Losing your nursing license can seem like the end of the world. The first thing to remember is that your professional life and career is not over. There are a variety of great jobs available to former nurses that we will discuss.
More importantly, you need to know what to do to protect your professional reputation. It is not too late to save your license. The Texas nursing license defense attorneys of Bertolino LLP are here to help you through this difficult time.
Challenging the National Practitioner Data Bank Report Is Crucial
When adverse actions are taken against a health care provider, a report is sent to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Hospitals and other medically related organizations use the NPDB’s information to ensure the quality of their workforce, including:
- Whether to extend practice privileges
- The consideration of a job offer
- Verification of adequate licensure
- Membership to various professional societies
You need to know that you can challenge a negative report against you by taking the following steps:
- Submit a statement that clarifies or adds information to the report
- Begin a dispute by reporting any inaccuracies
While initiating the dispute will not automatically begin a review process on the part of the NPDB, you are able to leave the report in dispute, withdraw the dispute, or push for a Dispute Resolution. For your statement to be elevated to the Dispute Resolution process, you must contact the organization that submitted the report against you. If direct communication to resolve the negative report fails, you may ask the NPDB to begin the Dispute Resolution process.
What Happens When Your Information Is Pulled from the NPDB?
When a medical facility sends a request to pull your information from the NPDB, your written statement will be sent along with the NPDB report. This statement is the only opportunity you have to address any expressed wrongdoing. While the statement will not change the report, it is critical to your professional reputation.
The Consequences of an NPDB Report Can Have a Profound Impact on Your Nursing Career
Any negative reports or reporting errors can be refuted in a professional and timely manner. The NPDB is a database comprised of information regarding health care workers and suppliers. Reports are collected concerning:
- Medical malpractice payments
- Any actions that were taken by a private accredited entity or a peer review organization
- Negative actions that were taken by a professional society membership
- Federal and state certification and licensing actions
- Negative actions against clinical privileges
- Government exclusions from programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare
- Civil and criminal judgments
- Terminations of health plan contracts
Hospitals and medical facilities are required to file reports with the NPDB or be subject to sanctions. In addition, hospitals, state licensing boards, health plans, and other medical organizations routinely pull reports from the database. The information in the NPDB database can significantly affect your nursing career.
NPDB reports can lead to:
- The loss of your license, including investigations and sanctions
- Increased insurance premiums
- Rejection from an employment position
- Restricted privileges
- The exclusion from health plans
Whether the report will stand, be altered, or removed will ultimately be decided by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary will authorize the Division of Practitioner Data Bank to conduct a review. With government oversight, it is essential to defend your professional reputation and avoid the above consequences.
Nursing Malpractice Claims and Adverse Disciplinary Actions Have Increased
Nurses are more vulnerable to NPDB reports than any other medical practitioner. Data collected from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services show that nurses are the most commonly reported profession to the NPDB. The majority of malpractice claims involve diagnosis and treatment errors.
According to the Nurses Service Organization (NSO), medical malpractice claims have totaled more than $90.3 million over the last five years. The highest claims paid out involved patients who suffered comas resulting from medication errors. The most common reasons for malpractice suits concern:
- Surgical mistakes account for 36.1% of claims
- 16.4% of claims are due to gerontology, or the specialized care for elderly patients
- Home and hospice care account for 12.4% of malpractice suits
The majority of nursing licensing complaints involve unprofessional conduct and medication errors. However, it is important to know most medical errors or reportable offenses are not limited to nurses new in the field. Nearly 85% of malpractice claims are against nurses who have been practicing for over 16 years.
Click to contact our professional license defense lawyers today
Nurses Have Transferable Skills to Consider
Whether you have been practicing for one year or 20, losing your nursing license is devastating. It takes years of schooling and training to enter the nursing field. If nursing is the only job experience you have, it may be time to consider other avenues.
A nurse whose license has been revoked or suspended will find job opportunities in health care limited. While it is possible for an unlicensed nurse to become a nursing assistant, dialysis technician, or work in a doctor’s office, it may be best to find work where your nursing skills are transferable. For example:
- Nursing IT careers, including nurse informatics, medical records technician, and health information consultants
- Legal nurse consultant
- Health insurance, including clinical researcher, auditor, medical billing, and coding
- Pharmaceuticals, including manufacturing consultant, researcher, educator, or sales representative
Such opportunities exist in the fields of information technology, where a nurse’s experience with computers will be valued, consulting, or selling nursing-related products. It may also be beneficial to expand your skillset. You can earn certifications to teach cardiac life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), or earn a degree in IT or business administration.
Complete a Case Evaluation form now
When You Have Lost Your Texas Nursing License, It Is Possible to Have it Reinstated
Whether your are a Registered Nurse, a Licensed Vocational Nurse or an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, when a complaint is filed against your license, it will trigger an investigation. Unless the complaint involves drugs or a mental health concern, an investigation may take 4 to 6 months before completion. In some cases, your license could be suspended pending the results of an inquiry.
While you are under investigation by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON), you have options:
- We would advise against relying on the BON investigator or any other BON personnel.
- We would also suggest that you do not reply to inquiries from the BON on your own.
Mishaps, even slight ones, can doom your quest for reinstatement. While it is tempting to cooperate fully, the BON investigator does not have your best interests at heart. Seemingly harmless statements or admissions can be used against you.
Consult a Nursing License Defense Attorney in Texas
It is best to seek the advice of an experienced license defense attorney in Texas as soon as possible to go over the particulars of your case. At Bertolino LLP, our knowledgeable lawyers can evaluate your circumstances and plot the best course of action.
Our talented legal staff has years of experience assisting licensed professionals in a wide range of legal areas. With a long track record of success, we have dedicated our skills to defending nurses and other specialists. If you are facing issues that threaten your professional license, contact us to schedule a consultation today.