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Nursing Complaint

How Does a Nursing Complaint Affect My Nursing License?

complaint against nursing license

In the same way a hard credit check can negatively affect your credit score, so can a nursing complaint put a blemish on your credibility as a licensed and practicing nurse. This reality can be stressful, especially for those who have never had to deal with complaints in nursing. If you are currently facing a complaint against your license, are anticipating that you might, or simply want to be prepared if ever you do, it’s ultimately valuable to have a sense of the process of responding to a complaint and the consequences of a nursing complaint. Knowing potential outcomes and their likelihood can help you be prepared and remain calm in the face of an investigation. This is why, today at Nursing Complainthelp, we’ll take a look at all the ways a complaint can affect your nursing career.

What is a Complaint and What is the Process?

Many of our other informative blogs provide in greater detail what a nursing complaint is, and how it’s processed. But for the sake of having a better context for why nursing complaint consequences are the way they are, we’ll provide a brief review here.

In short, a complaint is filed if it is thought that a licensee of a state nursing board has engaged in inappropriate care, illegal or improper protocols. Really a complaint can be about almost anything, and anyone can file a complaint.

Common causes for complaints are documentation issues, any type of unprofessional conduct, license misuse, alcohol or drug issues, and any behavior that a patient, family member, or anyone can complain about regarding you or your care.

While patients and employers are the majority of individuals who file complaints, anyone (including friends or family of a patient, managers, or co-workers) has the right to file a complaint.

All complaints are received by the appropriate state board, where they are investigated and examined to determine whether they contain merit and grounds for further action.

How Does it Affect a Nursing License

dealing with complaints in nursingComplaints against nurses, once officially filed, are reviewed by an employee of your state board and a series of possible outcomes may occur. These include:

File closure or no action: Sometimes a complaint may have been filed in bad faith with no substantial evidence to back it, and you may be cleared of any wrongdoing. In this case, your nursing license will remain unaffected. 

Reprimand or Warning 

In certain instances, you may face certain disciplinary action from your state board. If this occurs, while the validity of your license may not change, you may be required to take classes, work under supervision, enter counseling if the allegation involves drug or alcohol issues, or placed on probation.

Suspension of License 

If an allegation is serious, causes harm to a patient, the state board may suspend your license. This is a very serious action and is not done lightly. This is why every allegation and/or complaint must be taken seriously and responded to in the best way possible. We at can assist you with understanding how to best respond to a complaint, how to be your best advocate if you decide not to hire an attorney.

Revocation of License 

While less common, in the most serious cases, the harshest penalty may be imposed. This is the revoking of a nursing license. Losing your nursing license means you can no longer work as a registered nurse or in any capacity where your license is a requirement of the job. In essence, if revocation occurs you are no longer considered a registered nurse. If your action involves criminal behavior, causes harm to a patient or others, involves fraud or violence, many boards will consider mitigating circumstances, but although generally state boards give nurses leeway and will listen to explanations, there are behaviors that require the boards to revoke. Information about this is usually available on the state board website in the form of a list or spreadsheet or matrix of criminal behaviors that cause revocation.

Legal Consequences 

Unfortunately, if extreme enough, some nursing complaints can lead to criminal charges. If this occurs, it’s likely that the investigation will be investigated by the District Attorney, may cause you to go to court, and we always recommend that you hire a criminal defense attorney in this type of circumstance. 

Be Knowledgeable, Be Prepared With Nursing Complaint Help

Having a complaint issued against you can be stressful and emotionally taxing. The best way to remain calm and collected is to be informed. Created by a veteran registered nurse and attorney who has knowledge of the process of responding to a Board of Nursing Complaint or Investigation, provides the most valuable proprietary information about the PROCESS of responding to a complaint. We can help, visit us and join today.