The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) licenses qualified registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and advanced nurse practitioners to practice throughout the state of Texas. It is the regulatory agency tasked with enforcing the Texas Nursing Practice Act, conducting investigations of complaints against nurses, and adjudicating complaints.
The Texas BON provides due process to a nurse when a complaint is filed against him or her, giving notice of the investigation and allegations. However, the BON’s primary objective is to ensure the protection of the public. There are certain crimes that if one is convicted of, he or she will be barred from obtaining or maintaining a nursing license in Texas.
When the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) Must Suspend or Revoke a Nurse’s License
301.4535 of the Texas Nursing Practices Act lays forth Required Suspension, Revocation, or Refusal of License for Certain Offenses. If a person is convicted of, or pleads guilty or nolo contendere for any of the listed offenses in the code, then “the board, as appropriate, may not issue a license to an applicant, shall refuse to renew a license, or shall revoke a license.” Tex. Occ. Code Ann §301.4535(b).
However, the revocation or denial of an initial license to practice nursing may not necessarily be indefinite. A person is not eligible to obtain an initial license or for reinstatement of a license to practice nursing ” before the fifth anniversary of the date the person successfully completed and was dismissed from community supervision or parole” for one of the listed offenses. Tex. Occ. Code Ann §301.4535(c).
After five years pass, the BON may at its discretion or pursuant to other applicable rules issue a nursing license.
Common Reasons for Nursing License Suspensions in Texas
The BON has the authority to impose sanctions and take disciplinary action against practicing nurses in Texas. Some of the more common reasons why disciplinary action may be taken against your nursing license include:
- Your nursing license expiring
- Documentation deficiencies or lack of documentation on nursing notes
- Engaging in fraud or dishonesty
- Being arrested
- Being accused of violating the Texas Nursing Practice Act (NPA)
- Boundary violations
- Falsifying documents
- Lying on medical records
- Failure to complete the required number of continuing education requirements
- Practicing with an expired nursing license
- Being charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony
- Substance abuse issues
- Violating HIPAA laws
- Patient abandonment
- Allegations of sexual misconduct
- Nursing malpractice or negligence
As soon as a complaint is made against your nursing license, the BON will automatically open up an investigation into the allegations against you. You could be facing harsh sanctions and penalties if the Board finds that the accusations are not unfounded.
The Applicable Criminal Offenses
Upon proof that a nurse or license applicant has been convicted of (or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere) any of the following, the BON “shall suspend a nurse’s license or refuse to issue a license to an applicant[.]”
- PC §22.02 – Aggravated assault
- PC §22.021 – Aggravated sexual assault
- PC §29.03 – Aggravated robbery
- PC §22.08 – Aiding suicide
- PC §19.02 – Murder
- PC §19.03 – Capital murder
- PC §19.04 – Manslaughter
- PC §21.02 – Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
- PC §21.11 – Indecency with a child under
- PC §22.011 – Sexual assault
- PC §22.04 – Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
- PC §22.041 – Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly abandoning or endangering a child
- An offense involving a violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond under PC §§25.07, 25.071, or 25.072
- PC §25.031 – An agreement to abduct a child from custody
- PC §25.08 – The sale or purchase of a child
- PC §29.02 – Robbery
- Kidnapping or unlawful restraint under PC Chapter 20
- An offense for which a defendant is required to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure
- An offense under the law of another state, federal law, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense listed here.
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When Your Texas Nursing License Is at Risk Because of Criminal Charges
If you have been charged with or convicted of any of the crimes listed in §301.4535 of the Nursing Practices Act, it is critical that you know how it will affect your ability to maintain or obtain a nursing license in Texas. Our experienced Nursing License Defense Attorneys have in-depth knowledge of BON procedures and how they typically respond to criminal charges or convictions.
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Complaints Filed Against Nurses with the Texas Board of Nursing
You have worked for years to become a licensed nurse in Texas. If you are under investigation by the Texas BON, your license, reputation, and career are on the line. It’s critically important that you take the complaint seriously from the start and address the allegations head-on.
