You play the role of the nurturing caretaker and fearless problem-solver in your everyday life. Whether it’s with your children, your coworkers, or your friends, people often turn to you for both advice and for comfort. You’regret at putting the needs of others above your own…[entire article ]
I frequently get panic calls saying “HELP! I just got a letter that I have to appear before the Board.”
The first thing that I would suggest is to take a deep breath and read this.
There are two types of communications you may get from the Board. The first is an investigation letter and the second is actual charges against your license.
If you receive an investigation letter giving you twenty days to respond, it is important that you respond carefully because what you put in your response could be used against you. My best advice is to hire an attorney with experience before the Board who can help you craft your response in a light most favorable for you.
Most nurses I have represented who had responded themselves are very well meaning and good intentioned but usually they put things in the letter that can hurt them. If you do choose to respond yourself, note that the Board wants to know that you are safe to practice. So, include any information that, indeed, will show the Board that you are safe to practice. Feel free to provide documents if you need.
If you get charges before the Board, this is something altogether different. To get charges means that the State is pretty sure that they can prove their case. The Board can do any one or a combination of the following:
- Give you a reprimand which basically is a slap on the wrist saying “don’t do that again.”
- Put your license on probation with the Board giving specific terms with which you must comply in order to maintain your license while on probation.
- Suspend your license meaning that you will not be able to practice as a nurse.
- Revoke your license.
- Fine you and/or require you to take continuing education.
A hearing is a legal proceeding and you will be required to legally present your case to the Board. Witnesses will be sworn in with a court reporter to record the proceedings including everything that you say.
The State will call witnesses against you to prove their case and you will have the right to cross examine them.
Another option is that you may be able to settle your case rather than have to present it to the Board. If it is possible to negotiate a good settlement, it is preferable to leaving your fate in the hands of all the Board members
I know being called before the Board is a scary and very difficult situation. Every nurse I have represented has said “I never thought I’d get called before the Board.” Also, every nurse I have represented has gotten through this process and has since moved on with their life.
You have an emotional investment in the outcome of the case whereas an attorney does not. That means the attorney can better pursue your legal rights in your best interest.
I hope this never happens to you but, if it does, you know now what to expect.
I can imagine how awful it might be to get fired from a job. You know, with many of us, our life is our profession. We really care about our patients and want to do the best job for them. So, when we do get terminated, it is a huge blow to us both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, if you have been terminated, you are required to disclose that job and the termination on all your future job applications. With that in mind, I have some tips for you on how to write your employment application so that you have the best chance to get a position.
First, when you fill out your job application, it is going to ask you if you have been terminated. You have to put “yes.” But then, it asks the reason for the termination. You don’t have to give a reason. Just simply put down that you will discuss it in an interview. In that way, you have control over what you say and it is not forever a permanent record on your employment application.
Look at the reasons why you were terminated. Was the position you were in a poor fit? Were you understaffed? Did you forget something? Think about the reason or reasons but do take responsibility. Owning it is the biggest power that you have. Owning whatever happened, whatever the situation, because if you DON’T own it, then you’re always at the effect of somebody else.
Where, if you are choosing what happened and learning from it, then you have much more power. It is a much more powerful place to stand.
If you think about times in your life when a bad thing has happened, think about the good that came from it. I know there is some. I know when I was laid off from my position as a partner in a law firm doing medical malpractice defense, I was devastated. It was a horrible time in my life and I was pregnant with my second child. But what a blessing it was for me to start my own practice and to be here for my children. So, find the good in your termination.
Also, make sure you keep a copy of your last employment evaluation. If it was shortly before the time that you were terminated, it may show that whatever happened was an isolated event and could show that you are good nurse and should get hired for whatever position you are seeking.
I hope these tips can help you in realizing that although termination is very unfortunate, they can help you in dealing with it and to move forward with your life.
Employment law is not my area of expertise but if you do have an employment situation that can result in a Board matter, that’s where I come again. With that in mind, I want to share these tips with you to help you protect your license and to provide you with some information on what to do if this should happen.
Being human, mistakes are going to happen. Nurses tend to be somewhat obsessive, compulsive and perfectionist. Or, at least I know I am.
When our boss invites us to their office for a talk, it can be scary. We don’t want anyone to question our professionalism or nursing competence.
So, when you do get written up, it is important to look at the documentation which supports the write-up. If you disagree with the write up, make sure that you put your version of the story on the written notice. You are usually asked to sign the written notice and, while it’s okay to sign it, if you disagree with the facts, you need to write down that you disagree but that you are signing to provide acknowledgement that you received the notice.
This will help you if there is a problem down the line. If they won’t let you write you version of the facts, I suggest you write down your version of the facts, then date and sign it and keep it. It may be important at some time down the road to have your side of the story that was recorded close to the time of the event.
If your employer will not let you write your version of the facts on the write-up or not allow you to supplement their write-up with your version of the facts, make sure you write down your version right away and keep it yourself. It may be important down the line if there is a Board or a medical malpractice matter.
Your employer must follow their policy and procedure manual as far as discipline. Therefore, it is important to know what your employer’s policies and procedures are. I suggest that you look at you copy of your Employee Handbook to make sure you know what the steps are. Your employer is required to follow the steps but, if they don’t, you may have some recourse.
Another thing that I would suggest is to talk to your boss to let him know that you want to work together with him to be the best nurse that you can be. Ask him what you can do to help the situation.
I am always bothered when someone gets written up; it is punitive which does not help address the situation. What classes can you attend? What continuing education can you go to that will help prevent the problem in the future?
And remember, if your job is not the right fit for you; try to find something else because your license is too important. If you lose your job, you will have to disclose on every job application in the future that you were terminated from that job.
So, your assignment is to look at your employee handbook and know your policies and procedures regarding discipline. Also, partner with your boss so that they can help develop you into the best nurse you can be.
Have an empowering day and happy nursing.
Lorie Brown discusses what happens if you get called before the Nurse Licensing Board.