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What should a nurse do if their license is threatened?

It is important to take a notification of a formal board complaint and investigation seriously. Each state has its own local board that takes the lead in this process. The Texas Board of Nursing (the Board) is the regulatory body responsible for this process in Texas.

How does the complaint process work?

The Board will review complaints from pretty much anyone. Those who wish to file a complaint against a nurse can simply go onto the Board’s website and choose the right form. Forms available to file a complaint include a general online complaint form that can be used by anyone as well as a written complaint form for Nursing Peer Review Committees or another designed specifically for employers.

What types of complaints will the Board take seriously?

There are some situations that do not lead to an actionable complaint from the state’s nursing board. The Board states it generally does not get involved in complaints about a nurse’s demeanor or employer-employee issues.

Instead, the group reports that some of the most common complaints it receives can include allegations of unprofessional conduct, failure to provide adequate care or meet professional standards as well as impairment.

What should I do if I am the subject of a complaint?

First, as noted above, take the notification seriously. Do not dismiss the allegation as frivolous. Even without basis, the Board may require a response may to officially have the claim dismissed. Next, take the following steps:

  • Look for deadlines. These notifications often have important deadlines. Review the communication for these deadlines and make sure you do not miss them.
  • Avoid talking about it. It is tempting to reach out to your support network or coworkers to discuss the issue for validation. It is best to refrain. It is also generally best not to reach out to the patient, co-worker, or senior who you suspect may have filed the complaint.
  • Reach out for help. You do not have to go through this alone. It is your right to hire legal counsel to help advocate for your interests.

Those looking to act to protect their interests are best served by legal counsel familiar with this niche area of healthcare law.