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Columbia Nursing License Defense Lawyer

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C. > Columbia Nursing License Defense Lawyer

Nursing License Defense Lawyer, Columbia South Carolina

Nursing Regulatory Body in South Carolina

In order to practice as a nurse, all graduates must apply to the South Carolina Board of Nursing. The board needs all applicants to pass the US exams for licensure within three years of graduation from a recognized program. Applicants from other US states are screened for any pending disciplinary or malpractice cases. Applicants who speak English as a second language are required to prove proficiency in English also. Once licensed, all nurses are expected to act in accordance with the highest professional and ethical standards demonstrating at all times the competency to execute the duties of providing health care to those entrusted to their care. If these standards of professional and ethical care are not met, the board can take disciplinary actions.  If you are a licensed nurse practicing in Columbia, South Carolina, and if a complaint has been filed against you, it is important that you speak to a nursing license defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Grounds for Disciplinary Action against Nurses

Anyone affected by the nurse in any way can complain. This can be a patient, a caregiver of a patient or even colleagues. There are twenty-six grounds for discipline-specific to nursing practice and twelve that apply to all licensed professionals.

Some of these violations include:

  1. Any violation of federal, state or local laws involving drugs, alcohol or act of moral depravity.
  2. Wilfully engaging in a behavior that falls short of standard professional practice
  3. Failing to cooperate with an ongoing investigation, board proceeding or directive
  4. Disclosing personal health information of a patient to unauthorized personnel
  5. Making false alterations to personal or organizational records.
  6. Not taking care of the patient assigned or disengaging with the patient’s care without the approval of the assigning authority to ensure continuity of nursing care.
  7. Not exercising due diligence in the prevention of communicable diseases.
  8. Being negligent in recording a patient’s information accurately in an intelligible manner. Failing to do so can lead to mismanagement of a patient’s care as well as violate laws that require appropriate recording of patient’s information.
  9. Practicing nursing without a valid South Carolina license or helping others in doing so.
  10. Acquiring or trying to acquire a nursing license for oneself or another through unlawful or dishonest means.
  11. Letting another person use your license.
  12. Having a license already suspended or canceled in another state or having unresolved complaints from another state.
  13. Attempting to assume responsibilities of patient’s care management that fall outside his/her scope of training.
  14. Misusing a patient’s or employer’s money, drugs or property
  15. Charging or attempting to charge a patient fee in a fraudulent manner
  16. Attempting to obtain or administer unauthorized prescription drugs or controlled substances or letting another person do so.
  17. Continuing to practice nursing under circumstances that render the person incompetent to do so, such as under the influence of drugs or alcohol or after sustaining an injury.
  18. Not reporting another nurse’s incompetency under the same circumstances.

Notification of a Violation

If you have received notification that a complaint has been filed against you or that the South Carolina Board of Nursing is taking action against you, you need to speak to a nursing license defense attorney immediately. Remember, failure to take action or any delay in outlining a defense strategy can result in a license suspension or license revocation. You do not want to take any risks as you don’t want to let your years of hard work and effort go in vain. Talk to a nursing license defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing any disciplinary action or any charges from the Board.

Possible Sanctions and Penalties

Possible sanctions depend on the nature, extent, and history of the violation. These include public or civil reprimand. This requires the defendant to undergo further training or courses, imposing specific restrictions at site of work, suspension or revocation of license. The disciplinary action can affect the multistate status of a nurse’s license under the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact. Depending on the violation there can be criminal charges as well. Talk to a nursing license defense lawyer immediately.

The Complaint Process

The disciplinary process with the South Carolina Board of Nursing begins with a complaint.  Anyone can file a complaint against a nurse. This could include a patient, a member of the patient’s family, a supervisor, or a fellow nurse.  In fact, nurses, nurse supervisors, and nurse employers have a legal duty to report violations to the South Carolina Board of Nursing.

What Happens after a Filed Complaint?

  1. An analyst, in the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (LLR) Office of Investigations and Enforcement reviews the file to ascertain if a violation has indeed occurred.
  2. Upon confirmation of a violation, an investigator in the LLR department receives the case.
  3. The nurse in question is notified of the complaint and requested to submit a written response.
  4. Based on the response, the investigator compiles a report to present to the Investigative Review Committee (IRC)
  5. The IRC reviews the report and makes recommendations to the Board of Nursing which can be to
    1. Dismiss the complaint
    2. Issue a formal complaint
    3. Issue a non-disciplinary letter of warning
  6. In case a formal complaint moves forward, an investigation against the nurse commences.

How to respond to a complaint against you?

In responding to a complaint, due process applies. This means you should be notified on time. You can present your side of the case and any evidence to support your statement. Another right involves questioning and cross-examining the complainant. You have the right to use legal counsel throughout the complaint proceeding. While some people think they can handle the Board on their own, the fact is that most professionals are unaware of the legal technicalities of defending their license. They might know a great deal about their profession, but when it comes to dealing with the Board, presenting your side of the story and defending yourself in front of people who will eventually decide your fate, it is best to consult a nursing license defense lawyer.

Retain an Experienced Nursing License Defense Lawyer

Experience has shown that proceedings with the board can be long and frustrating. Using an experienced nursing license defense lawyer early in the complaint process can greatly benefit.  For example, administering an incorrect dose of a drug constitutes a violation but proving that it was not wilful will change the nature of the violation. On the other hand, a complainant who presents evidence to support that this error as a pattern, the violation will stand. A second example is that of a nurse that delayed care to a patient. The nurse can prove it was a busy time of the day. In this argument, the nurse prioritizes patients based on their medical condition. Instead of a violation, this can prove exercising discretion and skillful practice of nursing care. On the other hand, falling asleep at your desk and neglecting a patient’s care is a violation. In this scenario, the nurse can expect a penalty to the full extent of the law. Call our nursing license defense lawyer at Kendrick & Leonard, and they will be happy to assist you.




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