January 05, 2018 by Robyn W. Madden
The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) regulates over 40 professions in the State of South Carolina, including the practice of nursing. The South Carolina Board of Nursing is tasked with issuing licenses, regulating the conduct of licensees, and imposing disciplinary action for violations of the South Carolina Nurse Practice Act. If you are licensed as an LPN, RN, APRN, CNS, CNM, or CRNA, you are subject to the South Carolina Nurse Practice Act and governing regulations.
A South Carolina Nursing Board Complaint is never something that you want to deal with, even if you expect that it’s coming. Unfortunately, nursing board complaints just don’t disappear, and failing to respond to the investigator or deal with the allegations can have serious consequences.
The good news is that you are not alone.
You have the right to consult an attorney, to discuss the allegations of your nursing board complaint, and to get honest feedback about how the allegations may impact your future practice. You have the right to retain an advocate to advocate your position, provide context, to argue against public disciplinary action and practice based restrictions.
Choosing a nursing license defense attorney does not have to be difficult. We offer the following five tips to help you through the process of retaining a South Carolina nursing board attorney:
1. Take advantage of the offer for a consultation.
Most nursing license defense attorneys offer a consultation over the phone to discuss your specific case. Most attorneys will also offer an in-person consultation. Chose the option that you feel most comfortable with. If you meet in person, bring all of your paperwork with you. Consider bringing a list of questions. Make sure that you are comfortable with how the attorney explains things to you and how the attorney answers your questions. You should never feel pressured or forced to retain someone, and you will be placing your professional livelihood in the attorney’s hands.
2. Ask the attorney how many licensing cases he or she has handled.
Your nursing license is your livelihood. You want to ensure that the attorney you retain has the experience you need to defend your nursing license and protect your right to continued practice.
3. Ask your attorney what the next step is and what efforts you can take to ensure that you put forward the best possible defense.
There are many remedial efforts that can be taken that may impact your case at the investigative stage and when presented to the board. There may also be fact based considerations that the attorney can assist you with.
4. Make sure you will continue to have direct access to the attorney, and verify whether you will primarily be speaking with the attorney, or will be directed to a paralegal.
Ask whether the attorney is available after hours and on weekends to coordinate with your routine work schedule. Most nursing board attorneys understand the need to be flexible and coordinate with your schedule.
5. Trust your instincts.
The LLR investigative process takes time. You will be working with your nursing board attorney for a while. It is extremely important that you feel comfortable speaking with your attorney, that you feel heard and valued, and that you trust your attorney’s advice.