Medical practitioners, and particularly nurses, work hard to keep patients safe and allow them to recover from various illnesses. However, the human body is so complex that it is impossible to always know what exactly is affecting an individual. This explains why some patients end up losing their lives abnormally, and here, the blame is shifted to the medical experts who were entrusted to take care of them.
Nurses commonly find themselves at the center of such issues, and if they are found guilty, they could lose their licenses and not be able to practice anymore. If you are facing a complaint, it is vital to enlist the services of an experienced Albuquerque nursing license defense lawyer to help you gather the facts and defend your right to work. Call (505) 305-1263 today to speak with the criminal defense lawyers in Albuquerque at FBD Law.
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Reasons Nurses Can Lose Their License in New Mexico
The nursing practice is highly regulated in New Mexico by the Board of Nursing, administrative courts, and New Mexico state licensing divisions. Nurses are often scrutinized as they are expected to behave in a certain way, or else they may have their licenses revoked.
One common reason why they can lose their license is because of drug diversion. This is the misappropriation of a prescription drug without proper authorization. For nurses, this can go down to individual errors such as failing to dispose of waste products, pyxis errors, and obtaining narcotics from a medical facility without their notice.
Nurses have lost their licenses in New Mexico because of a DWI conviction. Others have gone through lengthy and complicated monitoring requirements imposed by New Mexico’s impairment program.
Nurses are expected to pass drug tests, which restrict them from using certain substances when practicing. They are often tested to see if these substances are present in their bodies, and if found, the nurse risks losing their license. Examples of prohibited substances include pain medications, marijuana, alcohol, and benzodiazepines, among others.
Nurses who face criminal charges also risk having their licenses revoked. Understandably, nurses are ordinary people, and they face a wide variety of criminal charges. Depending on the criminal charge, the Board might seek to have their license revoked, especially if the nature of the crime they are accused of can affect the way they discharge their services.
Most importantly, nurses are expected to discharge a certain standard of care when attending to patients. This is particularly applicable to critical care patients whose lives might be reliant on the type of care they receive. If a nurse is found guilty of failing to discharge the expected level of care, they risk having their license revoked.
What Are Possible Outcomes of an Investigation by the New Mexico Nursing Board?
The New Mexico Nursing Board listens to all allegations against nurses in the state. It will determine the verdict after assessing the facts presented and hearing what the defense has to say. It is prudent to enlist the services of a competent nursing defense attorney to investigate the facts and help you protect your nursing license.
An official disciplinary hearing held before the New Mexico Board of Nursing is an administrative hearing. The state, through a prosecution attorney from the Attorney General’s office, will present the case, and the accused nurse will be allowed to present their case. Licensees are allowed to choose a defense lawyer. This hearing allows the nurse in question to respond to the allegations leveled against them directly. After gathering all evidence, the Board will deliberate on the matter before them. Sometimes a hearing officer will preside over the hearing and issue a report to the Board. The ultimate decision is announced in a public session and a copy of the decision is sent to the licensee.
Some of the disciplinary actions taken by the board include:
- Denial of license
- Summary suspension
- Revocation of license
Other conditions that could be imposed include fines, administrative costs, mandatory supervision, continued education, or counseling, among others.
The possible outcomes of a hearing vary, but they can be grouped into three main ones.
If the Board determines that the evidence and accusations leveled against the licensee are not proven, the Board will not take any action and will dismiss the case. Here, the nurse will retain their license and will continue practicing with no sanctions.
If the Board determines that there is some truth to the allegations leveled against the licensee, but not enough to revoke their license, the Board may choose to take several possible actions. This depends on the gravity of the matter and the steps the Board thinks will correct the situation and deter the nurse from behaving that way in the future. Examples of these actions include issuing a letter of reprimand, temporary license suspension, mandatory supervision, and fines, among others.
If the nurse is found guilty of gross misconduct, the Board may be forced to take the ultimate action, which is to revoke their license and prevent them from discharging their services in the future.
Overview of Nursing Standards of Practice in New Mexico
The New Mexico Nursing Practice Act is a comprehensive document that outlines the standards that nurses must uphold when discharging their services. The purpose of this act is to promote, preserve, and protect the public health, welfare, and safety by regulating the conduct of medication aides in the state.
First, no person is allowed to use the title “nurse” unless they have been registered in the Nursing Practice Act. An applicant for a nurse’s license under the Nursing Practice Act can be issued a temporary license for a period determined by the Board to ensure that they have met the requirements to practice as a nurse.
The act states that nurses and medication aides must attain a minimum level of education and have the required experience before they can discharge their services. This is meant to ensure that the public is attended to by diligent and experienced professionals who will not put their health in jeopardy. It also explains that all nurses are answerable to the New Mexico Nursing Board and should abide by its regulations.
How Can A Lawyer Help Defend My Nursing License?
For nurses, the significance of having a clean record in New Mexico should not be underestimated. This is because one’s career relies on this license and your record. Therefore, it is essential to do everything possible to get all allegations leveled against you nullified.
When your case is presented to the Board, the state will be represented by an experienced prosecution attorney. You do not want to risk coming up against such an expert by yourself. It is prudent to hire a diligent Nursing License Defense Attorney and allow them to represent you before the Nursing Board.
FBD Law has a team of experienced Nursing License Defense Attorneys who have represented various clients in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico, against accusations leveled against them to the Board. They understand the Nursing Practice Act bit by bit and will advise you on the best way to approach your defense when accused of any form of malpractice.
This entails collecting evidence to support your defense and conducting thorough investigations to back up your claims. This will help to convince the board to nullify all the allegations or, in the worst-case scenario, impose lesser sanctions that will not have a significant impact on your nursing license. Our attorneys understand how to approach each case and will assess the facts surrounding yours before coming up with the best approach to it.
If the Board decides against you, you have the right to appeal the decision to a district court judge. FBD Law attorneys are also experienced with those appeals.
Contact an Albuquerque Nursing License Defense Lawyer With FBD Law
The Nursing Practice is a complicated matter, and cases that threaten one’s license can have lifelong implications. Therefore, it is essential to contact our expert Nursing License Defense Lawyers and allow them to give you a better chance to save your career. They have been representing nurses in the state of New Mexico for many years, and the reviews left by many whose licenses we have managed to save tell the whole story.
If you have an issue before the Nursing Board that threatens your license, look no further as we have the experience and techniques to give you the best chance to get out of trouble. Our Albuquerque professional license defense attorneys are waiting to represent you, contact us today for a free case assessment at (505) 305-1263.