“Gross Negligence” is a horrible sounding accusation against you as a nurse or your RN license, isn’t it? Here is what Gross Negligence actually means in an Accusation from the BRN: “Gross Negligence is an extreme departure from the standard of practice for RNs. An extreme departure means the repeated failure to provide the required nursing care or failure to provide care or exercise precaution in a single situation which the nurse knew, or should have known, could result in patient harm.” Gross Negligence Accusations are filed for everything from a series of charting errors in a short period of time, to a few missing medications that weren’t accounted for or wasted properly, to failure to remove a fentanyl patch from a deceased patient. If you have been served with an Accusation form the BRN and one of the causes listed is Gross Negligence, you have an uphill battle in front of you.


The problem with gross negligence accusations is that the BRN only needs to establish by clear and convincing evidence that you repeated the same mistake or that another reputable nurse wouldn’t have done what you did. That is a pretty low standard of proof because it simply means that it is more likely than not, that you were negligent. All they have to do is show more than one offense, meaning 2 or 3 charting errors. They are able to do this by getting access to your charts, provided by your employer.

Now here is my problem with this: I’ve been working with nurses for the better part of decade, and keep in mind, I do work with nurses who have licensing issues, so perhaps my perception is a bit skewed, but doesn’t every nurse make a charting error occasionally? Isn’t nursing a high-stress, fast paced job that requires juggling a million things all at once and prioritizing on the fly? Wouldn’t CHARTING be lower on the priority list than let’s say, helping a critical patient? Isn’t it likely that if someone started going through ANY NURSE’S charts, that they would find a “repeated” mistake? That means that of the 150 thousand some odd nurses in California, most of them could probably be accused of gross negligence at some point in their careers.

The second standard for gross negligence is failure to provide care or exercise precaution in a single situation which the nurse knew, or should have known, could result in patient harm. This is established by the same burden of proof: clear and convincing evidence and means that you are not performing at the same level of other nurses of similar training and experience. The problem with this is that if you ask any nurse who is NOT in trouble, if she would have left a patch on a deceased patient, what is she going to say? “Of course I wouldn’t, I would NEVER! How horrible!” but in reality, if faced with a critical patient in one bed and a deceased patient in another, what is the priority? She might do exactly the same thing. So is the Patch nurse really departing from a standard of care? Probably not, the other nurse just doesn’t want to admit that they would have done the same thing.

For more information on RNs with Gross Negligence accusations, click here


This is why gross negligence accusations are some of the hardest to defend and since every accusation is calling for revocation of the nurse’s RN license, there is a great deal at stake! Our vetted panel of expert attorneys have seen just about every type of gross negligence accusation out there. We wade through the boxes of charts and find explanations for discrepancies to chip away at the BRN’s evidence. We bring in our own experts to testify that while a deviation from a standard of care may be in violation of written hospital policy, it is in fact common practice among the RNs and supervisors know about it and turn the other cheek. We will find a calibration expert to testify that no, the Pyxis is not infallible.

Defending a gross negligence accusation against your RN license is an uphill battle, but with us as your Sherpa, they are certainly winnable 😉 Our panel attorneys have a 98% success rate (approaching 99%) in keeping our grossly negligent accused RN clients licensed, practicing and working as registered nurses. We know that “repeated failure to provide the required nursing care” can be drummed up in every chart and that a violation of a written policy is does not always mean that the nurse “failed to provide care or exercise precaution in a single situation.” We know that very good nurses get stuck in bad situations and it is our job, our passion and our career to fight to save yours.

If you have been served with an accusation from the BRN accusing you of Gross Negligence, please give me a call. I will listen to the details of your unique case, explain what the process will be, offer you a realistic expectation of results and give you the option of keeping your license for an affordable flat fee.