Most nurses carry malpractice insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits. But when faced with an incident that you may or may not be guilty of, it's easy to want to run to the board of nursing in your state because they protect nurses, right? Wrong.
I was on the Florida Board of Nursing website recently, and I read something that would make your ears curl. They actually mailed out information to all of their nurses regarding how they should handle things if they are being investigated by the board. They suggested that you contact them and explain everything that happened.
Whether you're guilty or not in most states the burden of proof is on them. But if you call them and spill everything you know it may come back and bite you badly! Now, I'm not an attorney, but as a nurse I have experienced dealing with the board of nursing numerous times. So, while this is in no way legal advice, I feel strongly that I need to share this information with every nurse that will listen to me.
I say this all the time, but the board of nursing is NOT YOUR FRIEND. They are ONLY there to protect the public and seem to make up laws that destroy nurses with little consequence. When you contact your state representative, nothing seems to change.
If you don't have malpractice insurance, you're a fool. It's inexpensive and will offer you protection from some legal matters. Also, hospitals will say they will protect you in the case of a lawsuit, but they only do that if you have followed their protocol to the letter. If they are sued because of something you did, then their insurance company will sometimes come after you to reap their losses.
The boards of nursing in every state have successfully managed to convince many nurses that as long as they are honest they will protect them and everything will be okay. These are complete LIES.
If you are facing a lawsuit, or if you have been accused of something nursing related and you think for one minute that it may escalate, please, please don't talk to them AT ALL. Call an attorney right away. I know it's tempting, and if you are truly not guilty of the charge then it seems the right thing to do. You can look at the attorney that works for the board just like a prosecutor. They are out to nail you to the cross, and everything you say WILL be held against you. You can look at the board of nursing workers like investigators. They will act like your friend, but they will use everything you say against you.
Find an attorney that only represents nurses and is familiar with nursing law. Some are even nurses themselves. They usually have them in every state, and while they can be expensive, it would be very costly for you to lose your nursing license.
I would like to see this post shared. It's a topic that I feel extremely strongly about and my heart goes out to any nurse who is facing disciplinary action from the board. They don't know where to turn. It's so frightening, and many nurses have no idea what type of organization the board of nursing really is.
Maybe you have not gained much from this post. But I would greatly appreciate you sharing it to get the word out to all nurses. Who knows you may help someone who was about to pick up that phone. Call a lawyer instead.
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