How Licensed Professionals Can Protect Their License

Nurses, pharmacists, lawyers and doctors spend years working diligently to build their reputation, but it takes just days for that reputation to disappear. Protecting your license, and your livelihood, takes preparation and diligence.

You’ve made a significant investment in your skills and future ability to serve patients or clients.

Depending on the state, there can be dozens of professions that are regulated. California’s Department of Consumer Affairs licenses professionals under more than 40 licensing boards including:

  • Medical board
  • Dental Board
  • Board of pharmacy
  • Board of registered nursing
  • Respiratory care board
  • Contractors state licensing board
  • Board of accountancy
  • Physician assistant board

Allegations of misconduct put your professional license at-risk – whether justified or not.

Protecting your license means:

Having Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is a must-have, and this insurance may be called errors and omissions insurance. License protection, if included in this insurance, will allow you to cover key expenses when defending your case, including:

  • Defense expenses
  • Loss of wages

Nurses often take out this insurance due to the high-risk nature of the field and the serious potential consequences of nurse disciplinary actions.

“Given the nature of the health care profession and increasing disclosure requirements, practitioners can experience serious damage to their professional reputation, business and careers from accusations, investigations and disciplinary actions,” explains Tsion Chudnovsky, a professional license defense attorney at Chudnovsky Law.

Insurance would cover the cost of a nurse’s defense, and it has in the past.

“A nurse, practicing for 13 years, was reported to the state BON by her employer for unprofessional conduct—failure to meet or departure from minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice—after administering the wrong medication to an infant patient,” explains NSO.

The nurse had $10,000 reimbursed at the closing of the case for expenditures that exceeded policy limits.

Acting Immediately

Disciplinary hearings are serious, and it’s vital to act immediately. You want to secure legal counsel in the early stages of a hearing. Do not respond to any letters from the licensing board on your own.

A legal professional should be the one responding so that none of the language you use in your response can be used against you.

Disclosing the Mistakes You’ve Made

Concealing your mistakes will not benefit you. If you conceal your mistakes and then admit to them, it will impact your case. Disclosing your mistakes during the early stages in your disciplinary process may allow you to admit your mistakes with little restrictions on your license.

A licensing attorney will be able to help you admit your mistakes, with the possibility of having no restrictions on your license.

Keeping Good Records

Record keeping can help strengthen your case, but you need to keep very good records. These records will serve as proof of your ethical decision-making. You should keep records of treatment plans in the health industry to have proof of your actions.

There’s a lot that you do not want to do, according to the ZUR Institute;

  • Do not ignore investigations
  • Do not respond to letters without legal assistance
  • Do not expect your past good actions to count
  • Do not contact the person that filed the complaint
  • Do not alter records

A proper defense can help you reduce the damage done to your reputation if a complaint is made against you. Insurance and acting swiftly, along with admitting your mistakes, offers the best protection against professional liability claims.

Alex Hamilton