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Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

Medical Legal Consultant
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Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD has 31 years experience and specializes in Medical Legal Consultant.

Lorie A. Brown, RN, MN, JD has a big heart for nurses. Lorie's life journey has led her from Nursing to Law and now has almost 30 years of experience empowering nurses just like you and representing over 500 nurses before the licensing Boards. Check out her website empowerednurses.org and take the Empowered Nurses Simple Challenge. You may be asking yourself. Should I be worried about losing my license? How do I make sure my rights are protected? What happens if I got called before the Board? If you've had questions like these as nurse, you've come to the right place. Your concerns are valid and should be heard and addressed. 

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Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD's Latest Activity

  1. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    Can I Refuse to Work If My Facility Does Not Have Proper Personal Protective Equipment?

    This is what was sent out by the Oregon Board of Nursing where I took the quote. However it appears the Board has modified it slightly.
  2. Can I Refuse to Work If My Facility Does Not Have Proper Personal Protective Equipment? The number 1 question that I have been asked during this time of COVID-19 is, “Do I have to work if my facility does not have personal protective equipment?” Unfortunately, my response is not going to be popular. The truth is that the Oregon State Board of Nursing issued a position statement declaring that, “The Board has determined that nurses cannot refuse a patient care assignment because the organization is following Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division recommendations regarding PPE and other infection control practices rather guidelines of the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." This statement has been updated by the Board to read "Nurses cannot refuse an assignment solely because the employer is utilizing OHA guidelines rather than WHO or CDC guidelines." After conversations with other nurse attorneys, I believe that other states feel the same way as does Oregon. They consider a refusal to work to be patient abandonment or job abandonment. At this difficult time, nurses are the epicenter of this pandemic crisis. You do have a choice. If you believe the facility does not have proper equipment, you can give proper notice and resign. However, if you leave and abandon your job without notice, you can face disciplinary action with the Board. It is unfortunate that our country was not prepared and placed nurses in these vulnerable positions, but you can decide for yourself what is best for you in protecting yourself and your family as well as your license.
  3. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    How to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant

    There are 2 types of legal nurse consultants. The first is behind the scenes consultant. These nurses do not testify. The second is an expert witness. Some attorneys prefer that an expert is not a professional witness.
  4. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    How to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant

    There are many times I am asked, “How can I become a legal nurse consultant?” Actually, you already are! The only thing an attorney would hire you for is your nursing knowledge and expertise. There is nothing extra that you need in either of those areas to be a legal nurse consultant (LNC). In fact, all the available programs that offer some kind of certification are made up. There is no certification required to be an LNC. However, should you want a certification then please go ahead and take the requisite classes. What I have found is that most nurses need marketing or business skills to get started as an LNC and not the nuts and bolts of writing a report. Each attorney has a different preference for how they want their reports. Looking at sample reports can be a great help. There are some options out there among one of which is mine. To learn more, you can learn more about by going to www.LncBizSchool.com To get started you just need to talk to attorneys in your area to let them know who you are and how you can help with their cases. Sending out blind letters has little, if any chance, of garnering responses because attorneys are really busy. Let’s put it another way: you receive a letter from a doctor saying, “I understand your loved one is in need of neurosurgery so please bring him to my office.” Would you trust that physician? Attorneys need to know, like and trust you before they’re going to give you their clients’ confidential medical records. Therefore, the whole process of getting business is to try to surround yourself with the most number of attorneys that do the work that you want to perform and share the values and benefits that you can bring to them. It actually is one of the easiest businesses to create because the startup costs are minimal. However, that being said, it does require you to escape from your comfort zone and begin talking to attorneys to share the values and benefits that you can provide. Let me know what questions you have about becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant. Wishing you the Best
  5. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    Stayed suspension

