Sealing Nursing License Complaints

Anyone can file a complaint against a nurse. In some cases, families will blame medical professionals when something goes wrong with a loved one’s medical condition, or workplace disagreements can lead to bad blood between co-workers, and a nurse can learn that a complaint was filed regarding his or her conduct. When your profession is at risk, this can be a disheartening, stressful, and frightening occurrence. The complaint may also seem entirely unwarranted or unjust. Perhaps the nurse even knows who complained and the real reason that the individual is seeking to harm his or her profession.

Of course, every nurse who has a complaint filed against them should address these claims seriously and in a professional manner. It is important to hire an attorney to defend against the allegations, regardless of how ridiculous those claims may seem.

The board may see the complaint for what it is, and the nurse may be cleared from wrongdoing. However, in other cases, the complaint may remain on that person’s record. When it comes to professional reputations, complaints matter, potential employers may find the complaint, and without context, make a judgment call about the professional that is not warranted. The nurse who was complained about may find that they are immediately placed on the defensive, trying to explain away something when they were never in the wrong.

There are ways to Seal the Record

The Board has the power to seal the record, and therefore protect the professional from the unfair implications of the complaint. There are several reasons that the records may be sealed.

First, the Board may choose to seal a record because they have determined that the professional has not acted in violation of the Nursing Practices Act. If there was no violation, the Board might opt to seal the records as there is no reason to keep that information available.

In other cases, the board may not determine definitively that the nurse did not violate the Act but may find that there is not enough evidence to substantiate the claim made against the professional. In this instance, the accusations cannot be proven, and the Board can seal the records.

There are other cases that are more complicated, though. In these instances, the Board may make a disciplinary decision that the nurse believes is incorrect or unfair. The nurse has the right to appeal to the Missouri Court System, and the court can override the decision made by the Board. The judge is responsible for determining the outcome in these cases.

What Happens Once the Record is Sealed?

If the record becomes sealed in any of the above ways, then the nurse can effectively move forward without the complaint haunting his or her career. The effect of sealing will make it as though the complaint had never been filed in the first place. No public records containing the complaint will be maintained.

For these nurses, it is appropriate to answer “no” when they are questioned as to whether they have ever had a complaint filed against them. When a possible new job opportunity presents itself, the employer will not come across that troublesome complaint.

If you are facing disciplinary actions against your professional license, there are ways to fight the allegations and protect your profession, and your reputation. Your livelihood is important, and anything that threatens it should be addressed head-on.

Contact the Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law at (785) 979-4353 to find out how we can help.