This is usually one of the first five questions I am asked when a nurse contacts my law office.
Here are few suggestions:
1. If you have been informed that a complaint was filed or will be filed against your license, contact a nurse license defense or administrative law attorney in your jurisdiction immediately. Schedule a phone consultation or an in-person meeting to discuss your case.
2. Be truthful and candid with your attorney. There are plenty of other folks you can fudge the facts with like your spouse, kids, relatives, etc. Your attorney cannot advise you properly if attorney is not aware of the full extent of the facts in your case. Your attorney can handle the truth, just put it out there!
3. Do not rely on the "water cooler" advice of friends, colleagues, relatives, and others in license and professional practice matters. This happened to "Nurse A and she did this and her license was fine" is not specific legal advice related to your specific situation.
4. Do not take the "wait and see approach" with Nursing Board investigations and professional practice matters. "I don't want to contact or hire an attorney, so I will wait and see what happens." You can retain an attorney at any point in a disciplinary investigation and adjudication but does it make sense to wait until the eve of a hearing or after you have submitted a 30 page hand written response to the Nursing Board Complaint.
5. Do not discuss your case in online nursing chatrooms and other forums and solicit "legal advice" from other nurses online. The number of folks who are willing to give legal advice without being a licensed attorney and who preface it by saying "I am not an attorney but...." is comical. This is why you need to speak with an attorney ASAP for real legal advice in your situation. I am never surprised at the amount of information disclosed in chatrooms and other online forums for nurses. Its TMI and it is not the most reasonable and effective manner for a nurse, NCLEX applicant, or nursing student to handle license and professional practice matters with legal implications.
6. Finally, unless you have legal representation and have formally retained an attorney to represent, counsel, and advise you before the Board, you are proceeding pro-se, meaning you are representing yourself. I don't think this is evident for most nurses in these types of cases. Oh, its the Nursing Board, they are nurses and I am a nurse, how bad could it be, right?
Would you represent yourself in a criminal case? Would you represent yourself in a medical malpractice case? Would you represent yourself if you were sued for slander and defamation? Of course not, then why do nurses and NCLEX applicants represent themselves, counsel themselves, and advise themselves in Nursing Board and license matters? These are adversarial proceedings, not a social event with afternoon tea and coffee.
I am biased of course being a nurse license defense attorney however if a complaint were filed against my nursing license, I would not represent myself and I certainly would not represent myself if a complaint were filed against my law licenses. This is the reason why I have malpractice insurance for nursing and law licenses with license defense protection benefits.