The importance of nurses in the lives of all Texans cannot be overstated (particularly now). And the number of responsibilities they carry in providing their patients with care are nearly too many to count. They are the heart, the lifeblood, of the medical profession, because of the frequency and depth of their contact with the patients the profession exists to serve. Still, there are limits to the actions nurses are permitted to take since, for better or worse, physicians are considered the “brain” of the profession due to their more rigorously intellectualized training. As such, the Texas legislature has reserved exclusively for physicians certain forms of care—and nurses, if they attempt to provide these forms of care, maybe disciplined for acting outside the scope of their authority. This particularly applies to situations in which nurses are alleged to have provided treatments, made medical diagnoses reserved for physician decision-makers, or provided medications without explicit physician approval.
Unfortunately, the line between admissible care and inadmissible care can be an unclear one at times. Any nurse knows that real-world conditions are not as cut-and-dry as any legal language tries to make it out to be—and even this often fails, as the laws can be confusing to nurses, to say the least, and may even be subject to inconsistent interpretations by various policymakers and enforcers. Moreover, disciplinary boards are primed to protect the public and seem to have a tendency to perceive (or even presume) wrongdoing where none exists.
Complaints made against nurses’ licenses to the Texas Board of Nursing alleging that nurses have violated the scope of their profession may result in severe penalties if found to be true. Nurses may find themselves subject to numerous forms of censure—up to and including a complete revocation of their license to practice their chosen profession.
This is why, as soon as the letter arrives informing a nurse of a complaint alleging they have breached their scope of practice, they should contact a qualified and experienced professional license defense attorney. The more time we have to craft a response, the better. And the earlier in the process we are involved, the more likely the licensee is to achieve a positive outcome—up to and including a dismissal of the complaint. But we can’t help if we aren’t contacted.
If you have been notified of a complaint, BERTOLINO LLP can help. Our experienced professional license defense attorneys are skilled at navigating the BON’s complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your nursing license. With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. As experienced attorneys, well-versed in state and federal laws, we know how to win. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 to schedule a case evaluation.