How We Handle the Letter of Investigation from the BRN or the Department of Consumer Affairs Regarding Your RN License.
Let’s look at the alternative if you decide to have representation during the Investigative Interview process: (To see how this process goes without an attorney, click here )
You open your mailbox and there is a letter of investigation from the BRN, or in this case from the Department of Consumer Affairs. You open the envelope and there is the DCA Letterhead, with the name of the investigator. You read on… OMG you are being investigated… “On behalf of the Board of Registered Nursing I am conducting an investigation that may affect your nursing license…” at this point you panic and call me to find out what it is all about.
I take the time to calm you down and walk you through the possibilities. Have you had a recent DUI? In the last 6-12 month have you been questioned by a supervisor about a charting error or medication wasting discrepancy? Have there been any issues that you know of with your Pyxsis? Did you give anyone your card and ask them waste something for you? Have there been any unaccounted for syringes?
After we determine what the issue could possibly be, I tell you exactly what you are looking at, best and worst case scenario and I explain that you can find out exactly what the complaint is by sending in a written request to the Investigator. I will give the language verbatim of exactly what you should say or we write the letter for you.
A few weeks later you receive a letter from the investigator telling you what he will be investigating and we call him to schedule the interview.
THE INITIAL PHONE CALL
OUR initial conversation with the investigator will go something like this:
US: “This is Jennifer with the Law Firm of Goyette and Associates, Panel attorneys for RN Guardian and we are calling to schedule the interview with our client regarding the alleged complaint against them which is being investigated by the Board of Registered Nursing.”
Investigator: “Oh. Hi…. Um…. Let me see if I can find the paperwork….”
US: “oh sure John, no problem. Actually I have it in front of me… reference number 6548.”
Investigator: shuffling around… totally thrown off by the fact that you’ve retained an attorney.“Yes. Here it is… uh… will your client be able to meet with me so I can ask them a few questions?”
US: “Perhaps, although we will need to know exactly what you are investigating. You’ll provide us with a copy of any documents my client will be asked to explain, of course. ”
Investigator: He is writing down that you have an attorney who obviously knows what they are doing and making a note that he is going to have to copy all the charts he wanted to spring on you.“Yes. I’ll have copies for you to review.”
US: “Great. I will confer with my client to determine when we will be able to meet, if we decide that participation is in their best interest and I will get back to you. In the meantime, I’m sure it goes without saying that any future communication or correspondence be directed to our offices.”
Investigator: He is wishing that you were like all the other nurses and had just called him and you didn’t have representation. “Yes, of course.”
US: “We will be in touch.”
Investigator: “Ok, thanks.” spills his coffee all over the paperwork as he gets off the phone because he is so flustered.
The investigator is not there to help you. They are employed by DCA and the BRN. Their job is to work for DCA and the BRN which means they are investigating to find cause for action for the BRN. They are working against you. It is imperative that you know that so you can prepare yourself and protect your license, immediately upon receiving the letter of investigation from the BRN.
You show up with your attorney to meet with John at some government office building or he may even come to you and meet you at your attorney’s office. He is sitting at a table piled with 2 identical piles of paper, except one is covered in coffee stains. Your attorney gives John a copy of our own pile of paperwork. His piles are charts and they are riddled with errors that you are prepared to explain. Our piles are mitigating evidence that we had prepared. John will ask you about every mistake, every error. Your attorney nods when it is ok to answer and informs you when you do not have to answer and says to John, “My client will not be answering that question.” At one point your attorney suggest to John that you take a drug test on the spot and provides John with 4 prior test that you took on your own. John leaves 2 hours later feeling like you just got one over on him and thinking you aren’t so guilty after all.
CONCLUDING THE REPORT and BRN ENFORCEMENT
John will submit his report to the BRN’s enforcement division who will glance at it and realize that you have a reasonable explanation for the errors and certainly did not divert the medication. They may close the file at that point or there may be enough to move forward, but you can rest assured knowing that you’ve set yourself up for the best possible chance of success in arguing a formal complaint and that at the end of the day, your RN License will be safe.
(Remember how this process goes without an attorney after receiving your letter of investigation from the BRN? click here )
THE REALITY CHECK
This does really happen. These investigations can be brutal without having an attorney represent you. Virtually every Accusation pertaining to medication charting or wasting errors is the result of an RN meeting with an investigator without a lawyer present. The BRN needs you to wrap up their case for them. They need you to admit to making a mistake and if they can pin diversion on you, they will in a heartbeat. Your only chance at protecting yourself at the investigation stage, is to hire an attorney who knows what they are doing and knows how to prepare you and protect you. And if an Accusation is filed anyway, at least you have set yourself up with best chance of defending yourself against it. We’ve never lost an RN license on an Accusation when we handled the investigation as well.
In conclusion, I will give you some free advice. It is about a million times better to ignore the investigator and not participate in the interview than it is for you to go in unrepresented and unprepared. You will think you have nothing to hide, so what can be the harm? The harm is always in saying too much and not being prepared for what will be asked, so in order to keep that from happening it is better to say nothing. Remember what your mom told you: “… if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Your mom may have made a good lawyer.
Please, as soon as you receive a letter of investigation from the BRN contact me. Talking to me for an initial consult is always free. I will listen to your story and let you know exactly what you can expect in your own unique situation. I will tell you what your rights are moving forward and if you choose to have us help you, one of the most experienced RN License Defense attorneys in the State will be there to guide you through this process and help you keep you RN License and the career you love so much… the career that defines you. Please call me before you call them.