they hold their patients’ lives in their hands. 

Unfortunately, nurses can also face disciplinary action from the Board of Nursing when things go wrong. If you have made a mistake or are accused of making a mistake, a professional license lawyer can help you protect your license. 

Your License May Be at Risk

You could face disciplinary action for a wide variety of reasons, many of which should be obvious such as falsification of medical records or engaging in false billing practices. You can also face disciplinary action as a result of things that happen outside of work such as being convicted of a felony or getting a DUI. 

But many nurses are shocked to find that their license could be at risk even though they made an unintentional mistake. The Board of Nursing could launch an investigation if the mistake is allegedly the result of one or more of the following: 

  • You provided substandard care
  • You engaged in gross negligence in providing treatment
  • You were providing treatment that was outside of your training or competence
  • You delegated responsibilities to someone who was unqualified to handle those responsibilities
  • You failed to supervise your subordinates

Any nurse knows that it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between a simple mistake and what constitutes “substandard care” or “gross negligence.” It will largely come down to the facts, many of which may be in dispute. 

If something went wrong at work and you’re worried that it could endanger your license, an employment lawyer with experience in handling nursing licensing issues can help you protect yourself. 

You Don’t Have to Take the Blame

Nurses are often blamed for mistakes in treatment when those mistakes are more accurately the result of larger failures. Unscrupulous doctors and hospitals will protect their own licenses and reputations by claiming that the issue was the nurse’s fault. However, many of these mistakes are caused by the following: 

  • Understaffing
  • Nurses being required to work excessive overtime
  • Doctors failing to provide clear instruction or adequate oversight
  • Broken or missing equipment
  • Pharmacy errors
  • Undertrained or unqualified assistants or techs

While some of these may not be an absolute defense against disciplinary action, they may at least lighten the potential consequences you face. 

Whatever happened in your case, you don’t have to let someone else’s version of the facts control the narrative. A nursing license defense attorney can be an aggressive advocate for your interests and protect your license. 

What to Do if You Are Facing a Complaint

If you have received notice from the Board of Nursing that they have begun an investigation, the first thing you need to do is remain calm. The disciplinary process begins with a thorough investigation to determine whether the Board should take further action. As a result, the Board may decide that the complaint is without merit and dismiss it without any consequence to you. 

You also need to remember that you have a right to a hearing before the Board can impose any penalties against you. This means that you will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story and explain why the complaint should be dismissed. 

If you have received notice of a complaint, you need to take it very seriously. Do not assume that it will be dismissed or that the punishment will be insignificant. Your livelihood is at stake and could turn on a seemingly insignificant fact. Furthermore, failing to meet deadlines or otherwise cooperate with the Board could jeopardize your case and result in additional charges. 

The best thing you can do is to contact a nursing license defense lawyer. They can help you get through the process with minimal anxiety while building a strong defense against your complaint. In short, they can help you get a fair outcome. 

Contact J.W. Stafford if You Are Facing Disciplinary Action from the Maryland Board of Nursing

Mistakes can compound themselves. If something went wrong at work, don’t let it metastasize into a disciplinary action – get out in front of it by working with a professional who knows how to protect your license. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 410-514-6099 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.