If you are a nurse in the state of Texas, you likely have noticed that the number of complaints filed with the Texas Board of Nursing has increased greatly over the past several years. Proposition 12, which was passed by Texas voters in 2003, authorized the legislature to determine limitations on non-economic damages. Under this legislation, the maximum amount that patients could recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit was lowered and capped to $250,000.00. While texas nursing became a more welcoming place for nurses who appreciated the lessened threat of a medical malpractice lawsuit, more patients now feel that their grievances are better addressed through the medical and nursing boards instead of the courtroom.
One of the most important steps that you can take when preparing for an appearance before the Texas Board of Nursing is retaining experienced counsel. There are several important reasons to hire an attorney as soon as possible after receiving a letter of complaint from the nursing board. First, investing in legal counsel demonstrates to the investigator, panel or board members that you are taking the complaint seriously. Just walking into the hearing room with a professional litigant by your side will show that you are determined. There may be instances in which members of the panel and their board prosecutor will be more aggressive if you do not counter with your own attorney.
Second, you will be letting the board know that you believe in your case and that you are willing to fight the charges issued against you. The members of the nursing boards do not want to face the money and time that accompanies an actual trial. The efforts to reach a mutually acceptable resolution during the investigatory or informal settlement hearing may increase noticeably with an attorney present. Next, you can trust that your personal counsel will treat your hearing in the same way that he or she would approach any other civil litigation matter. You can expect that claims against you will be investigated, legal authority will be researched, colleagues will be interviewed, supporting evidence will be gathered, and experts will be asked to offer testimony. In addition, there will likely be many volumes of medical records that need to be reviewed. A set of expert eyes will quickly be able to locate any mitigating evidence that can be used on your behalf. This extensive amount of information alone may convince the nursing board that your offense was simply a one-time occurrence, a “minor incident” or that there is no reason to assume that you are involved in a pattern of problematic behavior that poses a danger or harm to patients.
In texas nursing , projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that nursing will be the fastest growing occupation over the next five years. Historically, nursing jobs provide long-term stability. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies estimates that the demand for nurses in the state will grow by 86% while the supply will grow by only 53%. The need for legal nurse consultants is expected to experience similar growth.
If you have received a notice to appear before the Texas nursing board panel, or even have been asked to provide documentation regarding a possible inquiry, do not wait another day to become your own best advocate. Hire an administrative law attorney, immerse yourself in the details of the complaint, and you will be ready.
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Author: John RoneyThis author has published 14 articles so far.