The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) licenses and regulates all types of nurses licensed in Texas. Nurses can face disciplinary proceedings concerning their licenses if BON receives complaints against them and finds that they have violated the rules or laws that apply to them. Since the repercussions of these proceedings can be severe, contacting an experienced Texas nursing license defense lawyer should be your first step if you receive notice of a complaint against you. 

One of the BON’s disciplinary sanctions is to suspend nursing licenses. In some cases, a nursing license suspension may be probated; in other words, the individual can continue working as a nurse if they comply with certain conditions. In other cases, the BON suspends the license altogether, meaning the individual may not work as a nurse. 

Generally, the BON has broad authority to order sanctions commensurate with the individuals’ violations. The BON typically can choose from a wide range of sanctions in fashioning the remedy it deems appropriate in each case after weighing applicable aggravating and mitigating circumstances. However, some circumstances exist under which Texas law requires the BON to suspend a nurse’s license.

Mandatory Suspension and Revocation for Criminal Convictions

Under Tex. Occ. Code §301.4535, the BON must suspend the nursing license of any individual initially convicted of certain criminal offenses. These offenses include the following:

  • murder, capital murder, or manslaughter;
  • kidnapping or unlawful restraint if punished as a felony or state jail felony;
  • sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault;
  • continuous sexual abuse of a young child or disabled individual or indecency with a child;
  • aggravated assault;
  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual;
  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly abandoning or endangering a child;
  • aiding suicide if punished as a state jail felony;
  • an offense involving a violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond under Section 25.07, 25.071, or 25.072, Penal Code, if punished as a felony;
  • an agreement to abduct a child from custody;
  • the sale or purchase of a child;
  • robbery and aggravated robbery;
  • an offense for which a defendant is required to register as a sex offender; or
  • 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 above.

After final conviction, or upon a plea of guilty or no contest to these crimes, the BON must revoke or refuse to renew the nursing license of the individual. Furthermore, an individual convicted of one of these offenses will remain ineligible to reinstate a nursing license until at least five years from the date of completion and dismissal from community supervision or parole.

Mandatory Temporary License Restrictions and Suspensions

Texas law provides for other circumstances in which the BON must temporarily suspend or restrict an individual’s nursing license. For instance, under Tex. Occ. Code §301.455, a majority of the BON or a three-member committee of board members designated by the BON must temporarily suspend or restrict a nurse’s license if their continued practice would constitute a continued and imminent threat to the public welfare. 

Under certain conditions in this section, the temporary suspension or restriction may occur without notice or hearing. More specifically, the BON must initiate proceedings for a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) simultaneously with the temporary restriction or suspension, and a hearing must be held as soon as possible. Furthermore, the SOAH must hold a preliminary hearing by the 17th day after the temporary suspension or restriction date. At that preliminary de novo hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the case must determine whether probable cause exists to justify the finding that continued practice by the nurse would be a continued and imminent threat to the public welfare. SOAH must hold a final hearing by the 61st day after the temporary suspension or restriction date. 

Furthermore, under Tex. Occ. Code §301.4551, the BON must temporarily suspend the license of a nurse who is under a board order prohibiting the use of alcohol or a drug or requiring the nurse to participate in a peer assistance program, and the nurse:

  • Tests positive for alcohol or a prohibited drug;
  • Refuses to comply with a board order to submit to a drug or alcohol test; or 
  • Fails to participate in the peer assistance program, and the program issues a letter of dismissal and referral to the board for noncompliance.

To suspend a license under this section, the BON must find probable cause that the nurse continuing to practice constitutes a continuing and imminent threat to the public welfare exists.

Defend Yourself Against Disciplinary Proceedings Involving Your Nursing License 

Don’t allow an isolated complaint to wreak havoc on your career. Losing your nursing license can be highly detrimental to your livelihood. If you are facing the loss of your nursing license, we can help you take the steps necessary to challenge the allegations against you in your disciplinary proceedings. Contact a nursing license defense attorney at Bertolino LLP, for advice today. Make an appointment by calling (512) 515-9518 or contact us online to see how we can help.

Call or text (512) 476-5757 or complete a Case Evaluation form