Ohio Nursing License Defense Attorneys
If you are a nurse who has been contacted by the Ohio Board of Nursing about a possible investigation or action against your license, it will benefit you to seek the help of a skilled lawyer to protect your rights and your license. The Ohio nursing license defense attorneys at Graff & McGovern have decades of collective experience helping nurses to keep their licenses and save their careers. Contact us today at 614-228-5800, or use our online form, to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
What the Ohio Board of Nursing Does
The nursing board’s stated goal is to protect public health by regulating the nursing profession. Under authority provided by the Ohio legislature, the board establishes rules and regulations for:
- Licensure and certification
- Standards of practice
- Pre-licensure nursing education
Because the board regulates the profession and education required by nurses, it has tremendous power over the careers and livelihoods of the various types of nurses, medication aides, dialysis technicians, and certified community health workers it oversees, as well as over educational and training programs throughout Ohio.
Reasons for an Ohio Nursing Board Investigation
A major function of the nursing board is to handle complaints, investigations, and adjudications whenever a licensee or certificate holder, or an applicant for a license or certificate, is believed to have violated the Nurse Practice Act (NPA). The board refers to this function as Compliance, Discipline, and Monitoring.
Most of these cases involve:
- Practice issues (like standard of care violations, medication handling / administration / wasting violations and professional boundary violations);
- Substance use disorders;
- Criminal conduct;
- Failure to honor terms imposed through Consent Agreements / Adjudication Order;
- Providing false / misleading information to the Nursing Board, employers and potential employers; and/or
- Having discipline imposed by another state’s nursing board or by another licensing entity.
The full list of violations that might result in a compliance, discipline, and monitoring case is set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 4723.28 and 4723.281.
Another major function of the nursing board is to handle complaints, investigations and adjudications whenever a pre-licensure nursing education or other training program regulated by the board is believed to have violated the NPA or believed not to have met the requirements for approval set forth in the NPA.
Under Ohio law, when a court, employer, or certain other people suspect that a licensee, certificate holder, or training program has violated the NPA, it is mandatory for the possible violation to be reported to the nursing board. Patients, family members, students, faculty, and other interested parties also can report possible violations. Complaints are confidential and trigger an investigation into the alleged violation.
The investigation process followed by the Nursing Board is similar when:
- An application for a license or certificate raises concerns over potential NPA violations;
- An application for approval as a pre-licensure nursing education or other training program raises concerns over potential NPA violations; and/or
- Complaints are made against a pre-licensure nursing education or other training program regarding potential NPA violations
Possible Outcomes of an Investigation
Once an investigation is complete, the nursing board decides whether to:
- Dismiss the complaint;
- Address the complaint through confidential and informal means such as a letter of caution;
- Address the complaint through confidential and formal means such as the Nursing Board’s Alternative Program; or
- Address the complaint through public and formal means such as a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing, Consent Agreement and/or Adjudication Order.
It typically takes the Nursing Board 2 to 6 months to investigate a complaint and decide on the next step. It can be valuable to you to have a lawyer during this process to represent your interests and negotiate an outcome that protects your career.
When You Need an Ohio Nursing License Lawyer
There are many points during the process of obtaining a nursing license or certification, or being investigated or disciplined by the nursing board, when it will be highly beneficial to you to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Some reasons you may need an Ohio nursing license lawyer can include:
- Something in your license application or renewal may trigger a report or investigation. In this instance, a lawyer can carefully review your application and help you navigate potential landmines so that you can obtain or keep your license or certification. A lawyer can also make sure you are treated fairly by the nursing board and that the board properly follows the process.
- You are contacted by a nursing board investigator, also known as a compliance officer, or a law enforcement officer about a complaint. When this happens, a lawyer with a thorough knowledge of nursing board regulations can advise you of your rights and protect your rights through the investigation process and the next steps.
- You receive a notice from the board. Sometimes, you may not know that you are suspected of a possible violation until you receive a formal public notice that may take one of four forms: 1) a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing; 2) a Notice of Immediate Suspension and Opportunity for Hearing; 3) a Notice of Summary Suspension and Opportunity for Hearing; or 4) a Notice of Automatic Suspension and Opportunity for Hearing. In this event, a skilled nursing license lawyer can ensure that your due process rights are protected, you get the hearing you deserve, and advocate for the best possible outcome for you.
It is very important to understand that in almost all types of cases, you have no obligation to communicate with the nursing board investigator of law enforcement investigator before first deciding whether involve an attorney. Therefore, when contacted by an investigator, it is perfectly within your rights to politely advise the investigator that you want to speak with an attorney before having any further communications with the investigator.
Graff & McGovern typically offers the reminder that licensed individuals and training programs control the flow of information, should guard adverse information carefully, and should only consider providing information to a board or agency after consulting with an attorney who is experienced in handing nursing board cases.
Experienced Ohio Nursing License Defense Lawyers
Most cases before the Ohio Nursing Board are resolved through a negotiated settlement. A significant portion of people and programs alleged to have violated the NPA can avoid the hearing process and instead negotiate a consent agreement with the board. However, this is generally not something you should try to do on your own.
Whether you negotiate a settlement or go through the hearing process, the help of an attorney experienced in representing individuals and training programs before the nursing board can be critical to your success. An experienced nursing license lawyer understands the details and nuances of the board’s rules and regulations and how best to present your case in a way that allows you to protect your license or certification.
At Graff & McGovern, our attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals and training programs in matters before the Ohio Board of Nursing. We work with this board regularly and have a masterful understanding of how the board works and the best strategies for protecting your career. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 614-228-5800, or use our online form, to schedule an appointment with our team of Ohio nursing license defense lawyers.