Lauryn Hill says it best: Ready or Not.....
Ready or not and (regardless of) whether you realize it or not:
1. The State Nursing Board is investigating you if you receive a Notice of Complaint from the Kentucky Nursing Board or Indiana Board of Nursing or if you receive a Potential Violation Report, telephone call, email, or official correspondence from a Compliance Agent (investigator) or Adjudication Coordinator (Juris Doctor (law degree) prepared Staff) from the Ohio Nursing Board.
a. It is not the role, responsibility, job, or function of the State Nursing Board or anyone who works for the Board to explain to you what this means to you, for you, and what you shoulda, coulda, maybe, or mighta do or do not. The Board's role is pubic protection: no ifs, no ands, and certainly not buts.
b. You are representing yourself anytime you are not represented by an attorney in legal proceeding. YES, Board of Nursing investigations and complaints are legal proceedings. Therefore anything you do or don't do and how you proceed in the legal proceeding before the State Nursing Board, you are representing yourself.
c. Self-Representation in a legal proceeding is a right just like deciding whether or not you want to retain legal counsel (private or have one appointed in a criminal matter) in a legal proceeding. No, sorry, attorneys are not provided by the State to represent healthcare professionals in licensure matters.
d. You are an educated and licensed healthcare professional i.e. you have something to lose: your employability, your career, your license, your....... Therefore ANYTIME you as a licensed nurse are involved in a legal proceeding, you MUST ask yourself, do I need a lawyer?
No one is going to hold up a sign and walk a picket line in front of your home saying "Retain a Lawyer."
No one is going to tell you "you are required to hire a lawyer."
No one is going to tell you "you are nuts if you attempt to work through this on your own."
Everyone will tell you:
1. Just tell your side of the story and it will be okay (this is my grandmother's favorite that I figured out to disregard at age 9);
2. This is not a big deal as I am sure the Board of Nursing has bigger fish to fry. I love this one because not only do I like to fish for sport but I also like to eat fish: the bigger the better.
3. It is going to be okay. When anyone tells me this, I immediately think "how and why would you know how it is really doing to be or be not for me?"
4. This is just a misunderstanding, just be honest and it will work itself out. Like what, a knot?
Lawyers can be expensive for corporate litigation and other matters but license defense is actually affordable because the fees are quoted to an individual healthcare professional. Most license defense attorneys will quote you a flat fee or a retainer and hourly fee based on your case and the complexities which is actually affordable when you consider your monthly, annual, or lifetime income as a LPN, RN, or APRN.
If you are NOT willing to spend $2,500 to $__________ to defend your license in a Complaint filed against you for whatever reason, what does this mean to you and for you?
This is why I have legal malpractice insurance that covers malpractice and Bar disciplinary investigations of my license. This is why I still maintain my nursing liability insurance. This is why I just purchased media insurance for my blog and online projects. Because I am a professional, I am licensed, and there is always always a chance I can be sued or reported because of legal, professional,and personal accountability, responsibility, duties, and obligations.
I know this isn't explained in school or discussed in the workplace this way but that's a fact Jack and if you are not comfortable or PREPARED for this, get prepared or surrender your license (as a teacher, nurse, lawyer, dentist, physician, PT, etc.) and work in a field that does not require a State issued license and does not have the regulatory complexities of healthcare.
A Notice of Complaint is a Notice of Complaint and a PVR is a PVR from the Nursing Board regardless of whether or not you appreciate the significance, complexities, or law, legalities, and legal issues therein: it is what is it.
The cases I am seeing in 2010/2011 vs. 2003/2004 before the State Nursing Boards are like day and night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlbQhD2sxz8
The cases now are much more complex than the $2500 fee from yesteryear. $2500 was the standard fee I quoted years ago but very rarely do I quote a $2500 fee anymore because of the issues involved. That's why I do my own initial phone calls to nurses who contact my office because I need to listen, listen, and ask a question or two before I can quote a flat fee for representation because the $2500 standard State Nursing Board case only comes around once every blue moon and every other purple sun. I also need to review a few documents for myself to get a feel for your case because although I understand what you are telling me, I need to see the paper: black and white.
Also do you want an attorney to quote you a fee of $1,110.56 for Nursing Board representation? Do you know how long these cases take to be worked up and eventually resolved? What type of representation do you honestly think the attorney will provide to you for $1,110.56? Does this $1,110.56 include any research or prep work? What is included for $1,110.56?
This is your State Nursing Board LICENSE, not a muni court case or a will. I do not quote low ball fees just to get a case or bring someone on board and then not work up the case or answer client calls. If you want an extremely low fee, I am probably (99.99% of the time) not that nurse license defense lawyer.
So even when you say, I called Lawyer A and he told me $2500. I called Lawyer B and she told me $5000, don't expect for me to yell out "BINGO, I can represent you for $3,750.53 and a pack of Apple Now Laters."
I represent my clients how I would want a lawyer to represent me if: my license, my career, my livelihood and my essence was at stake because I am my license. Sorry. I know others will say you are more than what you do for a living and "your job" but not me. I am RNBSNJD and LDW Law. I haven't decided which I want to have on my vanity license plates, what do you think?
I am committed to my law practice, my nursing career, and the nurses I represent. http://solopracticeuniversity.com/2011/07/12/back-to-the-root-of-things-the-role-of-servant-lawyers/.
Also think about this: are you providing the service each and everyday you practice as a nurse that you expect other service providers to provide to you and your family? If not, Houston, we have a problem.....
NO LICENSE or RESTRICTED LICENSE means a lot to you as a LPN, RN, APRN who is LICENSED or a nursing student, NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN on the road to licensure. Your license is always at stake in a State Nursing Board case and ready or not, regardless of whether you realize it or not, it is what it is and what it is usually just the beginning because the Nursing Board investigation is a starting point on a dim and winding path and you may not see the forest because of the trees.
Take a look at these articles.