People all over the country work in different professions that require licenses to practice. These could include professionals in the field of medicine, nursing, engineering, teaching, finance, construction, small businesses and others. The majority of these professions are regulated and licensed by the South Carolina Department of Labor, License, and Regulation. Most people have to spend significant time, effort and money to get these licenses. They have to finish degree programs, practical hours of work experience and applications for the license. However, sometimes mistakes and errors or deliberate actions can result in the suspension or revocation of a nursing license. Complaints against any licensed professional can be made to the License Board by anyone, including a patient, a client or customer, an employee, an independent contractor, a partner or spouse or anyone who believes they have been negatively affected by your actions. These complaints are often based on allegations of negligence, malpractice, fraud, sub standard service or care, mistreatment or abuse and/or incompetence. Allegations may also be related to criminal charges such as drug or alcohol abuse, theft, fraud, violence or sexual assault.
What Happens After a Complaint is Filed Against a South Carolina Nurse?
While the South Carolina Department of Labor, License and Regulation will not determine punishment for the criminal charges, they can take administrative and disciplinary action related to your nursing license. This could include a public reprimand, monetary fines, suspension or revocation.
As far as nurses are concerned, they are expected to live up to very high standards. This is the same for all healthcare professionals but nurses especially since they are constantly in contact with patients. Nurses are expected to exercise high levels of professionalism and are required to be honest, hardworking and skillful. However, despite the high expectations from nurses, every year many people lose their nursing license due to complaints regarding their lack of professionalism or ethics. Some common reasons why nurses end up with license suspensions include:
- Drug abuse – many nurses are found to be addicted to both prescription and non-prescription medicines.
- Unprofessional conduct – this could include having affairs with other employees, using inappropriate language, flirting with patients, etc.
- Using a fake nursing license – nurses are also known to sometimes use suspended licenses and try to mislead employers into believing that their nursing license is still valid.
- Corrupting patient records – sometimes nurses can create false patient records if they realize that they have failed to record a medication or other important information.
- Probation violations – nurses can often also violate the Board’s terms while on probation which can also lead to suspension or permanent revocation.
- Negligence or abuse – nurses have to work very hard, but sometimes they become abusive or offensive towards their patients which could lead to complaints and suspension.
How Can I Prevent Nursing License Suspension?
The best strategy to avoid getting your nursing license suspended or revoked is to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. This applies to all professionals, whether they are nurses, teachers, doctors or accountants. For nurses, in particular, there are several tips they can follow to ensure they stay on the right path and do not abuse or misuse their professional rights and privileges. These tips include:
- Taking sufficient rest – A primary reason why nurses fail to follow the standards that are expected of them is because they are exhausted and tired. Nurses have very tough lives and equally tough schedules. What’s more, doctors and patients both somehow expect nurses to do everything for them, whether it’s day or night. This is a very difficult expectation to fulfill, and this may also be one reason why nurses break-down. That is why it is important for nurses to take rest between their shifts. This will not only minimize the risk of errors but will also result in the nurse being more alert and satisfied and less likely to do something that could have negative consequences for the nurse and the patient.
- Not manipulating patient records – No matter what the situation or how bad a mistake you have made, it will just make things worse if you manipulate patient records. This is clearly a misuse of the privileges that have been granted to you as a nurse. You cannot falsify documents, change dosages, wrongly state patient response or condition, etc. This could not only be professional suicide for you but can also result in some serious consequences for the patients.
- Not breaking probation or using a fake identity to fool employers – Nurses can sometimes become desperate and can fool employers into believing that their license is still valid. This could be a big mistake. If your license is suspended or if you’re on probation, it is best that you let that time pass before you go back to your practice. If you do it the right way, your license can be reinstated, but if you mess up during this stage, there may be no future for you in this profession.
Should I Consult a SC Nursing License Defense Attorney?
We understand how hard the healthcare work environment is for healthcare professionals. We especially realize the important role nurses play in providing quality care to patients. Doctors and surgeons often take nurses for granted. Even patients often have unrealistic expectations from nurses and can be mean, aggressive or downright rude. There is thus no doubt that this profession is extremely challenging. However, you need to understand that you made a lot of effort to get that license. You also need to understand that when you decided to enter this particular profession, you agreed to abide by all the rules and regulations and you understood what was expected of you. That is why it is important for you, as a nurse, and as a healthcare provider, to ensure you fulfill the professional obligations that are required of you and that you do your best, under any circumstances, to ensure you provide the best care to your patients.
However, there can be situations where complaints are filed against you and where you know that you did not do anything wrong. At The Jeffcoat Firm, we understand your dilemma, and we are here to defend your right to protect your nursing license. Call us today if you are facing any such charges and our legal team will help you ensure you don’t lose your right to practice.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.