Some time ago, a client came to us with a very serious problem. Our client, a nurse practitioner with an active license in two states, had just been informed that the Maryland Board of Nursing had immediately suspended her as a result of receiving a complaint from a former employer. The Board scheduled a Show Cause hearing to allow our client an opportunity to defend against the allegations. Show Cause hearings are extremely serious matters, and the Board is rarely inclined to allow the practitioner to resume working until a full investigation has been conducted – a process that could take months, sometimes more than a year – obviously devastating to someone who relies on their profession to provide for their family.
Fortunately, our client avoided making the mistake that practitioners sometimes do – she contacted an attorney immediately. We vigorously defended against the charges at the hearing and, to our client’s great relief, learned shortly thereafter that the suspension had been lifted – our client was free to resume work!
While the suspension had been lifted, the complaint did not go away. Before a full investigation had been completed, the Board scheduled a settlement conference – a settlement conference is a terrific opportunity to try to resolve a complaint without a full evidentiary hearing. We routinely represent practitioners at such conferences and have been able to resolve many complaints that way. Moreover, it’s typically not a good idea for a practitioner to represent themselves at such conferences (or at any other point while the case is with the Board for that matter). In the end, we successfully resolved the matter – our client agreed to take a few internet continuing education courses in return for dismissal of the complaint. Given the serious allegations filed against our client, it was the best outcome we could have hoped for!