46 Ohio nurses did not defend themselves?!

 

Yesterday, I attended the January meeting of the Ohio Board of Nursing.  On the morning agenda, the Members of Nursing Board voted to issue a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing, Notice of Immediate Suspension, or Notice of Automatic Suspension to over 60 nurses.

Additionally, the Nursing Board voted to impose a final disciplinary sanction (suspension, revocation, or limitation) on over 100 nurses’ professional licenses in Ohio.  I was struck and saddened to learn that in 46 casesthe nurse failed to request a hearing and never introduced ANY evidence in their defense.

If a nurse fails to request a hearing, the Nursing Board is authorized to impose any sanction from dismissal of the case to permanent revocation of the nurse’s license.  If a nurse fails to request a hearing, the nurse may not submit any evidence in their defense.

It cannot be understated the positive effect that can result when a nurse presents “their side of the story”, explains what happened, and puts the Nursing Board’s allegations into context.  The Nursing Board members like to see that the nurse understands the gravity of the allegations, accepts responsibility (where warranted), and fights for their license.  In certain instances, where the nurse presents evidence rebutting or refuting the Nursing Board’s charges, the Nursing Board has been known to dismiss certain counts in the Notice or dismiss an entire case against the nurse.

At the meeting yesterday, based on mitigating evidence that was introduced in one case, the Nursing Board modified the recommendation of the Hearing Examiner from a 6 month suspension to no suspension and simply placed the nurse on probation.

As a nurse, you have worked hard for your professional license.  If you are notified by the Nursing Board that they propose to take an action against your license, request a hearing and defend yourself.  While you may represent yourself before the Nursing Board, please note that the Nursing Board will be represented by an attorney from the Office of the Ohio Attorney General who will prosecute the case on behalf of the Nursing Board.  It is recommended that you should also have experienced counsel to represent you in this stressful and difficult process.

If you have any questions about this blog post or 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 beth@collislaw.com.

How to request a hearing with the Ohio Board of Nursing

On November 20-22, 2013, the Ohio Board of Nursing met for its bi-monthly meeting. At that meeting, the Board voted to issue Notices of Opportunity for Hearing to over 80 nurses in Ohio.  The Notices either proposed to take a disciplinary action against a nurse for an alleged violation or Automatically or Immediately suspended certain nurses’  licenses based on an alleged violation of the Board’s laws and rules.  If you received a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing or a Notice of Suspension  from the Nursing Board, there are important deadlines, which if missed, can have significant consequences.

First, whether the allegations in the Notice are true or not, in order to preserve your right to a hearing, you must request a hearing in writing. The Notice contains instructions on how to request a hearing. It is imperative that you request a hearing in writing within 30 days of the mailing of the Notice to you (not from the date you receive the Notice)  If you do not request a hearing in writing within such period you will be prevented from providing any information or evidence on your behalf.   In the request for the hearing, you simply need to state “I am writing to request a hearing.”  It is also a good idea to follow-up with the Board via phone to ensure that they received your request for a hearing within the required time frame.

Then, you should consider hiring experienced legal counsel to defend you before the Board. The Nursing Board is represented by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General and also employs several in-house enforcement attorneys. In addition, all hearings are held before attorney hearing examiners. So, if you choose to represent yourself at a hearing, you may be the only non-attorney who participates in the hearing process. It’s your professional license at stake. It is important to find experienced counsel to assist in your defense.  Check out earlier posts where I provide guidance on how to hire experienced legal counsel to assist you.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact me at 614-486-3909 or email me at beth@collislaw.com.