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How to protect a nursing license in the midst of a complaint

It is extremely difficult to get any kind of medical license reinstated after the state board has revoked it. That said, it is certainly possible, as evidenced by Dr. Johnny Delashaw recently having his license reinstated after the board revoked it in 2017. 

However, a simpler way to retain a license other than reinstatement is to avoid losing a license in the first place. Nurses frequently receive complaints, and the actions they take until their hearings can greatly affect the outcome. Here are some steps all nurses should take the moment they receive a complaint from the board: 

Refresh yourself on the scope of your employment

The California Board of Registered Nursing outlines what practices fall within a nurse's scope of duties. To avoid running afoul of these practices, all nurses in the state need to regularly update their knowledge regarding what they can and cannot do. When in doubt, nurses should decline a service if they are unsure if it falls within their duties. 

Document everything thoroughly

You should retain records of every piece of correspondence you send to the California Board of Registered Nursing. Additionally, you need to retain documents of every aspect of your work. For example, you would want to maintain the records detailing what medication you gave to each patient. In the event a patient was to claim he or she did not receive the medication, you would have proof that you provided it. 

Remain proactive

Every nurse should retain professional liability insurance. You want to remain up-to-date on all payments so that the insurance never lapses. This will come in handy if you ever receive a complaint because your insurance policy will cover at least some of the cost associated with defending yourself against the board. As soon as you receive word of a complaint, you should look for legal representation to start building a defense. This can also help you avoid problems with your employer.

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