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Navigating the shoals of a nurse licensure complaint

Many nurses fail to realize that it's not a serious criminal matter that can put their license status in jeopardy. It could be a complaint. Any person can file an official complaint against a nurse, including disgruntled ex-coworkers, spiteful patients, jilted lovers and past employers.

If someone has filed a complaint against you, it is not the complaint in and of itself that determines the trajectory of your career. It might be the way you respond and handle the ensuring circumstances.

Tips to keep your reputation and career intact

If you're struggling to deal with the fallout from a complaint, the following tips may allow you to retain your nursing license and keep your reputation and career intact:

  • The board matters. Regardless of your personal feelings about the person who reported you to the Board of Nursing, focusing on convincing the board of your fitness and competence as a nurse is your primary goal. Board members are not your friends. Their purpose is to protect the profession of nursing, not individual nurses.
  • Act preemptively. If your indiscretion was drug or alcohol-related, seeking substance abuse treatment is advised.  
  • Fix the problem. Suppose you were named in a lawsuit because survivors of a deceased patient allege that your failure to properly document medication dosages was the cause of their loved one's demise. You need to make sure that your chart notes for any current and future patients are comprehensive and meet or exceed all requirements.
  • Accept responsibility. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't defend yourself against fallacious or malicious claims. But, often where there's smoke, there's fire. Do a thorough and honest self-assessment. If the claims have merit, own up to your failings and have a viable corrective plan of action in place.

Launch a robust defense immediately

This is no time for hand-wringing or kvetching. The situation is urgent and must be handled as such. Assemble your legal team and build a strategic defense that will allow you a path to retain your Florida nursing license. 

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