Nurses must adhere to strict standards of professionalism and ethical behavior to maintain their licenses. When these standards are not met, a nurse may face disciplinary action, which could result in the suspension or revocation of their license.
The disciplinary process can be complex and confusing, especially if you don’t know how everything works. It helps to understand what goes on so that you can be better prepared to respond accordingly and protect your interests since your livelihood may be at risk. Here is how the disciplinary process plays out.
The stages of the disciplinary process explained
The disciplinary process involves several stages. A notice of a nursing violation to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) or California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) gets the ball rolling. It could be due to a notice of a criminal charge, arrest or conviction or a complaint filed by a patient.
Initial review and investigations
The board of nursing will review the complaint to determine if it warrants disciplinary action. If it does, investigations will begin. The investigation process depends on the nature and seriousness of the allegations against you. Investigators may interview the relevant parties, request a written response from you and review the existing evidence, along with other steps they may need to take.
Should the investigations bear fruit and lend credence to the complaint, an accusation against your license will be filed. You are required to respond to the accusation, or you will lose your license through a default decision.
If the issue remains unresolved, there will be an administrative hearing presided over by an Administrative Law Judge. The judge will consider submissions from all the parties before making a judgment, thereby deciding your fate.
The above is just a summary of what to expect in the disciplinary process, and there is more to it. For instance, there are specific deadlines you must abide by to protect your license. Therefore, it is in your best interests to have qualified legal representation from the word go to help safeguard your rights and increase the chances of a positive outcome.