I am reading The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services by Richard Susskind. This is by far one of the most transformative books I have read this year.
On page 244 of the book a parallel is made between online medical self-help and online legal self-help and the reality is a greater willingness among citizens to seek further help where in the past they may have felt deterred.
On the same page the author notes there is a harsh reality: one to one consultative services and advisory guidance from a lawyer is not always a resource or a service a citizen can afford.
Legal self-help is abundant online for nurses in a variety of chatrooms,forums, boards, blogs, websites, and discussion groups. This is a positive and a negative.
Legal self-help saves money for nurses. Its allows nurses to obtain general information and facilitates issue spotting. Legal self-help can also assist with issue spotting. Sometimes you can get what you need from legal self-help sites to assist you in resolving your situation on your own without paying for legal advice, counseling, and representation. I would say this is a win-win.
The majority of nurses involved in State Nursing Board investigations and adjudications represent, counsel, and advise themselves and therefore use forms of legal self-help to navigate this process and procedure.
But there is a flip side. I see several times a week cases where legal self-help has gone astray. These are nurses who have represented, counseled, and advised themselves for a period of time whether its days, weeks, months, or years in a State Nursing Board investigation, hearing, or licensure matter.
There is a failure to see a complaint and the allegations in the complaint for what it is, a failure to appreciate the seriousness of a contract or legal document resolving the complaint, and another long list of issues that come along with representing, counseling, and advising yourself. This can be the most challenging cases not necessarily before the State Nursing Board but dealing one on one with the nurses who must come to grips with the decisions and steps THEY have chosen to take in the handling of THEIR case before the State Nursing Board.
Legal self-help for nurses has a very important place in understanding the law, legalities, and legal issues confronting nurses and the nursing profession. It would be too expensive to call an attorney for everything remotely legal just like it would be too expensive to call a physician for everything remotely medical.
BUT. A nurse however when confronted with a legal issue as serious as a State Nursing Board complaint that can directly impact your license, your livelihood, your career, and your life must decide how do I want to proceed, what can I realistically afford, do I want an attorney or do I want to engage myself in this process and rely on self-help, and am I prepared to accept the consequences of representing, counseling, and advising myself before the State Nursing Board (best case scenario you resolve your own complaint or worse case scenario.....) in the matter at hand.