You worked hard for years to become a vocational nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner in Texas. If a complaint is filed against you, your nursing license and career are in jeopardy. Even if you believe you did nothing wrong, it is imperative that you are prepared to properly defend yourself against a Board of Nursing complaint that has been lodged against you.
The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is charged with the oversight of nursing practices. It sets the standards for and issues nurse licensure, approves nursing education programs, provides information to the public, enforces the Nursing Practice Act and BON Rules and Regulations, and adjudicates complaints.
Texas Board of Nursing Complaint Process: Investigation to Resolution
An important public protection responsibility of the BON is to provide an objective process for resolving complaints filed against nurses and determine if imposing disciplinary action is appropriate.
The BON provides due process to a nurse when a complaint is filed against him or her, giving notice of the investigation and allegations. The nurse is given the opportunity to respond and defend against the allegations of misconduct. During all stages of the complaint process, a nurse has the right to be represented by an attorney and the right to appeal a Board decision.
Upon receipt of a complaint, a determination is made as to whether the facts as stated, if true, would constitute a violation of the regulations that govern nurse's practice. Once such a determination is made, an investigation into the complaint is initiated.
During the course of an investigation, the BON investigator may interview witnesses, obtain court or police records, patient records, employer policies and procedures, and conduct site visits. Thought the majority of investigations are conducted through the mail or over-the-phone.
Once the necessary evidence is gathered, then the nurse will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. Thereafter, the case is either closed or BON will pursue sanctions, which may include remedial education, fines, warning, reprimand, suspension, probation, or license revocation.
Informal Settlement Process
The majority of complaints are resolved informally, without the need for a formal administrative hearing.
The informal settlement process most often begins with the Board offering the nurse a proposed Order listing sanctions and any other requirements for license retention. The nurse can agree to the proposed Order, reject the Order, or try to negotiate more favorable settlement terms. Your nurse license defense attorney can negotiate on your behalf and advocate for you at the information settlement conference.
If the nurse agrees to the contents of the proposed Order, it will then be scheduled for review and ratification by the BON at the monthly meeting.
Formal Administrative Hearing
If the nurse does not agree to the Order and settlement is not possible, then the case will be scheduled for a formal hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). An Administrative Law Judge will preside over the hearing and thereafter will make a resolution recommendation to the BON.
For more helpful guidance, read our article The Do's and Don'ts of Appearing Before the Texas Board of Nursing (BON).
Get a copy of Tony Bertolino's Bestselling book When Your License is Under Attack: A Survival Guide for Texas Professionals in hardcover or for Kindle here.
Hire an Experienced Nurse License Defense Attorney
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with the Texas Board of Nursing, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced BON license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate BON's complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional license.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.
Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.