For more information, please review The Dos and Don’ts of Appearing Before the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) and our FREE eBook When Your License is Under Attack: A Survival Guide for Texas Professionals.
What to Expect from the Texas Nursing License Suspension Process
Once an investigation has opened up into allegations made against your Texas nursing license, the BON will determine whether disciplinary action should be taken in your case. Here is more about what to expect if your Texas nursing license is in jeopardy:
Nurses are afforded due process when allegations are made against their nursing licenses. You have the right to respond to the complaint made against you and show that you have remained in compliance with the NPA.
The BON’s investigative team will review the complaint and any submitted evidence to determine whether the allegations made against you are accurate. The BON has the authority to expunge complaints, close cases, and retain the documentation in your records, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Generally, BON investigations can take anywhere from five months to 12 months to resolve. The investigators will need to review all documentation and evidence included with a complaint, interview witnesses, and otherwise investigate to determine whether the allegations against you or found it. Your nursing license defense attorney will ensure you are updated regularly as to the status of your nursing license complaint investigation.
An informal settlement may occur when you are offered a proposed agreed order by the BON. This will contain all of the Board’s investigative findings, potential violations, and recommended disciplinary actions, where applicable. If you agree with the contents of your proposed agreed order, you will need to sign it before a notary and return it to the BON for review and ratification.
However, if you do not agree with the proposed agreed order, you have the option of suggesting revisions in writing. The BON has the authority to accept or reject revisions on a case-by-case basis. If the BON accepts your revision request, a new proposed agreed order will be sent for your review.
Once a BON order has been ratified, the order is considered a final board order and will become public information. If you were subject to disciplinary action, this will be included in the BON’s quarterly newsletter and reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
If the BON is unable to work with you to come to an agreement in an informal settlement, or if the Board is unable to get in touch with you during the course of their investigation, they have the authority to file formal charges. This will require you to answer the allegations against you in writing. Failure to answer the Board’s charges may result in the revocation of your nursing license by default.
Once you provide answers to the formal charges filed against you, you can attempt to continue negotiating with the Board for a settlement. You will have a public disciplinary hearing before an administrative law judge who will then submit a proposal for decision (PFD) to the BON. This could include closing your case or imposing disciplinary sanctions or penalties.
Potential Penalties of a Nursing License Suspension
The BON has the discretion to take a variety of different types of disciplinary action against nurses when they find allegations are valid. Some examples of potential disciplinary actions include:
- Being limited to a specific practice area
- Civil penalties or fines
- Educational remediation requirements
- Suspension of your nursing license for a specific period of time
- Voluntary surrender or revocation of your nursing license for a specific period of time
- Imposition of monitoring of your nursing license
- Public reprimand
- Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Censure for NPA violations
- Completion of an alternative-to-discipline program
Disciplinary actions will remain public in the hopes of preventing nurses from avoiding disciplinary action by moving to another state and attempting to practice without facing their sanctions. There may also be a waiting period in place, generally one year from the date your nursing license was suspended, before you will be eligible to apply for reinstatement. You will also need to meet other requirements before you can petition the BON for nursing license reinstatement.
Your nursing license defense attorney will be by your side to help you prove to the Board that the basis for your nursing license suspension or revocation is no longer valid. This way, you can get your nursing license reinstated and get back to doing what you love.
How to Challenge the Accusations Against Your Nursing License in Texas
When allegations have been made against your nursing license in Texas, it is imperative that you get in touch with a nursing license defense attorney as soon as possible.
Our firm can help you answer the allegations against you and work with the BON to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. The last thing you want is for disciplinary action to remain on your public and permanent nursing record.
Call a Texas Nursing License Defense Attorney at Bertolino LLP Today
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or Board. If you have received a licensing complaint, Bertolino LLP can help. We represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your license and reputation.
If you have questions or need to speak with an attorney about professional license defense, please call our office or reach out to contact us.