Grounds for Nursing License Suspension in Virginia

The profession of nursing carries legal and ethical responsibilities. People who are engaged in this profession have an obligation to do so to the best of their ability, to always remain up to date with all necessary licensure and professional techniques, and to perform their jobs ethically.

Unfortunately, many members of the nursing profession will face allegations of misconduct at some time during their careers. These allegations, if substantiated, can result in a loss of a license, a requirement to attend ethics classes or even criminal charges.

It is essential that all nurses in Virginia understand the grounds for which the Board may initiate an investigation. This can help practitioners to avoid conflict as well as help nurses already looking at allegations to offer a better defense. To learn more about grounds for nursing license suspension in Virginia, reach out to a dedicated nursing license defense lawyer.

The Legal Basis for a Nursing License Investigation

Virginia’s Department of Health Professions has the ability to investigate any alleged misconduct committed by nurses. Specifically, the Nursing Regulatory Board can act upon complaints submitted by the public that a nurse has violated their code of ethics in regard to their code of ethical conduct.

Specifically, this Board has authority under Commonwealth law to investigate and punish any violation of the nursing code of professional conduct. Under VA Code §54.1-3007, the Board may investigate incidents alleging:

  • Fraud or deceit in procuring a nursing license or certificate
  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Willful violations of the nursing code of conduct
  • A conviction for a felony or other crime of moral turpitude
  • Practicing nursing in a manner contrary to ethics standards
  • Use of alcohol or drugs that leaves the nurse unable to serve their patients
  • The denial, revocation, or suspension of a license in another jurisdiction
  • Abuse, neglect or theft of a patient or their property

These allegations are grounds for nursing license suspension in Virginia. Allegations of any of these types of conduct will trigger an investigation. The outcome of these investigations can have a significant impact on a nurse’s professional and personal future.

What May Result from a Nursing Regulatory Board Investigation?

An allegation that a nurse has violated their code of conduct is always a serious matter. The Nursing Regulatory Board has the duty to investigate every complaint that they receive and has great powers to do so. The best-case scenario for a nurse facing charges is that the Board closes the file without finding enough evidence to justify the complaint. This will end the case.

If the Board finds that there is a reason to believe that a violation has occurred, they can meet with the defendant nurse to discuss the issue. If the issue is one involving a minor violation that the Board believes is an isolated incident, the Board may recommend a private settlement. This can usually involve an agreement to attend continuing education classes.

It is only in cases of severe allegations of misconduct that public hearings will take place. During these hearings, both the Board and the nurse can present evidence and cross-examine each other. The outcomes of these hearings can result in strict penalties, including:

  • A formal reprimand that becomes part of the public record
  • A monetary penalty
  • Placing the nurse’s license on probation with reinstatement contingent on completing educational courses
  • Limiting practice privileges
  • A suspension or revocation of a nurse’s license

Clearly, the outcome of a formal hearing can have a profound impact on a nurse’s future. An attorney could help to provide more information about these hearings and to represent a nurse’s interests during all disciplinary hearings.

Talk to a Virginia Attorney About Grounds for Nursing License Suspension

Every nurse in the Commonwealth has an ethical and legal duty to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. This means not just providing the best care that they can for their patients, but also doing so in an ethical way and maintaining their own fitness to practice.

A failure to uphold any of these duties may lead to legal and professional trouble. The most severe allegations of misconduct are criminal matters that involve nursing without a license. Civil penalties such as the payment of a fine, a required probationary period, or an outright suspension or revocation of a license may result from a poor on-the-job performance or other examples of unprofessional conduct.

A lawyer may be able to help you if you are facing allegations of professional misconduct in the nursing field. They can help to explain the laws that govern your profession, how your conduct may have led to allegations of misconduct, and to fight to protect your rights during all hearings. Contact an attorney today to learn more about the grounds for nursing license suspension in Virginia.