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License on the line: What should I do if investigated by the Board of Nursing?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Nursing License

It is perfectly normal to feel frustrated, anxious, and targeted when you receive notification of an investigation by the state board. You studied hard and put in countless hours of time refining your practice to be the nurse your patients need. To have that dedication questioned is a serious matter — one that can lead to career-altering ramifications.

Why would the Indiana State Board of Nursing choose to investigate my work?

The Indiana State Board of Nursing may initiate an investigation due to various concerns, including:

  • Violations of the Nurse Practice Act: This could include practicing without a valid license or exceeding the scope of practice.
  • Drug diversion or substance abuse: Misappropriation of medications or impairment on the job can lead to serious consequences.
  • Patient abuse or neglect: Allegations of physical, mental, or emotional abuse or neglect of patients.
  • Criminal convictions: Convictions, especially those related to drug offenses or violent crimes, are most likely to trigger an inquiry but it is important to note that drunk driving and other charges can also result in an investigation.

The board may also act to investigate allegations of actions that violate ethical standards or professional conduct, such as falsification of records or inappropriate relationships with patients.

How can I protect my nursing license?

If you find yourself under investigation, consider the following tips to safeguard your license:

  • Respond promptly and appropriately: Address all communication from the Board in a timely and professional manner.
  • Seek legal counsel: An attorney who specializes in professional license defense can provide guidance and represent your interests.
  • Document everything: Keep detailed records of any information or communication related to the case.
  • Do not discuss the case: Avoid discussing the details of the investigation with colleagues or on social media.

Failing to adequately defend against allegations can result in financial penalties, requirements to complete additional training or education, and/or limitations on practice or specific license conditions. In serious cases, the board can choose to pursue temporary or permanent loss of the right to practice nursing in Indiana.

The Indiana State Board of Nursing holds nurses to high standards, and investigations are serious matters. Being aware of common triggers can help you avoid practices that might put your license at risk. Should an investigation occur, swift action, careful documentation, and legal assistance are your best tools for defense. The repercussions of a failed defense can be career-altering, so it’s essential to approach any inquiry with the gravity it deserves.