There are several circumstances which can result in a nursing license revocation, suspension or any other limitation. Grounds for such revocation or suspension are outlined in the Nurse Practice Act and could include situations where a nurse:
- Has committed a felony; even if the nurse is not convicted, the Board may make an administrative decision to revoke/suspend/limit the license.
- Has violated a federal, state or local alcohol or drug law; the Board does not need a conviction to deem this as misconduct and can take a decision regarding revocation/suspension of the license without conviction.
- Has engaged in nursing-related activities while being impaired by alcohol, drugs or controlled substances and has not successfully completed rehabilitation.
- Has participated in the fraudulent procurement of the license for oneself or another person; this will also include a situation where the nurse has allowed another person to use their license.
- Has repeatedly and willfully followed a course of conduct which can be considered unethical or unprofessional due to which the nurse is no longer deemed competent to assume, perform or be entrusted with duties and responsibilities that are generally expected from a licensed nurse or a registered nurse.
- Has had their license suspended or revoked in another state or some form of disciplinary action has been undertaken against them in another state; there is no requirement for a hearing of facts in such a case, and the decision to revoke/suspend may be based on the record of the nurse in another state.
- Has violated a section of this chapter or any regulation of the Board.
Any nurse who is under investigation for actions outlined above can voluntarily surrender their license to the Board. However, it is important to note that any nurse who voluntarily surrenders their license cannot practice nursing or present themselves as a registered nurse or licensed nurse until the Board takes a decision. This voluntary surrender may also be considered an admission of guilt and may be accompanied with certain conditions imposed by the Board on the acceptance of such surrender.
What is South Carolina Nursing License Law?
In Columbia, South Carolina, the practice of nursing is controlled by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR). All nurses including registered nurses, licensed practical nurse and Advance Practice Registered Nurses must be licensed by LLR before pursuing any professional nursing activities.
It has generally been observed that employers are often reluctant to report violations of the Nurse Practice Act. The South Carolina Board of Nursing discourages this practice and is very vocal that employers should report any misconduct and violations on the part of their nurses. As per the Nurse Practice Act, an employer must report any misconduct to the State Board of Nursing within 15 business days from the discovery of the offense. Any supervisor who fails to report such misconduct in a timely manner could be subject to disciplinary action as well as civil sanctions. An employer who does not report the misconduct within the specified time can also face civil penalties per violation. Employers and nurse supervisors are thus bound to follow the South Carolina Nurse Practice Act.
An important thing to remember is that anyone, whether it’s a patient, an employer, another medical professional or a coworker, can file a complaint against you with the Nursing Board. If the complaint is because of any actions outlined above, there is a very high probability that your license will be revoked. However, there are often other allegations which are filed against nurses and which could result in license suspension or revocation. These could include allegations of:
- engaging in an inappropriate relationship with your patient;
- making a medication error that results in dangerous and/or deadly consequences for the patient;
- failing to properly document patient data;
- sexual misconduct;
- patient abuse;
- failure to properly dispose of narcotics and other serious medications.
If you are informed that a complaint has been filed against you, the first thing you should do is consult a professional licensed defense attorney. Do not, under any circumstances, ignore the complaint, as this could result in significant legal and financial charges against you. However, it is also not recommended that you respond to those charges and undertake your defense on your own. You should discuss the circumstances of your case with a lawyer.
Consult with a Columbia, SC Attorney to Discuss Your Nursing License
At The Jeffcoat Firm, we realize that just because a complaint has been filed against you does not mean you are guilty. You should also not assume that you will lose your license simply because a complaint has been filed against you. You need to understand that there are many different situations under which the other party may have taken such an action. Sometimes, there is misunderstandings and miscommunication. You should not simply give up and assume it’s all over for you because it’s not.
It is imperative that you do not speak to the board’s investigating officer without consulting an attorney first. Even if you are hundred percent sure you are not at fault, whatever you say to the investigator can and will be used against you. That is why you need a skilled attorney who can present your defense for you. Your first consultation with us is free, and you should take advantage of this and talk to one of our attorneys so that you can present your side of the story to them.
Nurses work very hard to earn their license. If a complaint is filed against them, and if they know that they are not guilty or the circumstances were beyond their control, they should defend their right to continue to practice. There are often cases where the nurse is blamed for other people’s mistakes or where there is some misunderstanding as to why the nurse did what she did in a particular situation. You have the right to a fair defense, and you have the right to present to the court why you did what you did and why the accusations against you are not completely true. If a complaint has been filed against you, and if you are on the verge of losing your license, contact an experienced defense attorney today.
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.