Nursing Board Complaints and Investigations in Washington DC

When a coworker, patient, or other observer feels that nurses have violated the rules of their practice in some way or committed a crime, they have the right to make a complaint to the DC Board of Nursing. The nurse will receive notice of the claim and be subject to an investigation, which could result in disciplinary action if not handled correctly.

While Nursing Board complaints and investigations in Washington DC can be a frightening process, the most effective way to protect yourself and your license is to contact dedicated legal counsel for assistance. Getting legal advice could help you to navigate each step of the ensuing process, as a skilled nursing license defense lawyer could advise you of your rights and help you fight back against the allegations you are facing.

The Board of Nursing in DC

The Board of Nursing consists of 11 persons appointed by the Mayor. The purpose of this Board is to regulate the conduct of advanced-practice registered nursing, registered nursing, and practical nursing. Among other powers and duties, the Board has the authority to receive and review complaints of violations of the District of Columbia Nurse Practice Act, issue subpoenas, examine witnesses, hold hearings, and issue advisory opinions about compliance with acceptable standards of practice.

Once the Board receives a complaint, it determines whether the nurse who is the subject of the complaint has committed an unsafe practice. If the Board finds no evidence of an unsafe practice, it will issue a closure letter to the complainant and the licensee that ends the matters. If, however, the Board finds evidence of an unsafe practice, it then must determine if the nurse poses an immediate and severe threat to public health, safety, or welfare.

Findings of an immediate and severe public threat can result in the summary suspension of the nursing license of the individual. If there is no finding of an immediate and grave public danger, the licensee either will receive an Order to Answer the complaint or notice of dismissal of the complaint. If the investigation reveals that discipline is appropriate, the matter is referred to the Board to issue a Notice of Intent to Take Disciplinary Action to the licensee, which triggers the right to a hearing.

Violations of the Nurse Practice Act

The Board can take one or more of the available forms of disciplinary action against nurses if a majority of the Board members determines that the nurses have committed specific violations of the Act. Some common violations of the Act include:

  • Fraudulently or deceptively obtaining or attempting to obtain a nursing license
  • Using a fraudulent nursing license
  • Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude that directly bears on the suitability of a nurse to be licensed
  • Habitually abusing or being addicted to narcotics or controlled substances
  • Breaches of patient confidentiality

The potential violations that could lead to disciplinary actions against nurses are broad, so various forms of conduct might constitute a violation of the Act. Any of these violations can lead to complaints and investigations to the Washington DC Nursing Board.

Disciplinary Actions

The Board has the authority to impose varying degrees of disciplinary action when a majority of its members find that nurses have violated one or more provisions of the Act. These disciplinary actions may include:

  • Revoking or suspending nursing licenses
  • Revoking or suspending the right to practice in DC
  • Reprimanding licensees or imposing a civil fine of up to $5,000 per violation
  • Requiring that licenses undergo a court of remediation, which can include counseling, retraining, and reexamination

The Board also may place licensees on probation or issue cease and desist orders when violations of the Act occur. In addition to disciplinary action, individuals also may face criminal prosecution if they violated the law in any way. Any of these disciplinary actions can be the direct result of Washington DC Nursing Board investigations and complaints.

Seek Legal Assistance with Nursing Board Complaints and Investigations in Washington DC

If you are facing a Nursing Board complaint and investigation in Washington DC, you should not try to navigate this process alone. Your best means of combatting these accusations of misconduct may be to seek immediate legal advice.

Your ability to work and support yourself likely rests on your nursing license. Do not put it at risk by attempting to navigate the complaints and investigations process on your own. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your circumstances.