Patient Care Complaints Before the Missouri Board of Nursing
Allegations of improper patient care can be among the most serious Missouri nurses face. The Board of Nursing often investigates these complaints thoroughly, especially if a patient is harmed or at risk of harm. These investigations and legal proceedings revolve around nursing standards, proper patient care, complex medical evidence, policies and practices, and specific legal standards. Nurses facing accusations of improperly caring for patients need representation from a law firm with the right background, expertise, and resources to successfully defend their licenses. Dolley Law, LLC has represented many nurses accused of faulty or negligent patient care and can help you defend against these allegations from the Board.
Defending Nurses Against Allegations Related to Patient Care
Nurses rightfully take pride in their nursing practice and ability to care for patients. Many went into the profession to help people and continue working in difficult environments because they care about their patients. Allegations of improper patient care are among the most difficult and personal accusations nurses can face because their basic competence as a nurse professional is often being questioned. These cases are frequently emotionally trying and may involve complex questions of fact and law. Nurses must explain their prior actions (or omissions) in stressful and chaotic environments, sometimes months or years after the fact. It is easy to get discouraged, question one’s nursing practice, and feel helpless in the face of a patient care complaint from the Board.
When facing these allegations, Missouri nurses need an advocate who understands nursing practice and Missouri law. The Board must meet certain factual and evidentiary standards to prove its case. Medical evidence and testimony are almost always involved, and expert witness testimony may be required. In certain situations, a single incident or mistake may not make a nurse subject to discipline under the Nursing Practice Act. Knowledge and understanding of hospital or employer policies and practices can be critical. Practicing nurses often know standard practices or directions from supervisors may diverge from official policies.
Nurses know that patient care is the most important aspect of their jobs. Nurses are constantly asked to put patient care above all else. Unfortunately, a poor outcome or poor documentation may lead an employer or the Board to suspect improper care. Nurses may face serious allegations of causing patient harm, injury, or even death. This can lead to additional suspicion and allegations of additional misconduct, such as drug diversion, drug use, or false documentation. Nurses may also face criminal investigations, placement on the Employee Disqualification List, or immediate license suspension proceedings. Dolley Law, LLC has the resources, knowledge, and skill to effectively defend these cases and has successfully represented many Missouri nurses accused of providing improper care or harming patients. The Firm provides comprehensive representation in all legal proceedings facing Missouri nurses and our attorneys have the legal and medical knowledge needed to effectively defend against complaints from the Board.
Missouri Board of Nursing Standards in Patient Care Cases
Missouri registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses accused of improper patient care may face discipline for:
- Unethical conduct;
- Unprofessional conduct;
- Gross negligence;
- Repeated negligence;
- Failure or refusal to assess a patient;
- Improper medication administration;
- Failure to treat patients;
- Treatment not in accordance with a physician’s orders;
- Failure to conform to nursing standards;
- Intentionally or negligently causing physical or emotional harm to a patient;
- Violation of a professional trust or confidence;
- Failure or refusal to properly guard against contagious or infectious diseases;
- Performing professional services under unsanitary conditions;
- Conduct that constitutes a serious danger to the health, safety or welfare of a patient.
Nurses may face investigation or discipline even if a patient is not physically harmed. The process starts with a complaint to the Board and proceeds through the disciplinary process. Complaints that are not dismissed or resolved by settlement may result in an evidentiary hearing before the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). Nurses have the right to see the evidence against them, testify on their own behalf, call witnesses, and present evidence. If a nurse successfully defends against the Board’s allegations, the case ends with a finding that the nurse is not subject to discipline.
If a nurse is found subject to discipline, there is a second hearing before the Board. Dolley Law, LLC represents clients in disciplinary hearings before the Board and presents mitigating evidence and legal arguments on their behalf. The Firm’s attorneys also counsel and advise clients on settlement agreement terms and the appropriate course of action for each case.
Many nurses decide to represent themselves before the Board. These are legal proceedings that may include trial-type hearings in which witnesses testify and evidence is presented. If you are notified of a nursing board complaint made against you or have a complaint pending before the Administrative Hearing Commission, contact Dolley Law, LLC to discuss possible representation. The Firm’s attorneys work with nurses in all phases of patient care cases, from responding to the initial complaint to negotiating settlement terms to conducting hearings. Our attorneys will work with you to evaluate the allegations, discuss the factors upon which the Board of Nursing evaluates these cases, and explain your options. In each case, tDolley Law, LLC provides aggressive, experienced representation designed to protect nurses’ licenses and careers.
Contact Dolley Law, LLC if you receive a complaint related to patient care at (314) 645-4100 to schedule a consultation.