Misconduct allegations are threatening in any job, but in nursing, they require defending yourself to a regulatory board with the power to determine your license and, ultimately, your future.
Whatever the allegations are, the most important thing to remember is that the Arizona State Board of Nursing is there to protect the public, not nurses. You’re defending yourself.
What To Do
It’s upsetting when claims are made, but it’s important to react quickly and professionally no matter the severity. The board has a process where your required actions and deadlines are defined. Your defense strategy, however, is entirely on you. While frivolous cases and false accusations are plentiful, it’s important to take any charges seriously and represent yourself and your profession in the best light.
Just like in a court of law, the best approach is to respond defensively. Speak carefully and methodically, plan your actions and remember that your job may be on the line. How you carry yourself and what you say (and don’t say) can make the difference. An investigation is daunting, but it can be resolved efficiently, sometimes with the case dismissed before a hearing.
How a Lawyer Can Help
As you learned when you first applied for your license, nursing is heavily regulated and bureaucratic. There is a procedural system where a single missed step can delay or even bring everything to a screeching halt. Your degree is in nursing, not the law, and maneuvering through administrative steps is frustrating. The American Nurses Association recommends legal assistance against any claim.
In these matters, it is important to have on your side an employment lawyer with experience specifically in professional license defense. By contacting an employment law attorney early in the process, it may be possible to have the case dismissed or streamlined.
When defending yourself, a charismatic investigator or board could gain your trust and draw out the wrong information. After all, when talking to a friendly face, it can be easy to believe that sharing your side of the story will be enough.
Sometimes it will be. But with your livelihood at risk, hiring an attorney familiar with the system means you can focus on your career and your future instead of sorting out the minutia of a bureaucratic hearing.
You’ve dedicated your life to helping others. Let someone else return the favor.