Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Explains How Discipline Can Follow You for Life

As a licensed professional, you have the ability to achieve great mobility. You can practice in multiple states at once or move from state to state based on where you are licensed. That tremendous freedom can be cut short, however, by allegations of misconduct. When allegations of misconduct arise, simply abandoning a license in one state with a plan to rely on a license held in another is not a viable plan. Resolving those issues can mean the difference between practicing in the state of your desire and being unemployed.  Retaining a highly qualified professional licensing attorney can be that difference.

Often a client will have a license in a state, say New York, and have a licensure problem. Licensure problems should not be a source of shame, as some arise from fans accusations while others arise from simple human error. Whether due to embarrassment, ignorance of the discipline process, or a feeling of not wanting to be bothered by dealing with the allegations, they give up the license or let it lapse and move to a new state and renew their professional life there.

As a professional licensing attorney, Ms. Sanger often has the unfortunate task of telling clients that licenses can follow them forever, even if they have lapsed elsewhere. The granting state continues to have professional jurisdiction over those they license, even those no longer practicing in the state. Continuing to have professional jurisdiction means that those states continue to have the ability to discipline you, even for misconduct occurring out of state. That ability does not end and follows licensees throughout their career.

Lapsed licenses in other states are an issue because of a concept called “reciprocal discipline” which means that discipline in one state follows the licensee to whatever other state they are licensed in. If you are disciplined in one state, that is usually a violation of the professional code in any other state you are licensed in. This problem is not solved by time—it does not matter that the conduct in question was proven or that it occurred a decade before.

Unfortunately, too many people choose to bury their head in the sand and pretend these problems do not exist. These poorly informed people hope that their licensure problems will go away simply by not bringing it up on the application the next time they apply for licensure. This is a major mistake, as failure to disclose past licensure issues is itself a violation of most states. This compounds licensees’ problems, as they basically infected their new license with problems from their old one.

Problems involving your license, whether they occurred a decade ago, occurred here in Kansas or Missouri, or occurred in your home state pose a problem for you now. Cleaning of those old problems and dealing with the problems surrounding your old license is the first step. Fixing any problems with your current or active licensure is the next step. These are not tasks for you to take on alone. Seemingly innocuous statements you make can be used against you.  You need a skilled licensing attorney by your side to protect your career, livelihood, and future.

Call Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney today at (785)-979-4353 to protect your professional license. Attorney Danielle Sanger is an experienced Kansas and Missouri licensing attorney and has the experience to both resolve your lingering licensure issues and walk you through your current licensing process. She has the experience to deal with licensing bodies, appear before administrative boards, and provide clients with the advice to best position themselves professionally.

Can I Lose My Nursing License in an Emergency Suspension?

As a nurse, your license is your ticket to a career and livelihood. Unfortunately, nurses often come to me too late asking whether the Board of Nursing can take their nursing license. The answer to that question is “yes,” unfortunately. If you find yourself asking this question because you have done something unprofessional or illegal, you need to retain a competent licensing attorney immediately so that your license can be protected proactively. The Sanger Law Office has a long track record of successfully providing this sort of defense to Kansas and Missouri nurses.

You need legal representation because you have a constitutional property interest in your nursing license, and that property cannot be taken from you without “due process,” meaning some sort of opportunity to be told what the charges are against you, to challenge the evidence against you, and to argue your position. However, the amount of due process you are entitled to depends on the degree of the suspension you are subjected to, but you should seek legal representation any time you are being investigated or are facing suspension.

Emergency Suspension

If it is believed that you are a clear and immediate danger to the public, your license can be suspended with little or no due process. This is called an emergency or summary suspension, and because it is not permanent, the process is far less substantial than you might expect.  In this process, an administrative board will hear evidence that you are a danger. But unlike a court where strict rules dictate what can and cannot be considered, this sort of emergency hearing will consider hearsay and less substantial evidence than what one would expect in a civil or criminal trial. Social media posts, second-hand information, and unsubstantiated statement can all be considered.

What Steps Can I Take to Avoid an Emergency Suspension?

Nurses are under a tremendous amount of stress. Even under these stressful situations, they are expected to perform professionally and carefully document their duties.  Unfortunately, given the rise of the opioid epidemic in the United States, nurses are being scrutinized for their use, access, and destruction of pharmaceuticals that they use in a medical setting.  Allegations of use or distribution of drugs are a common basis for emergency suspensions.  Here are three steps you can take to avoid these sort of allegations being made against you:

  1. Be careful to follow all hospital or clinic policies precisely.  For example, always make sure you have someone observe the wasting of medications and that that that person actually witnesses the wasting and cosigns the appropriate documentation.
  2. Avoid all controlled substances – you may be prescribed controlled substances of a legitimate medical condition. If you need to take those controlled substances for a short period of time, do so.  However, take off from work while you are under their influence.  If something inappropriate happens while you are at work under the influence of these substances, even if they were legally prescribed, the administrative board will have no way of determining whether you are abusing them, whether you took them at work, or whether your work was influenced by their effects.
  3. Never borrow, share, or save controlled substances. Get a prescription for your medications and keep the prescription on hand until you no longer need the medication. Destroy medications once you no longer need them. Even if you think you may need the medications someday, do not keep them.  Using them later, without a prescription, may be seen as the illegal practice of medicine.

I hope that you never need this advice but also wanted to give you guidance so that you can proactively avoid license issues.  However, even professionals who do nothing wrong can be wrongly accused. Not having competent legal representation when you are being investigated can have tragic results for you, your carer and your family.

Call today if you are a nurse  from Kansas or Missouri, and you are being investigated or facing professional discipline.

Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is ready, willing, and able to mount a vigorous defense for you. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive attorney for nurses facing occupational discipline or licensure issues.

