Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger: As a Nurse, Should You Accept Probation in a Discipline Matter?

Given nurses’ backbreaking workload, incredible degree of professional responsibility, and extensive one-on-one contact with patients, allegations of misconduct arise.  These allegations can be complicated by unfortunate facts such as drug or alcohol dependence, mental health issues, and poor documentation. Misconduct allegations can be difficult to disprove and are potentially career ending.

On the other hand, misconduct allegations are frequently false, trumped up, or based on weak foundations of rumors or bad blood. Out of fear, we see too many nurses facing discipline accept probations or some other “lesser” penalty out of fear, embarrassment or ignorance of how to challenge the allegations. You should not allow an allegation of misconduct end your career and ruin your finances and future, nor should you just blindly accept a disciplinary board’s offer of a “lesser” penalty out of fear.

In Kansas and Missouri, nurses 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 nurses accused of making mistakes and other misconduct from losing their professions, savings, and homes.

How Should You Decide Whether to Accept a Deal or Fight?

As a licensing attorney, I always try to achieve the best possible outcome for my client. There are always two roads to that outcome, negotiating some sort of deal or going to a hearing. Obviously, a negotiated penalty is attractive because it is a low-risk choice with a known outcome. On the other hand, a hearing is a high-risk choice with a possibility of prevailing with no discipline or losing and facing an unknown penalty.

Preparing for a hearing and challenging the evidence being used against you is the vital to both prevailing ultimately at a hearing and getting the best possible offer of a lesser penalty. Excluding hearsay—rumors and other unsubstantiated statements—against you, challenging the validity of evidence, and making an administrative board second-guess the strength of the case against you will result in their settlement offer becoming increasingly favorable to you.

In my experience, administrative hearing boards and their experienced attorneys make “low ball” settlement offers to unrepresented nurses early on in cases. Without the advice of counsel, these offers may seem like generous ways to avoid the extreme penalties that could be imposed after a hearing.  However, what licensing attorneys know is that the case against you always has flaws, and that “low ball” offer is simply a first attempt to get you to give up on a hearing where those flaws may be exposed. Those offers are to be avoided, especially when they include permanent discipline, prohibitions on working for periods of time, or other onerous conditions.

After hiring a licensing attorney with experience before the board seeking to discipline you, the offers to settle usually get much more attractive. An aggressive challenge to the evidence against you and a willingness to go to a hearing often results in a dismissal of charges of misconduct. But that sort of outcome is not going to come about without an experienced advocate by your side.

I sometimes urge clients to accept reasonable offers when the risk of a serious penalty after a hearing is simply too great to accept. Sometimes clients accept deals because their fear of an unknown outcome drives their decision-making. That said, the decision to settle a case instead of going to a hearing is ultimately yours.

There is no time to waste if you are accused of misconduct. Too many nurses try to talk their way out of misconduct, try to represent themselves before licensing boards, or accept “low ball” initial offers with long-lasting consequences. You should not respond to an investigation until you have attained representation by a skilled licensing attorney. 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 nurse 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 nurses facing occupational discipline.