Nurses representing themselves.

  1. I spent the past couple of days review administrative court recording of nurses who had their liscense revoked. The nurses were now seeking legal counsel to try to get their liscenses back. The old adage of a person who defends themselve in court has a fool for a client.

    All 3 nurses sounded like fools and they lost, Legal counsel has asked me to review the cases to get my input on the consent decree's they had each signed.

    If anyone ever asks, reinfoce then need to adaquate legal counsel, and recomend to people to get their own insurence. I think in all three of these cases, if they had legal counsel they could have saved their licenses.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   llg
    Good advice. I hope people heed your warning.
  4. by   elkpark
    A kazillions years ago, when I was in nursing school, the school bused the senior students to the state capital each year to attend a BON meeting, including sitting through the disciplinary hearings. Most of the nurses appearing before the Board came by themselves, without any legal representation. A couple of the nurses came with attorneys. The difference between the hearings (of the nurses representing themselves and those with attorneys) was NIGHT AND DAY. I learned an important lesson that day -- I would never appear before the Board (or any other disciplinary authority) without legal representation.
  5. by   amoLucia
    Sounds like PP elkpark attended a very wise nsg school. My program had a guest speaker attend one of our senior graduating classes. It was a rep from a malpractice insurance carrier who was extolling the wisdom of having our own malpractice insurance policies (obviously hoping to sell us into purchasing our own policies).

    The information provided made a major impact on me and my classmates. I NEVER worked without my own policy. Have NEVER regretted the nominal cost. Just knowing that that they were a phone call away was security.

    I just don't understand how someone would undertake such a serious task without proper representation. Like would they surgically operate on themselves??? Seek a divorce without representation? Defend themselves for car accidents? Medical malpractice against their families?

    All I think of is the folk who appear before Judge Judy and Judge Joe et al. Even the folk who show up on Animal Cops court.

    Get a lawyer!
  6. by   caliotter3
    We've been preaching this advice on this site for years.
  7. by   amoLucia
    Quote from caliotter3
    We've been preaching this advice on this site for years.
    I know. Sometimes I feel like I'm the 'unofficial' spokesperson for malpractice insurance. Like I'm their greatest cheerleader.
  8. by   elkpark
    Quote from amoLucia
    I know. Sometimes I feel like I'm the 'unofficial' spokesperson for malpractice insurance. Like I'm their greatest cheerleader.
    No, no, that's me!! (Don't leave home without it! )
  9. by   imintrouble
    Years and years ago, when I had to appear before the BON, I went alone.
    Nobody told me I should have representation. I thought it was just a prelim thing, not a court hearing, and I didn't need it.
    Besides, I did nothing wrong. So what could they do to me because I was innocent?

    Do you get the attorney when you suspect you're in trouble, or when the first piece of registered mail hits your mailbox?
    Attorneys are ssssssssooooooooooo expensive. When do you decide to invest the money? I know the loss of my livelihood is even more expensive, so when do I make the call?
    There is no question a wrong med or a bad outcome that's your fault, warrants legal advice.
    But what about a facility that's just throwing allegations against you, to deflect attention from themselves?
  10. by   elkpark
    Quote from imintrouble
    Years and years ago, when I had to appear before the BON, I went alone.
    Nobody told me I should have representation. I thought it was just a prelim thing, not a court hearing, and I didn't need it.
    Besides, I did nothing wrong. So what could they do to me because I was innocent?

    Do you get the attorney when you suspect you're in trouble, or when the first piece of registered mail hits your mailbox?
    Attorneys are ssssssssooooooooooo expensive. When do you decide to invest the money? I know the loss of my livelihood is even more expensive, so when do I make the call?
    There is no question a wrong med or a bad outcome that's your fault, warrants legal advice.
    But what about a facility that's just throwing allegations against you, to deflect attention from themselves?
    If you have professional liability (malpractice) insurance, you don't have to think about it. You call your insurance company as soon as there is any possibility that there may be some kind of bad situation, and you're covered. For most generalist RNs, the annual insurance premium is less than the cost of the first hour of an attorney's time. My professional liability coverage premium is the best $100 I spend each year.
  11. by   CraigB-RN
    Mine is a bit more than that, but I teach both academilty as well as con ed classes, so I pay a bit more. I budget $10 a month and it come out before my food and gas money.
  12. by   nurseprnRN
    My dad was an insurance guy and wrote coverage for a lot of hospitals. I am certainly a big fan of having one's own malpractice insurance because of what he told me. Learning that my malpractice coverage* gives me an atty prn was just frosting on the cake.

    Don't leave home without it.


    *which is different now that I am not in direct patient care, but I still get the atty prn
  13. by   SororAKS
    Having been down these paths, and working on getting my own license reinstated, I can unequivocally say GET AN ATTORNEY.

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