Disciplinary Complaints Before the Missouri Board of Nursing
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley defends nurses who receive disciplinary complaints from the Missouri Board of Nursing. The Firm regularly provides legal counsel to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners in disciplinary proceedings before the Missouri Board of Nursing. The Firm has significant knowledge of nursing regulations and procedures and extensive experience representing nurses throughout Missouri.
Nursing Law Matters
Our attorneys with our Firm have handled a wide variety of legal issues facing nurses, including the following:
- Failed Drug and Alcohol testing
- Medication diversion allegations
- Documentation and Charting issues
- Patient Care issues
- Criminal charges
- Medication Waste and Administration allegations
- Diversion Program Settlements and Violation hearings
- Nurse Licensure Compact
- Nursing License Probation Violation complaints
- Nursing License Applications and Renewals
- Evidentiary Hearings before the Administrative Hearing Commission
Notice of Investigation from a Nursing Board Investigator
Anyone can file a complaint against a nurse. Employers generally file complaints after terminating a nurse for cause or following an internal investigation. The complaint will likely trigger an initial investigation by a Board investigator. However, the fact that a complaint is lodged and investigated does not mean the Board will automatically impose discipline. Our Firm has successfully defended nurses accused of DUI, drug possession, narcotics diversion, documentation errors, criminal convictions, misconduct, HIPPA violations, fraud, sexual misconduct, incompetency, negligence, probation violations, and other allegations against LPNs, RNs, and APRNs.
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley can help nurses favorably resolve complaints received from the Board, including preventing or minimizing disciplinary action. Nurses under investigation will first receive written notice from a Board investigator that a complaint has been filed against their license. Upon receipt of this notice, it is important for the nurse to seek legal counsel to ensure the most accurate and effective response to the complaint. If contacted by a Nursing Board investigator regarding an allegation of misconduct, it is critical to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Potential Discipline for Violating the Nursing Practice Act
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley works closely with nurses to defend against allegations made in complaints. Common allegations by which a nurse may be subject to discipline under Missouri law include:
- Felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction or guilty plea;
- Medication diversion;
- Unlawful use or possession of drugs;
- Drug or alcohol intoxication or impairment;
- Refusal to take a drug or alcohol test;
- Incompetency, gross negligence, or repeated negligence in the performance of nursing duties;
- Misconduct, dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation in the performance of nursing duties;
- Performing nursing duties beyond the authorized scope of practice;
- Administering medications without a physician order;
- Failing to conform to nursing standards;
- Violating privacy or confidentiality rights of a patient or resident;
- False or improper reporting or documentation;
- Failing to assess, accurately document, or report the status of a patient;
- Physical or sexual abuse of patients;
- Nursing application issues;
- Disciplinary action by another state board;
- Probation violations;
- Non-disciplinary consent agreement violations.
The Firm also works to ensure that its clients avoid unnecessary discipline because of failure to appropriately respond to the Nursing Board complaint.
The Complaint Process
The nursing complaint may be resolved as part of the initial investigation through dismissal or agreement between the parties as to discipline. Potential forms of discipline include censure, probation, suspension, revocation, or participation in a diversion program.
If the complaint is not resolved as part of the initial investigation, it may be referred to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) for litigation and a hearing to determine whether the nurse's license is subject to discipline. A hearing before the AHC is a trial-like process requiring the Board to present evidence and prove a violation of the Nursing Practice Act or nursing regulations. If the nurse is successful in defending against the complaint before the AHC, the complaint is dismissed there are no further proceedings. If the AHC finds a violation was committed, the Nursing Board holds a second hearing to determine the appropriate discipline. This determination is based on the findings of the AHC, the nurse’s testimony at the hearing before the Board, and consideration of mitigating circumstances.
It is crucial to have experienced counsel on your side to protect your interests and avoid unnecessary discipline of your license. The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley will assist you in preparing a strong response and defense in order to protect your license and employment.
Probation and Diversion Programs
Nurses who are placed on probation are subject to employment restrictions and employer reporting and verification. Nurses may also have to undergo drug testing, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and continuing education courses. The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley works with nurses to minimize the impact of probation on their current and future employment.
In 2018, the Missouri legislature directed the Board to institute diversion programs for nurses who test positive in pre-employment or for-cause drug or alcohol screens, nurses who are convicted of drug-related criminal charges, and nurses who have a substance use disorder. These programs allow nurses to complete a probationary term with the Board without public discipline against their license. These programs offer significant benefits to nurses but also can result in substantial consequences, including license suspension or additional disciplinary proceedings. Nurses who are seeking or who are offered placement in a diversion program should consult with an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley to understand their rights and the requirements of the programs.
Nurses who are on probation or in a diversion program may be accused of violating the terms and conditions of their agreement. These nurses must appear at a hearing before the Board, which could result in additional discipline up to and including suspension or revocation. Nurses with probation or diversion complaints should consult an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley has extensive experience representing nurses in these proceedings and can help resolve these allegations favorably.
If you are a nurse who has received a complaint against your license, a complaint with the Administrative Hearing Commission, an unfair settlement proposal from the Board of Nursing, or a probation violation complaint, contact the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley to obtain the most experienced legal counsel to address the situation by calling (314) 645-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.