Justia

When nurses receive complaints or have disciplinary actions from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, these are the questions they ask.

Will I lose my job if I have a Nursing Board complaint, disciplinary action, or Board hearing?

The Board may suspend a nurse’s license without notice or hearing if their actions create an emergency (immediate hazard to the public).

Most Board actions are not emergencies. In these cases, the Board must:

  • Contact the nurse
  • Let the nurse request a hearing
  • Describe the basic evidence against the nurse.
  • Provide the details of every violation charged.

However, the nurse has no right to a list of everyone that complained, the nurse’s file, or the Board’s investigation.

If a nurse you know suspects a complaint due to drug or alcohol problems or addiction or have an addiction, the Arkansas Nurses Alternative to Discipline Program (ArNAP) may the best option. 

For more information see: Drug Tests and a Nursing License

Do I have to give up, or surrender, my license when I get a letter from the Nursing Board?

Not always. If a nurse you know receives a request letter from the Board, they should not surrender their nursing license until they know their options. Consult a licensed attorney and have their case evaluated. Negotiating a consent agreement or requesting a Board Hearing may be the best option for their case. A consent agreement may allow a nurse to keep their license by following certain conditions. See Below.

What is the process for nursing complaints, discipline, and Nursing Board Hearings?

Complaints:

The Board staff reviews the complaint, may request a formal investigation and gather more information. Then the Board attorneys determine if there are violations of the Nurse Practices Act and whether disciplinary action occurs.

Nursing Disciplinary Actions:

Dismissal – if there is not enough evidence to support a violation.

Letter of Warning – a non-disciplinary action to alert the nurse of a potential violation and to change their behavior.

Letter of Reprimand – a disciplinary action permanently recorded on the nurse’s license.

Consent Agreement – a contract between the nurse and the Board. The nurse admits guilt and must follow the terms of the agreement or risk losing their license.

Disciplinary Hearing – if the complaint is unresolved or the nurse requests a formal hearing, the Board conducts a hearing, like a court trial.

Do I need an attorney for a nursing complaint?

Hiring a lawyer is the first step in protecting the nurse’s rights. It is possible to navigate the Nursing Board’s disciplinary process without an attorney. However, a professional licensed attorney is aware of solutions that put the nurse in the best position possible. If the complaint includes criminal charges, an experienced attorney is the best protection for the nurse’s rights and license.

Do I need an attorney for a Nursing Board Hearing?

The Nursing Board has lawyers on staff to:

  1. Decide if allegations violate the Nurse Practices Act
  2. Determine which disciplinary actions move forward and
  3. Represent the Nursing Board during the hearing

Board attorneys present the Board’s case, using evidence from the Board’s investigation. Board members may also question the nurse

Then the nurse presents their case. They may call witnesses and present evidence to support their case and counter the attorney’s allegations. We are professional licensed attorneys, with Board Hearing experience.

We will represent our clients at every stage of the process. We communicate with Board attorneys to establish and maintain the best outcome for the nurse’s case. A decision made in one step of the disciplinary process could be the difference between working, suspension, or losing the license permanently.

We will prepare for the hearing and present the case aggressively. There are alternatives to Board hearings. Also, agreements to certain terms or facts beforehand may improve the outcome of the Hearing.

What happens after my Nursing Board Hearing?

There are six outcomes for a hearing and critical decisions along the way determine the result.

  1. Not Guilty – No violation of the Nurse Practices Act occurred. Your record is clean, and your case is closed.
  2. Reprimand – A violation occurred, the nurse keeps their license by paying a fine and/or taking courses that address violations in the complaint.
  3. Probation – A violation occurred, but the nurse keeps their license by following a set of conditions for a specific period.
  4. Suspension – The Board suspends the nurse’s license for one or more violations. The nurse is unable to work and must meet certain conditions before regaining any nursing privileges.
  5. Revocation – The Board revokes the nurse’s license; this is a permanent ban from practicing as a nurse in Arkansas.
  6.  Appeal – An appeal from any Nursing Board Hearing decision must occur within 30 days. An Arkansas Circuit Court hears the case. The Circuit Court will decide if the Board’s action was appropriate.

There are many things that can happen from the first step forward that determine the outcome. Get help as soon as you know you are facing a complaint to ensure the best outcome.

What are the Nursing Board conditions of probation or suspension?

Probation conditions include paying fines; attending classes; submitting reports; drug screening; employment monitoring; and limits on what nursing practices can be performed at work. For example:

  •  cannot pull or give narcotics
  • the employer must send status reports to the Board
  • must tell any employers that you are on probation, the reason, and your probation conditions

Suspension conditions the Board may require the nurse to pay fines, attend classes, submit reports, and participate in a drug screening process suspension. The Nurse will not get their license back unless they follow these requirements.

Your job and protecting your nursing license are critical. You should hire a lawyer with experience defending nurses through every step of the disciplinary process.

You may not have to surrender your license or stop working before, during, and after this process. It is critical that you understand your rights from the beginning. Find someone experienced to protect your Arkansas State Board of Nursing license.

For a free strategy session, call 501.891.6000 or text 501.888.4357 now to protect your rights.

Nursing Board Complaints Blog

Drug Tests and Your Nursing License

May 24 2017

READ MORE