When a complaint comes up against a nurse, that nurse will have to go through a board hearing to determine whether the healthcare practitioner can retain his or her license. This hearing is the nurse’s opportunity to present his or her side, and the board will reach a resolution as to how to proceed, which can include the individual losing the ability to practice nursing.
It is natural for nurses to feel nervous before these disciplinary hearings. During this meeting, the board will question the nurse thoroughly, and it is also likely the board will gather evidence independently to see whether the accusations bear any merit. Fortunately, nurses do have rights during these hearings, and you need to remember them so you receive fair treatment.
When the Board of Nursing considers taking disciplinary action against a nurse, she or he has some protections. These rights come from the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that all American citizens have a right to due process. While it usually applies to the court system, it also comes into play during these types of hearings. Some of the most basic rights nurses have when questioned include:
- A clear notice of the place, time and date of the hearing or any other occasion you will meet with the board
- A right to know the specific allegations made against you
- A right to present personal documents at the formal hearing or bring witnesses into play to represent yourself in front of the board
- A right to legal counsel, which can be at the nurse’s own expense or through a liability policy, and the right to get advice from an attorney
- A right to have a formal court review the board’s ultimate decision
- A right to receive a written transcript of the action the board has decided upon
- A right to cross-examine any witnesses the board brings to the hearing