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Nurses: Be Careful What You Say at an Informal Settlement Conference

An Informal Settlement Conference (ISC) consists of a presentation of the allegations and evidence in the investigation against the nurse to members of the Board of Nursing. The nurse and/or his or her attorneys then present their rebuttal. After information is exchanged, the board then issues their recommendation. The nurse and/or his or her attorneys may accept the proposal, submit a revised proposal, or escalate to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

Although informal settlement conferences are less formal than an actual hearing before SOAH, ISCs are still official proceedings, and any statements made at an ISC can be damaging to the nurse in a subsequent formal hearing. Therefore, nurses shouldn't attend an ISC without an attorney present, as section §213.20(d)(4) of the Nursing Practice Act provides that, "although, a verbatim transcript is not being kept of the informal conference, party admissions and outline notes may be used at a formal hearing if this matter is docketed as a formal complaint at the State Office of Administrative Hearings."

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