Maybe you made a mistake on the job. Maybe someone just thinks you made a mistake. Either way, a complaint has been filed, and you’re now worried about the possibility that your nursing license will be revoked – or worse.
What happens next? Well, if you’re wise, you’re going to seek experienced legal guidance as quickly as possible so that you have representation through each of the stages that are about to come.
Here’s what you can expect to happen in California
Whether the complaint is over a standard of care violation or something like alleged drug abuse, you can typically expect the following:
- The complaint will be taken, and the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) will decide if the issue falls under their jurisdiction.
- The BRN will also consider whether or not the appropriate action is to refer the case to the Intervention Program, which typically helps nurses struggling with mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. If not, the BRN will usually forward the case for investigation.
- The BRN investigator will gather evidence about the allegations, interview witnesses and have the evidence reviewed by an expert.
- The Office of the Attorney General may be involved to review the case for criminal action if warranted. If the BRN determines that disciplinary action is warranted, they will file an Accusation or formal charges. You must answer these charges in a timely fashion, or you will lose your license by default.
- Assuming you answer the Accusation, there will be an Office of Administrative Hearing. At that point, a decision will be made about your license, which is then sent to the BRN for adoption.
There are two big things to remember here: First, you are entitled to representation at every stage, and you should have it. Second, this is a lengthy process. You need to be prepared to settle in for the long fight.
Don’t let a single complaint take away your dream career. You can (and probably should) fight back.