Tag Archive for: Nursing License Defense Attorney in Kansas

Nurses Must be Careful of Privacy Violations and Social Media

Every healthcare professional is aware of the ramifications of disclosing patient information in a world where the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) imposes severe penalties for breaches of the confidentiality requirement. However, as social media becomes more integrated into the lives of professionals of all ages, nurses may begin to make mistakes.

In today’s world, over-sharing has become a fact of life. Invitations to people to be friends on Facebook or follow on Twitter may be extended to individuals who otherwise would have been professional acquaintances. This may lead nurses into a trap where the requirement to keep a patient’s private information confidential seems less rigid because the patient has shared the information with a circle of friends and followers in which the healthcare professional is included. Disclosures of information that still is confidential may lead to severe professional consequences, including the risk that a nurse’s license may be suspended or revoked.

When HIPAA first became the law in the mid ‘90s, it codified many of the confidentiality and nondisclosure laws that existed in various states, as well as healthcare facilities, addressing the privacy rights of patients. The impact was immediate and nurses faced a myriad of legal problems for violations of HIPAA, including civil lawsuits, employer sanctions, nursing board disciplinary actions, and potential criminal charges, depending on the severity of the disclosure and breach of privacy rights. Often, the negative consequences occurred when the nurse accessed or disclosed health information along with information that identified the patient. These issues were particularly problematic when the nurse was treating a celebrity patient or a co-worker where the issues of privacy were less clear.

Today, there are new pitfalls with social media. When a nurse accepts a “friend” invitation, the line between the professional relationship and the personal one becomes blurred. In addition, the use of online social networking sites may lead a nurse to share patient information in the process of developing professional ties with other nurses. However, the disclosure of the information, even without obvious patient identifiers, may lead to liability. It is important to remain aware of the nature of sharing information on the Internet, where it is widely disseminated rapidly and remains accessible indefinitely.

A nurse should be able to make use of the professional tools that are available through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as there are many opportunities to share knowledge and exchange practice tips. Often, professional organizations will make use of these websites to create interactive forums. Therefore, a nurse does not have to abstain from the use of all social media, but should post information with a clear understanding of the dangers of misusing these tools. In addition, a nurse should be very careful about entering into a quasi-social relationship with a patient by accepting a friend request or other social media invitation.

If a nurse has shared information and faces accusations of privacy violations, it is critical to contact an experienced nursing license defense attorney as soon as possible in order to create an effective plan to negotiate an early resolution to the potential disciplinary action and criminal charges.

The Sanger Law Office Provides Effective Professional License Defense

Nurses provide invaluable services to many people every day. Frequently, the behavior that opens a nurse up to liability and potential disciplinary actions is not undertaken with any malice, but merely is the result of an overly casual view of the nurse/patient relationship. If you are a nurse who finds yourself facing an investigation into your actions with regard to disclosure of patient information or other potential violations, it is important to contact the experienced nursing license defense services of the Sanger Law Office. Danielle Sanger will work with you to minimize the consequences on your career. Your first meeting will be a free and confidential consultation so that you can explore all of your actions. To schedule an appointment, please call (785) 979-4353.

Ten Ways to Lose your Nursing License in Kansas & Missouri

There are many different ways that your nursing license may be in jeopardy in Kansas or Missouri, some of which are fairly transparent and others that may take practitioners by surprise.  Although there are specific issues that arise under the Kansas State Board of Licensing or the Missouri State Board of Nursing, these are some behaviors that may lead to a disciplinary action:

  1. A nurse who is addicted to a prescription pain medication or other drug may be permitted to attend therapy and recovery programs while the licensing board suspends his or her license.  However, if the selected program does not have the proper accreditation, the Board may not reinstate the license, even after completion of treatment.
  2. Stealing drugs, regardless of the reason, will put your license in jeopardy and may lead to criminal charges.
  3. Assuming the identity of another licensed nurse.  Using someone else’s credentials to obtain a license will result in a permanent mark on your record.
  4. Conducting mail fraud of any type, regardless of whether it had to do with your nursing career, may provide the basis for the suspension of your license.
  5. Providing a fake license for any reason may lead to revocation of your license or the inability to ever obtain a license going forward.
  6. Demonstrating unprofessional conduct in the workplace.  This may range from using profane language in front of patients and colleagues to engaging in a sexual relationship with a supervisor in violation of the policies of the healthcare facility.  The severity of the transgression will determine whether the punishment is merely a warning up to the revocation of the license.
  7. Falsification of patients’ records.  A nurse’s license may be revoked if he or she alters or fails to record information in a patient’s record.  This type of behavior can lead to severe harm to the patient, which is the reason why the consequences are so dire.
  8. Neglecting or abusing a patient. Unfortunately, this behavior happens more than people would like to believe, harming the patient as well as his friends and family.  Therefore, it is severely punished.
  9. Violating probation from a previous offense and disciplinary action.  Failing to meet the terms of probation from a prior violation may result in the revocation of a nurse’s license.  This is done because probation is viewed as a second chance and the failure to take advantage of this opportunity may cause the relevant board to exercise its full authority in handing down punishment.
  10. Engaging in inappropriate behavior in a public or highly visible forum. Although this may be grouped with unprofessional conduct in some instances, any action on the part of a nurse that is seen to be in conflict with standards of behavior in the workplace may lead to disciplinary action.  This may include posing for naked photographs that are then published or participating in pornographic activities online.

There are many actions that may trigger a disciplinary action and have long-term consequences for a nurse’s license.  It is important to contact an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as you learn about a possible investigation into your behavior.

The Sanger Law Office Offers a Free and Confidential Initial Consultation

Having worked so hard for your professional nursing license, it is imperative that you do everything possible to protect it if you are accused of a licensing violation or if you suspect that you may face a disciplinary action.  The experienced legal advice of Danielle Sanger at the Sanger Law Office can make the difference in your professional future.  With extensive experience as both a nursing license defense attorney as well as a prosecutor, Ms. Sanger has the skills to evaluate your case and arrive at the best possible legal solution for you.  To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, please contact attorney Danielle Sanger now at (785) 979-4353.