Nurses in the state of Texas are regulated by the Texas Board of Nursing. This Board is not just in charge of licensing nurses of every stripe—including nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists—but is also charged by the Texas State Legislature with enforcing the Nursing Practice Act and its own rules and regulations. It provides nursing education and sets minimum standards for the practice of nursing, receives and conducts investigations into complaints against nurses, and acts as the adjudicatory body, often laying down discipline upon those who are among the most dedicated helping professionals alive.
The Board can behave in what nurses often perceive as a rather aggressive fashion after receiving a complaint against a nurse's license. This is because the Legislature created the Board not for the advancement or edification of nurses, but for the protection of the public. As those caring for citizens when they are at their most vulnerable, nurses are considered to be in a position of relative power that is ripe for abuse. But it's telling that more than 16,000 formal complaints are lodged with the Board every year. When people are at their most vulnerable they also tend to interpret perfectly reasonable decisions and behaviors as attacks, and to feel the need to lash out accordingly in any way they can.
As such, the Board acts in a prosecutorial fashion toward nurses, but it must also give them due process by providing the nurse notice of the complaint's allegations and of the forthcoming investigation—which may culminate in discipline up to revocation of the nurse's license. And a nurse is permitted to have an attorney to help them during every stage of the complaint process.
Common complaints against nurses include allegations of drug or alcohol abuse, failing to meet minimum standards of care and exposing a patient to unnecessary harm, engaging in dishonorable conduct that is likely to either injure, defraud or deceive a patient, and exhibiting a lack of fitness to practice due to some form of physical or mental health condition that might result in patient injury, among others.
As soon as the letter arrives informing a nurse of a complaint, they should contact a qualified and experienced professional license defense attorney. The more time we have to craft a dispassionate, persuasive response, the better. And the earlier in the process we are involved, the more likely we can help to achieve a positive outcome—up to and including a dismissal of the complaint. But we can't help if we aren't contacted.
The experienced professional license defense attorneys at BERTOLINO LLP are skilled at navigating the complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional 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.