Challenging the Denial of a Nursing License

Receiving a denial of your application for a nursing license can be devastating. After all, you have spent countless hours studying to earn your degree and work toward a career in nursing, only to suffer a major setback. However, you have options when you have received a denial of your nursing license. Enlisting the help of a nursing license denial lawyer can help you fight back against the denial and work to get the license you have earned. With legal assistance, you may also be able to negotiate the best possible resolution of the matter and obtain the licensure you desire.

Requirements to Apply for a Nurse’s License

Tex. Occ. Code § 301.252 requires that each applicant for a registered nurse or vocational nurse license submit a sworn application demonstrating their qualifications, including evidence that they:

  • Have good professional character related to the practice of nursing;
  • Has completed an approved program of professional or vocational nursing; and
  • Has passed an approved jurisprudence examination.

An applicant who provides satisfactory evidence that the applicant has not violated the rules or laws applicable to nurses is considered to have good professional character related to the practice of nursing. Any determination of the BON that an applicant does not have good professional character related to the practice of nursing must be based on a showing by the board of a clear and rational connection between a violation of an applicable law or rule and the applicant’s ability to practice nursing effectively.

Grounds for Denial of a Nurse’s License

Any determination that an individual does not possess good professional character related to the practice of nursing, as defined above, can result in the denial of a nursing license. However, Tex. Occ. Code § 301.452 sets forth some specific grounds that can subject a person to the denial of a license, license renewal, temporary permit, or disciplinary action if the person already holds a license:

  • a violation of rules or laws applicable to nursing;
  • fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a nursing license;
  • a conviction for, or placement on deferred adjudication community supervision or deferred disposition for, a felony or for a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
  • conduct that results in the revocation of probation imposed because of conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
  • using a fraudulently purchased, issued, counterfeited, or materially altered nursing license, diploma, or permit;
  • impersonating or acting as a proxy for another person in the nursing licensing examination;
  • directly or indirectly aiding or abetting another in the unauthorized practice of nursing;
  • revocation, suspension, or denial of, or any other action relating to, the person’s license or privilege to practice nursing in another jurisdiction or under federal law;
  • intemperate use of alcohol or drugs that BON determines endangers or could endanger a patient;
  • unprofessional conduct in the practice of nursing that is likely to deceive, defraud, or injure a patient or the public;
  • adjudication of mental incompetency;
  • lack of fitness to practice because of a mental or physical health condition that could result in injury to a patient or the public;
  • illegally performing or delegating to another individual the performance of a pelvic examination on an anesthetized or unconscious patient; or
  • failure to care adequately for a patient or to conform to the minimum standards of acceptable nursing practice in a manner that, in the board’s opinion, exposes a patient or other person unnecessarily to risk of harm.

Denial of licenses based on “unprofessional conduct in the practice of nursing that is likely to deceive, defraud, or injure a patient or the public” must be based on objective criteria that are clearly and rationally connected to the applicant’s or license holder’s conduct and that any negative outcome resulting from that conduct is determined to affect the person’s ability to practice nursing effectively.

Furthermore, Tex. Occ. Code § 301.4535 requires the BON to refuse to issue a nursing license to an individual if they have been convicted of some criminal offenses, including murder, manslaughter, various sex crimes, robbery, and aggravated assault. Individuals convicted of these crimes may not become eligible for a nursing license any earlier than the fifth anniversary of the case’s completion date and were dismissed from community supervision or parole for one of the specified offenses.

Review of a Nursing License Denial

Tex. Occ. Code § 301.454(c) entitles individuals to a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) if the BON refuses to admit them to the nursing examination or issue them a license or temporary permit. The SOAH will appoint an administrative law judge (ALJ) to the case, who will hear from both sides. The ALJ then will make findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations concerning whether the BON should have denied or permitted licensure.

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Alternatives to Denial of Nursing Licenses

In some cases, BON may not outright deny an individual a nursing license, but it may issue a temporary or restricted nursing license under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 213.33(3). Examples of these licenses may include:

  • Approval of temporary permit or licensure with one or more reasonable probationary stipulations as a condition of issuance; or
  • Probated order denying a license application, petition, or temporary permit

Reasonable probationary stipulations may include requirements for the individual to:

  • submit to care, supervision, counseling, or treatment by a health provider designated by the Board as a condition for the issuance, renewal, or reinstatement/reactivation of the license or temporary permit or the return to direct patient care from a limited license;
  • submit to an evaluation;
  • participate in a program of education or counseling;
  • limit specific nursing activities and/or practice settings and/or require periodic BON review;
  • practice for a specified period under the direction of a registered nurse or vocational nurse designated by BON;
  • abstain from unauthorized use of drugs and alcohol to be verified by random drug testing conducted through urinalysis; or
  • perform public service which BON considers appropriate;

Individuals also can contest restrictions or reasonable probationary stipulations placed on their nursing licenses through the appeals process.

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Get Legal Representation Today to Help Obtain Your Nursing License

After you have worked so hard to finish your education and develop a career path, the denial of your application for a nursing license can be unexpected and disappointing. Having an experienced nursing license denial attorney on your team can be essential to a positive outcome in appealing the denial of your application. You can reach the offices of Bertolino LLP by calling (512) 515-9518 today or filling out our contact form online.

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