What Procedural and Substantive Rights Does a Nurse Have Before the Kansas State Board of Nursing?

The Kansas State Board of Nursing, or abbreviated as KSBN, is the sole licensing authority in the state of Kansas for all nurses. Thus, every person who wishes to practice nursing as a registered nurse, a licensed practicing nurse, and licensed mental health technicians. The stated mission of the KSBN is to protect the public. Accordingly, the KSBN admits nurses to practice in Kansas who meet strict educational, practical, and character requirements. Additionally, the KSBN oversees the entire nursing profession and possess the authority to issue professional discipline against a licensee.

The KSBN is a state agency and, as such, is an arm of the state government of Kansas. Accordingly, the KSBN cannot act arbitrarily when rendering professional discipline. Instead, the KSBN is bound to follow procedural rules as well as substantive laws that protect the licensee from governmental overreaching and violating the licensee’s due process rights. Inasmuch as the KSBN has the duty to protect the public from incompetent, unscrupulous, or unhealthy nurses, the KSBM has a similar obligation to follow the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act, along with statutory and constitutional laws that protect the licensee.

Principles of U.S. constitutional law dictate that a professional or occupational license is a property right. In that sense, a professional or occupational license is analogous to real property that the government can take by eminent domain but cannot do so unless the government adequately and fairly compensates the landowner. Just as the landowner who is subject to a land taking by the government, a nurse in Kansas must receive notice of a violation and an opportunity to be heard in opposition to the allegations advanced by the KSBN.

The KSBN has the authority to issue notice to a nurse suspected of violating the Kansas Nurse Practice Act in one of two ways. First, the KSBN may issue a “summary order.” A summary order provides the licensee with notice of the allegations and a sanction that the KSBN will impose. The licensee may accept the decision of the KBSN or request a hearing on the merits of the allegations. An assistant attorney general for Kansas will represent the state in the hearings process. Accordingly, the assistant attorney general may also bring charges against a licensee by serving the licensee with a petition that sets forth the pertinent factual allegations and a statement of the law upon which the KSBN will rely during the hearing.

The licensee has the absolute, inviolable right to hire counsel of her or his choice to represent her or him during the entire disciplinary process. The licensee’s attorney will review all of the legal pleadings and exchange discovery. Discovery is documentary evidence such as reports, photographs, and other documents, as well as statements made by the licensee during an investigation and statements from witnesses.

The nurse has the right to confront and cross-examine every person who testifies at the hearing. Each witness must testify in person, rather than by video conferencing or by submitting an affidavit. Otherwise, the nurse would not have a chance to cross-examine the witness in front of the hearings panel. The presiding authorities will review all of the evidence, make credibility determinations, and rulings of law in a written decision. Both parties may appeal from the panel’s decision to a judge.

The KSBN, in its decision, can announce a fine of up to $1,000.00 for a first offense, as well as censure, place conditions upon, suspend, or revoke a nursing license. Censure may be done publicly or privately. The KSBN and the nurse can enter an informal agree to resolve the professional disciplinary action without a formal hearing. Informal agreements center around raising awareness and educating the licensee rather than suspending the nurse from practice.

Experience is Key

If you are a nurse in Kansas under investigation or facing allegations of a violation of the Kansas Nurse Practice Act, you need the experience, expertise, and skill of Kansas Professional Discipline Attorney Danielle Sanger in your corner to protect your livelihood. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 today.