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What to expect from a Board of Nursing complaint investigation

As a licensed professional, your license is the key to your livelihood. Without it, you can’t make a career in nursing. That’s exactly why it can be such a gut-punch to find out the Oregon State Board of Nursing launched an investigation after someone made a complaint against you.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect from the investigation and discipline process.

You will get an opportunity to state your case

If someone files a complaint against a licensed nurse, it goes to the Oregon State Board of Nursing. The board assigns an investigator to gather information. During this process, the investigator will set up an interview with the licensee. This interview might be done over the phone or in person. Either way, it is the first official chance for the accused person to explain their side of the story.

This interview is confidential, so the rules do not allow anyone else to be present. However, a licensee can choose to have their attorney take part.

After that, the investigator writes a report that is delivered to the board. The board looks over the case and determines if the licensee violated the Nurse Practice Act. If not, then the case is closed without a public record.

If, however, the board does believe there was a violation, they can take disciplinary action. That can include:

  • Closing the case with a letter of concern
  • A reprimand (essentially a verbal public warning)
  • Probation for the licensee
  • A license suspension
  • A license revocation of at least three years
  • A civil fine up to $5,000

What if I disagree with the findings?

The board’s decision is not the final word. If you believe they made an error, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, but have to do so within a certain amount of time. At this contested case hearing, you or your attorney will once again be able to tell your side of the story.

If that hearing does not go your way, you can consider taking it to the Oregon Court of Appeals, and potentially beyond.

It’s normal to be anxious or nervous during a professional licensing dispute. There is a lot at stake. With the right approach, however, you can help make sure the facts of the case win out and the complaint has minimal impact on your livelihood.

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