In our private practice of representing nurses before the Ohio Board of Nursing, we are often contacted by nurses who have entered into a Consent Agreement with the Nursing Board and who want to change the terms after the Consent Agreement has already been approved by the nurse and the Nursing Board. Typically, however, a Consent Agreement which has been approved by the nurse and the Nursing Board is final and will not be renegotiated.
A Consent Agreement is a legally binding contract that a nurse may enter into with the Nursing Board to resolve a pending disciplinary matter. For example, in some instances, a nurse will agree in the Consent Agreement to allow their license to be placed on suspension or on probation, and to be subject to various conditions, such as random drug screens or completion of CEUs in addition to CEUs required for license renewal. The time to propose and negotiate changes to the Consent Agreement is before the Consent Agreement has been signed by the nurse and the Nursing Board.
While certain provisions in the Consent Agreement are considered by the Nursing Board to be non-negotiable, there are certain sections of the Consent Agreement which may be negotiated. For example, information pertaining to completed treatment for impairment or other relevant evidence in support of the nurse’s defense may be negotiated to be included in the Consent Agreement. Additionally, there are certain instances where the Board will negotiate the duration of a suspension or probation based on the evidence in the matter.
We are also contacted by nurses who have violated their Consent Agreement and want to attempt to negotiate more favorable or different terms with the Nursing Board. Although there is a “standard” provision in most Consent Agreements permitting modification of the Consent Agreement upon the written agreement of the nurse and the Board, it is our general experience that the Nursing Board does not re-negotiate Consent Agreements. For example, if a nurse is required to pay a $500 fine within 6 months of the Consent Agreement taking effect and the nurse fails to do so, it is our general experience that the Nursing Board will not agree to modify the terms of the Consent Agreement to require the nurse to pay a $250 fine instead. Similarly, if a nurse is required to submit to random drug screens for 1 year and tests positive for drugs – even on 1 screen – the Board will not modify the Consent Agreement to eliminate the random drug screening requirement.
Additionally, failure of a nurse to comply with the terms of the Consent Agreement generally results in the Nursing Board suspending the nurse’s license based on a violation of the Consent Agreement. If the Board suspends the nurse’s license based on the nurse’s failure to comply with the terms of the Consent Agreement, the earliest the nurse could have their license reinstated would be at the Board meeting subsequent to the suspension, and, in certain instances, it can take longer. In this regard, please note that the Nursing Board meets every other month.
Prior to entering into a Consent Agreement with the Nursing Board, it is important that you fully understand and agree to all terms and conditions of the Consent Agreement. After the Consent Agreement is signed by the nurse and by the Nursing Board, the Consent Agreement is a legally binding contract between the nurse and the Nursing Board which is, generally, considered by the Nursing Board to be final and not subject to modification.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group LLC at 614-486-3909 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.