After the Arizona Board of Nursing receives a complaint about a nurse, the Board sends a formal notice that the complaint is under investigation. If you have recently received such a notice, you may be unsure of how to respond.
Your reputation and your career may be in the balance, even if you feel the complaint is minor or unfounded. The way you react to the complaint could have some bearing on the final outcome of your case.
It’s not that serious, is it?
One crucial mistake many nurses make is failing to respond when the Board of Nursing notifies them of a complaint. If you have received your notice in the mail, you may have seen the deadline for sending your narrative reply to the allegations. This detailed commentary takes effort to prepare, and some nurses let time pass without response. A nurse may have many excuses for delaying the response, and maybe you are leaning on a few of these yourself:
- You are busy.
- You feel this is a waste of time.
- The complaints against you have no basis in truth.
- The person who filed the complaint is mistaken or being vindictive.
- A Board hearing isn’t that serious.
In fact, if the Board has summoned you, the matter may be very serious indeed. Your license and career may be in peril, depending on the charges. Ignoring, delaying or dismissing your response to the complaint could be a critical mistake.
Talk is expensive
You may feel like you need to clear the air or defend yourself to your co-workers. You may think the best course of action is to talk to, and reason with, the person who filed the complaint. While those may sound like practical solutions, talking about your situation to anyone but a lawyer may hurt your case. It may be especially dangerous to discuss the complaint with the person who filed it. Your words may be used against you, or the complainant may interpret your efforts as intimidation.
If friends or co-workers want to hear your side, remember that the Board may call them as witnesses. An investigator also may come to you with questions, but you can politely direct those questions to your attorney to avoid saying something damaging.
Your right to legal counsel
Crucial to the outcome of your case is obtaining the guidance of an attorney who practices professional license defense. The consequences of a board investigation have the potential to drastically change the course of your life, and you want to ensure you have an experienced attorney to protect your rights.
With strong legal counsel, you have a better chance of reaching a more positive outcome, provided you follow your attorney’s advice. That advice is tempered by years of experience in front of the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Using such experience and knowledge, your attorney can craft a solid defense to protect you from potentially losing your license and the career you have worked hard to build.