This is not legal advice because no one paid me to say this but:
1. If you are a LPN, RN, or APRN and you were terminated from your employment with a healthcare organization, consult with a nursing law attorney BEFORE you apply for unemployment compensation benefits.
2. By a consult, I mean pay for 30 minutes to 60 minutes of the nursing law attorney’s time and provide the attorney with your documentation to review. This is not the sixty second call you have with a nursing law attorney and the attorney is typing, eating, and listening to a podcast while taking your frantic call.
3. Why? If you were terminated from your job and you are awarded benefits, your former employer may contest the award. I think someone in HR screams “1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare War” then the healthcare organization receives notice of a former nurse employee request for unemployment compensation benefits. http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/65396/i-declare-war. I loved this game as a kid. I grew up in a very competitive household and this game along with monopoly always resulted in a shouting match, fist fight, profanity (I learned early), or a promise for a rematch for the “title.”
4. Why? If you terminated from your job, you may or may not be reported to the State Nursing Board if you are in a mandatory reporting state. You won’t know you are reported until you open the mail and “claim your prize” or you receive a phone call from the State Nursing Board.
5. I had to calm a nurse down by phone yesterday who opened her mail and “claimed her prize.” I opened my own mail two weeks ago and “claimed my own prize.” I am 0.75 CLE short on my Ohio law license renewal. I have to pay $110.00 and take a one hour CLE class by April 31, 2011. This blog is Nursing Law & Order, not Nursing & Law Disorder, so I plan to take my CLE online this evening and mail the check and my CLE transcript in the morning. Yes, I know its horrible and that’s why my walkie talkie handle is the Nursing Law Bandit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkie-talkie.
6. The interplay of unemployment compensation benefit appeals and procedures and State Nursing Board complaints is something I am seeing in my law practice over the last 2 years. I used to handle unemployment comp. cases (years and years and years ago) and this is where I “cut my teeth” (learned the ropes) with telephonic hearings.
7. It is a tough job market out here for nurses in certain areas and the proliferation of nursing schools and colleges does not help. Nursing Schools are the new pills mills like law schools. http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com.
8. Let’s see there are LPN, RN, RN to BSN, LPN to RN, BSN, MSN, post-MSN, and doctoral programs, schools, and colleges in nursing. Just in the Greater Cincinnati area, there are maybe 20+ programs. You can open a nursing school faster than you can open a liquor store in some states IMO. Nursing Schools are on every corner in some cities like a Pony Keg selling cigarettes, beer, and lottery tickets. Come here and get your nursing education; it is on sale for $35,000.00. http://www.ehow.com/how_4549219_open-drive-through-pony-keg.html.
9. The proliferation of nursing schools and programs across the states result in more and more new grads, new nurses, and not so new nurses competing for the same jobs. This IMO prompts more nurses who are termed from a HCO to apply for unemployment compensation benefits because you don’t know if you are going to get a job. It is not like it used to be when you could get fired today and start working somewhere else on Monday. The nursing employment market (in some areas) is more saturated than my 2 y/o niece’s Pull-Up at 7am.
10. I attended a nursing function a few months ago and I was asked “where do you practice?” I replied “in a law firm, I am a nurse license defense attorney.” The nurse, who happened to be a “nurse educator” said “Oh, you represent those nurses in the Momentum.” The Momentum is the Ohio Nursing Board newsletter. I replied where you do you practice? She said “Proprietary XYZ Nursing School, Nail Tech, and Plumbing Program.” I said “Oh, you are educating those nurses in the Momentum.”
11. Most nurses are repping themselves in the investigation of the State Nursing Board complaint as well as the unemployment benefits compensation process. This is a NO-NO. Guess what? You may be excited and ready to fight the first 5 weeks but guess what you will move on after 2 months and this is the point where your former employer, the HCO has declared war and is ready to fight you to hell and back for those benes, baby. 6 months to 9 months later you are going to say WTF was I thinking? I don’t have the time and energy for this shit. Also you cannot be objective when you represent yourself. You just cannot. Find an attorney who handles admin. law cases like workers comp and SSDI to represent you in an unemployment comp. matter. I am not taking unemployment comp. cases now because my nurse license defense practice is busy; but I may have to hire a Virtual Paralegal and start taking these cases again. Unemployment comp, workers comp and license defense are all administrative law practices.
12. Don’t have your unemployment comp. lawyer rep you before the State Nursing Board unless the attorney has experience with this niche. Yes it is all admin law but guess what? I am a nurse license defense attorney and I can take an unemployment comp case but I would not take a SSDI or workers comp. case because I don’t have experience or even an interests in these areas.
13. If you want to play around and represent yourself, do so in traffic court. You can follow behind me when I am driving to Columbus, Indy, Lexington, or Louisville and I am sure you will get a ticket. The State Patrol are out this month!!!! You can appear and represent yourself there. But don’t do the monkey in an unemployment compensation case and a Nursing Board complaint investigation case.