    The best defense is a strong offense. I would recommend hiring an attorney. You can find a nurse attorney at TAANA.org. The attorney needs to see the evidence against you to make sure the state can prove their case. Just agreeing to something without seeing the evidence is like pleading guilty to a crime you did not commit.
  6. I was drug tested at work, the only thing that I was positive for was my prescribed Clonazepam. However, I know benzos are abused (I truly didn’t abuse mine), so I kind of expected the BON to look into this. They did and now I have to do an eval. I’m worried about disclosing my psych history even though I’ve been going to therapy since before this “incident.” I have a history of a voluntary hospitalization from bad PTSD from an abusive relationship and anxiety since my last license renewal. I now have to sign over my mental health records. My work has never been affected by my PTSD or anxiety. If anything, it takes my mind off of it. I have plenty of evidence to show the board that I am a great nurse. Also, I have other healthy coping skills too; exercise, yoga, etc. I am afraid that reaching out for help is what will screw me in the end. My attorney was very optimistic until I disclosed my mental health information to him. I’m in grad school too and I’m afraid that this will ruin school for me if they decide to do something to my license. Is disclosing a mental health record that awful of a thing to do? In this case, I’m being forced to. However, was me reaching out the thing that will mark my license forever? Dear Mental Health Disclosure, I am so sorry this is happening. I suggest you contact an attorney who works in the area of professional licensing defense to assist you. You can find one at TAANA.org. They can help you with the ramifications of disclosing this information. I wish you the best. Lorie
  7. Without going into too much detail, my patient declined the AM shift prior leading up to PM shift. So I was handed off a patient in decline and it was discovered on my shift. I was not able to conduct a full neuro assessment during AM meds. They put the PM shift and me on admin leave pending an investigation. I was told there would be a non-punitive meeting to discuss improvements, but nobody has mentioned a day for this. The final decision could be counseling, write up, PIP, termination. I guess what I’m asking is, are they basically choosing who to terminate? Is it still possible at this point they are going to give us each a plan to follow, and return us to the floor? And since I wasn’t even there when incident occurred, yet I was there during discovery, would I usually be the person to blame? Is admin leave a way to basically terminate you slowly? I’ve worked for this corporation 2.5 years, no write-ups. Thank you Dear Placed on Administrative Leave, Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I suggest you contact an employment law attorney in your state to assist you with this matter. Wishing you the best, Lorie
  8. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    Board of Nursing Complaint

    Definitely get a lawyer. Do not respond yourself. Nurses tend to overshare which could get them in more trouble. Attorneys are trained on how best to respond and protect you. I suggest finding a nurse attorney at TAANA.org. You can also check out my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=847brKaTcw8
  9. I am sorry this is happening. As nurses, our identity is tied to our jobs. When things change, it affects who we believe we are. The truth is you are a good nurse who got trapped in a bad situation. Whenever there is a he said, she said, the hospital will err on safety. There is such a huge nursing shortage right now, healthcare really needs good nurses so keep looking. You will find the right place for you that will be even better. So here is the legal side. Battery is considered an unwanted touching. So be careful and ask permission anytime you want to touch somebody. Patients sign a consent but coworkers do not.
  10. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    School Nurse - Should I Resign before I am Fired?

    I am a school nurse. I was suspended from work 20 hours after I filed a complaint - the complaint regarding me not being allowed to follow state laws and Standard practice of care for medication delegation. I have also not been allowed to make DCF calls, follow Kansas Health Department laws, and so on. The superintendent told me the reason why is because no one is going to come check and see, that’s just not the way they do things, and so on. I am being fired, had a board meeting on Monday, and have not been allowed to talk to the board. There is more to the story and I am not allowed to turn in my evidence, witnesses, as well as a letter for the medical doctor. Would it be best to turn in a letter of resignation stating I am leaving because I am not allowed to follow state laws and regulations? Or should I just let them fire me on Monday? I have contacted the Kansas Board of Nursing, Kansas Association of school nursing, Kansas Department of education, Kansas Board of Education, and Kansas Department of Health. None of them are able to step in. The nursing side can’t step in because no one is going against my license. But the education side isn’t going to step in because they say it is a personnel matter. I have evidence, witnesses, including a doctor and a nurse to every law of the school is not allowing me to do, and they are allowing unlicensed personnel without delegation to be handing out medications in my absence. I have not been able to find a lawyer because they say that I am black so it might be discrimination. But I may be treated differently because I am black and then I need to fill out an EEOC. The next appointment available for an EEOC is in April. I finally contacted a nurse attorney but she cannot meet with me until the day after I am fired. So my options are turning in a letter resignation or letting them fire me since I can’t talk to the board. I don’t know what to do. Thank you. Dear Resign or Be Fired I am sorry this is happening. I suggest you contact a labor law attorney in your state. Generally, it is better to resign so you don’t have to put a termination on future job applications. Lorie A. Brown, R.N., M.N., J.D.
  11. My former employer reported me to the board of nursing with the complaint that I removed medications from their emergency box ( plastic tires secured with zip ties). No it wasn't narcotics and no I didn't do it, but they are saying I'm the only one that had keys to the med room that shift. I have no idea what happened, their pharmacy delivery person picked up the plastic totes and drive around with them, sometimes with a spouse to ride along. The medicines were multiple muscle relaxers, injectable to radio and lidocaine. When they questioned me about it I told them I had no idea but I didn't take them. They let me submit a resignation in lieu of termination. Now an investigator from the board of nursing is calling me. I have called an attorney and am waiting to discuss this with him. The investigator is wanting to meet with me. Can you tell me what generally happens at this type of meeting? I know this is serious, but if they decide I'm guilty, what type of penalty or action against my license may happen (TN). I have no idea what to expect and I'm totally stressed out over this. Dear Stressed-Out, I am so sorry this is happening to you. You did the right thing by contacting an attorney. Do not talk to the investigator without representation. Sometimes these investigators are investigating a criminal matter and your freedom is too important. I wish I could tell you what will happen but each case is different and you are asking me to diagnose without assessing. I do not know the facility's side of the story but your attorney should be able to get this. I wish you the best. Lorie
  12. I was surprised when the Nursing Board initially took no action. This is a serious med error and a violation of the nurse practice act. I don't think it is right to tell someone they are not filing charges and then to do it later. The criminal charges are not appropriate. However, the proper disposition of this matter is with the nursing board and a medical malpractice case if the family chooses to proceed with one.
  13. Lorie Brown RN, MN, JD