Kansas and Missouri Licensing Defense Attorney Warns that Social Media and Medical Care Don’t Always Mix

As social media use becomes ever-present and clients come to me with licensure issues based on their Facebook and Twitter posts, it seems prudent to go over how your status as a medical care provider can be affected by your social media use.

You likely see friends and family post and repost funny anecdotes about their life and work.  Teachers grumble about grading.  Plumbers complain about clogged pipes.  While you may have an impulse to join in and tell tales from your hospital, nursing home, or medical office, think twice before doing so. Several factors limit your ability to share stories from the workplace, and a failure to use good judgement and obey applicable laws may have significant employment or licensure consequences.

Federal Privacy Laws Limit What You Can Say about Patients

Even if you are a newcomer to the health field, you are likely aware that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patients’ privacy. HIPAA provides a legal framework for protecting your patients’ privacy. In short, you cannot reveal patients’ medical information to third parties without the patient’s consent.

Even if You Post Anonymous Information, It Could Lead to Problems

Removing a patient’s name or distinguishing information from a social media post may help you avoid running afoul of HIPAA, but it may not avoid violating the patient’s privacy. While you may think that removing the patient’s name takes away others’ ability to know who you are joking or griping about, it may make matters worse. If you assisted on six births over a weekend, but joke about one on Facebook, you may have given enough information to make all six patients believe you have violated their privacy.  Moreover, you may have made every recipient of your post question whether you will joke about their medical care sometime in the future. That erodes your credibility as a professional. This problem compounds when you joke or post about a highly specific medical condition on a certain day. That is a recipe for a patient figuring out that you are talking about them.

Use Good Judgment Even When Not Revealing Protected Patient Information

You do not have to violate HIPAA to run into trouble on social media. One thing to keep in mind is that you lose control of social media post once it is posted.  So a quip that you and your colleagues may see as humorous “shop talk” or “gallows humor” may be shocking to recipients to whom the post is eventually forwarded. Mocking or discussing patients or medical procedures performed on a certain day may suggest to your community that you are flippant about patient care or unprofessional. This has implications for your personally and for your employer as well. Serious cases of this may result in a claim of unprofessionalism or licensure issues.

Never Post Pictures of the Workplace

The United States Navy recently investigated two hospital corpsmen who posted inappropriate videos of newborn babies on Snapchat. These were cynical, unprofessional videos mocking the babies. While in the end the videos did not pose any real harm to the children, they gave rise to questions about the corpsmen’s professionalism. Posting pictures from the workplace of patients or procedures suggests  a degree of unprofessionalism that you cannot risk.

Call Attorney Sanger today at (785)-979-4353 to protect your professional license.

Contacting Missouri Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger can help you protect your licensure and career. While you have a constitutional right to free speech, your employer may illegally take employment action based on what you say on social media. Attorney Danielle Sanger is an experienced Kansas and Missouri licensing attorney and has the experience to both resolve your lingering licensure issues and walk you through your current licensing process. She has the experience to deal with licensing bodies, appear before administrative boards, and provide clients with the advice to best position themselves professionally.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger: Dedicated Advocate for Social Workers Facing Professional Discipline 

Social workers are professionals entrusted to take care of some society’s most vulnerable populations. Children, the disabled, the elderly, and people with drug and alcohol dependency are often social worker’s clients. While most of society appreciates and applauds social workers’ hard work to better society, many are quick to condemn a social worker if any suspicion or rumor of misconduct arises. Given social workers’ backbreaking caseloads and one on one contact with clients, these allegations can be difficult to disprove and potentially career ending. Don’t let an allegation of misconduct end your career and ruin your finances and future.

In Kansas and Missouri, social workers facing professional discipline can rely on Danielle Sanger, Esq. to defend their rights. Attorney Sanger has spent her career defending licensees before administrative and licensing boards, protecting those accused of making mistakes and other misconduct from losing their professions, savings, and homes.

Let’s face it, social workers have an extremely difficult job. They are haunted by the specter of misconduct daily for more than one reason. First, they are often working with extremely vulnerable populations with little or no supervision. Drug addicts, at-risk youth, neglected or abused children—they all require the special training and services that only a social worker is trained to provide. On the other hand it is also extremely easy for one of these clients or their family member to concoct an allegation of misconduct against a social worker in hopes of getting some sort of financial windfall from a state or agency. As a result, licensing issues can and do arise at no fault of the social worker. Well meaning social workers often try to “work with” investigators to clear up these misconceptions. That seemingly well-intentioned act can lead to your words being twisted and used against you later and an eventual loss of your professional license.

Second, social workers are often underpaid and overworked.  Extreme caseloads, unrealistic expectations, and diminishing training budgets can combine to result in mistakes. Even innocuous mistakes, however, can result in extreme consequences such as loss of a license and permanent reputational harm. In these situations, heartfelt apologies and expressions of remorse will be “Exhibit A” in the administrative hearing against the social worker.

There is no time to waste if you are accused of misconduct. Too many social workers try to talk their way out of misconduct or represent themselves before licensing boards, thinking that they can understand the process and anticipate the challenges that lie ahead. You should not respond to the licensing agency until you have attained representation by a skilled licensing attorney.  Rest assured, the licensing administration opposing you will not be representing themselves, they will have an expert representing their interests. So should you.

You have rights if you are accused of misconduct.  Because the state is seeking to take your property—your license to practice social work—you are have a right to due process.  This is not the sort of due process you might see in a courtroom, but it is no less important. Having a zealous advocate by your side challenging the validity of the evidence against you and cross examining those who testify against you is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

If you are a social worker in Kansas or Missouri and are facing a threat to your license, call Danielle Sanger today.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend your livelihood and career. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive attorney for social workers facing occupational discipline.