When you are granted a license as a nurse, as in most cases, your license is a privilege and not a right. If you are involved in any misconduct, particularly misconduct that occurs while you are at work, you may be rest assured that the prosecuting attorney for the nursing board will bring charges against you once a complaint has been filed.
The License Revocation Hearing
The license revocation process is fairly informal. An affidavit will be sworn out in regards to the complaint and served upon you. You will then have a hearing in front of the nursing board, which consists of three people: one consumer, one doctor and one nurse, who are selected on a rotating basis.
During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to bring witnesses to testify on your behalf. You also have the right to have the board subpoena any documents you need to defend yourself. After reviewing the evidence, the board will render its decision. If the board decides that you are guilty of misconduct, they could suspend or revoke your license or issue your license with restrictions. You have the right to appeal the board’s decision, and that appeal will be forwarded to a second larger nursing board for a new hearing.
Negotiating an Agreement
If you are guilty of the charge, it may be beneficial to have your license revocation attorney meet with the prosecuting attorney to work out some kind of agreement prior to the disciplinary hearing. You can also present to the board mitigating evidence – that is the reasons for your alleged misconduct and how you have tried to address the problem. Presenting mitigating evidence will allow the board to consider a lesser punishment than revocation. But remember, you should never plead guilty if you are innocent – and if you are not guilty, you should prepare yourself for a full hearing.
But whether you negotiate an agreement or have a hearing, you need to be represented by a trial attorney who has experience with evidentiary board hearings. Based on my experience defending clients against nursing license revocations, I would never as a practicing nurse go through the process without skilled representation. As I mentioned earlier, the license revocation process is informal — but it is a trial to see if you can keep your license, so you must have the best defense possible. You need to get fully prepared for the license revocation hearing in order to protect your license and your livelihood.