    When Police and Nurses Disagree Over Blood Draw Consent - Know What to Do

    When a patient comes in unconscious, then there is an emergency consent doctrine which means patients can be treated in an emergency situation. That does not mean they can do things which are not medically necessary. When a subpoena is issued, the patient can move to quash the subpoena in court but that means they will need to hire an attorney quickly and ask for a temporary restraining order but you have to show the harm of having the blood drawn is great so I think it would be tough to pass that hurdle. When a patient comes in unconscious, then there is an emergency consent doctrine which means patients can be treated in an emergency situation. That does not mean they can do things which are not medically necessary. When a subpoena is issued, the patient can move to quash the subpoena in court but that means they will need to hire an attorney quickly and ask for a temporary restraining order but you have to show the harm of having the blood drawn is great so I think it would be tough to pass that hurdle.
  14. You may recall the July 2017 case of Alex Wubbels, a Salt Lake City nurse who was arrested for refusing a police officer’s command to draw blood from a comatose auto accident victim without a physician’s order or warrant. The uproar from the incident not only led to a change in the Salt Lake Police policies regarding blood draws but in a Utah law specifically requiring warrants be obtained before getting such draws in the future. Recently in Texas, Jonathan Moore, with 5 prior DWI convictions and off probation for only 5 days, was involved in an accident resulting in the deaths of a former Dallas Councilwoman and her daughter. At the scene, police who stopped Mr. Moore were concerned that he had been drinking. However, despite the breathalyzer test showing an alcohol level of 0.00, Moore proceeded to fail all 6 field sobriety tests administered to him. Moore was taken to the hospital where police officers asked the nurse to draw his blood for a drug screen. She refused stating she could not withdraw blood without patient consent and, because Moore supposedly was intoxicated, he could not give consent. The nurse suggested that the officer get a warrant. The hospital’s policy states that it’s the officer’s job to obtain a warrant and cite the reason for the requested blood draw. It is not the responsibility of the nurse. Nevertheless, the Texas Nurses Association (“TNA”) believes that “if a person is in custody and has been arrested, law enforcement can request taking a blood draw without an individual’s consent. It is law enforcement’s responsibility to know that the person has been arrested for an offense that does not require … consent.” Clearly, we have a conflict in the rules between hospital policy and the TNA. Always follow your hospital’s policies which is what the nurse in this case did, she insisted on a warrant to draw the blood. This case is a bit different from that of Nurse Wubbels because here the person was not comatose and was the actual perpetrator of the crime. Whereas in the Wubbels matter, the patient was a victim injured by the perpetrator. I recommend that you make sure that your emergency room has clear policies and procedures in place to ensure you know what to do and under what circumstances you can draw blood so that you never to find yourself in one of these situations.
  15. I live in South Florida and I am on Team B for hurricane coverage which means I go in post-storm. I am expected to work Tonight 7pm to 7:30 am and Thursday 7pm-7:30 am for "Post Storm". My dilemma is I'm already scheduled for Fri & Sat nights. That means 4 nights in a row. I already worked Sunday night Sept 1st. Do I have any legal way to not work all those shifts? Dear Hurricane Dilemma Thanks for the great and timely question. Employment law comes from the ancient master-servant relationship. Therefore, your employer can ask you to do anything they want. If they need you for post-disaster relief and then the weekend, it is your responsibility to comply. If you think that is too much, ask your employer to change your schedule or find someone to trade. If you are scheduled to work, you must show up or face discipline up to and including termination. Some states have laws preventing mandatory overtime but I do not think Florida is one of them especially in an emergency situation. The only way to get this changed is by changing the law or sometimes through union or an employment contract. I know this is not what you want to hear but I hope this helps. Good luck Lorie
  16. I was falsely accused of falsifying documentation at work. My employer conducted an internal investigation and concluded I falsified documents. In the investigation report it states things I supposedly admitted to. They wrote things I never said. They have terminated me, and they were also reporting me to the BON. I have been a nurse for 10 years. I have no previous disciplinary actions. Also no civil or criminal record. Nothing more than a speeding ticket or 2. What should I do to refute this, and keep from losing my license? Dear Falsely Accused, I am sorry this is happening and I hear it all too frequently. The best advice is to hire an attorney. One that is experienced representing nurses before the Board. You can find one at TAANA.org. Your license is too important. Hope this helps. Lorie

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