In many cases, if a nurse or nurse practitioner is suspected of committing a violation, the BRN Disciplinary Process will begin with an investigation.
A BRN investigator will send you a letter asking to meet with you and request that you sign a waiver and release so that they may look into your file with your employer. The investigator may also look at the final decisions of a criminal conviction and no contact with you will be made. Investigations typically take place from 4 to 6 months after the BRN receives notice of the violation or complaint.
The next step is a referral to the Cite and Fine Analyst or the Enforcement Division. If the Investigator determines that you have, in fact, committed any of the above violations, they will turn your case over to the Enforcement Division. The Enforcement Division determines whether the violation is minor, in which case a citation and fine will be issued. If the violation is not minor, the Enforcement Division will assign your case to a Deputy Attorney General who will eventually file an Accusation against your NP license.
It is during the Accusation phase of the process that the BRN calls for formal discipline. The recommended discipline for ALL Accusations is revocation or suspension of the NP license. It typically takes 12 months or so for the Board to file an Accusation, after the BRN receives notice of the violation or complaint.
Once the Accusation is served (usually via certified mail), you have only 15 days to respond with a Notice of Defense. The filing of the Notice of Defense notifies the BRN that you wish to defend yourself against the recommended discipline (revocation or suspension.) Once the Notice of Defense is filed, you may begin the process of gathering mitigating evidence to show the BRN that you should receive a lesser discipline, such as a letter of reprimand or probation in lieu of revocation.
Defending yourself can be accomplished by going to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge or by entering into a Stipulated Settlement Agreement with the BRN. It typically takes 6 to 12 months to reach a settlement or conclude a hearing.
Once the Administrative Law Judge hears the case, they will render an advisory decision to the BRN. The BRN can then choose to adopt the Judge’s recommendation or overturn it and impose any discipline they see fit. If a Stipulated Settlement Agreement is reached, that is final and binding by the BRN. It typically takes 2 to 3 months for the decision to become final and be adopted.
At this time your license will either be revoked, suspended, placed on probation or subject to a public reprimand. If you are placed on probation, it will be another few weeks before your probation monitor contacts you and your probation requirements take effect.
For any nurse who has violated the Nurse Practice Act, it is imperative to know the process and know that the likely recommended discipline will be revocation of license. However, it is also important to know that this does not have to be the case. RN Guardian’s panel attorneys have been successful in defending registered nurse practitioners from most of the violations listed. For alcohol offenses and convictions like DUIs, we have defended hundreds of nurses and nurse practitioners and never once had a client have their license revoked. If you are accused of committing a violation of the Nurse Practice Act, please contact us today. RN Guardian will listen to the details of your specific case, let you know what the process is in your particular situation and give you an honest opinion of the possible outcome as it pertains to your NP license. We’ll offer you a no-pressure option to defend your license so you can continue your career.