When an Accusation is filed against a Registered Nurse in California, usually the nurse’s first reaction is “how can I get this off my record?” The presence of an Accusation on the Board’s website causes uncomfortable questions at work, it can make getting a new job far more difficult, and the Accusation itself often contains embarrassing, one-sided details that paint the nurse in an unflattering light. The Board is almost never willing to dismiss an Accusation in settlement, but if the Registered Nurse thinks he or she is innocent of the Board’s charges, his/her remedy is to go to the administrative hearing and force the Board to prove its case.
In 2018, one of our clients was accused of mistreating a patient and using foul language in his presence. We believed the Board did not have a case against our client, and that the complaining witness was lying about our nurse. Despite multiple settlement offers, we rejected the Board’s attempts to resolve the case, because we believed that our nurse was innocent. On the night before the hearing was scheduled, the Board’s attorney called us to dismiss the Accusation against our nurse! It was a major victory, and our client was relieved and grateful.
How did we achieve such a great result for our client? First of all, the facts in this particular case were that the client was innocent. Not every client who comes to us is perfect, and sometimes our job is to deal with mistakes to reach the best possible outcome. In this case, we were able to fight knowing that our client had done nothing wrong. Second of all, we were willing to take the case to court. If we had been afraid or unwilling to risk hearing, we would have settled the case prior to hearing and our client would have been disciplined. Because we had the experience and the knowledge to proceed with confidence to hearing, the Board decided that the best course of action was to dismiss the case. This case had been ongoing for six months, and the Board only decided on the very last day to dismiss the case. Patience and experience are critical to achieving the best possible results.
If you receive an Accusation from the Board of Registered Nursing, seek qualified legal counsel immediately.