An allegation of misconduct can come from almost anyone including a patient, co-worker, administrator, or co-worker. If the individual reaches out to the state board of nursing, the nurse who is facing the allegations could find themselves at the center of an investigation. Depending on the findings, the board could choose to put the nurse on probation, suspend or even revoke the nurse’s nursing license. Because the penalties can be so severe, it is important to take the allegations seriously.
What should I do if I face allegations of misconduct?
Although the exact process will vary based on the details of the situation, the following general guidance applies to most who find themselves in this situation:
- Do not sign anything: The board may ask for you to sign off on a release of records so they can review the situation. Although this may be helpful, it is a good idea to carefully review any documents before signing them.
- Cooperate: The investigation could include requests for information or, if the allegations include concerns about substance abuse, a request for drug testing. Be civil, but before you agree to anything take a moment to learn your rights in this situation.
- Do not change records: Maybe you are worried you forgot to add a note or clarify something in a patient’s record, and it could lead to questions or confusion. Do not give in to the temptation to go back in and change the records. This will lead to even more problems.
It is not uncommon for the board to reach out to the nurse to hear their side during the investigation. Know that you do not have to go through this alone. You can hire legal counsel to represent your interests and better ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.