I have helped many nurses keep their licenses, involving a variety of situations.  In fact, since I opened my law firm, the majority of my cases have been in front of the Ohio Nursing Board.  I offer affordable fees, payment plans, and professional representation.

Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions I receive about Ohio Nursing Board disciplinary actions.  

Q.  How do I protect my rights?

A.  When the Board proposes to take disciplinary action against a nurse, it will issue him or her a Notice of an Opportunity for a Hearing. You can protect your rights by timely filing a request for a hearing.  Follow the instructions on that notice for filing your request.

Q.  How long does the process take?

A.  From the time a nurse is issued a Notice of an Opportunity for a Hearing until the time the matter is resolved, the process typically takes anywhere from 2 - 6 months.  This range depends upon whether the case settles or goes to a hearing.  The cases that go to a hearing involve more effort for all parties and, hence, take added time. 

Q.  What are my rights?

A.  You will have the right to a hearing in which you may challenge the allegations made in the Notice of an Opportunity for a Hearing.

Q. Can the case be resolved without going to a hearing?

A.  The majority of cases can be resolved through a settlement process without going to a hearing.  Note:  Even if you think your case might settle, you should still timely request a hearing to protect your rights.  Do not fail to timely make that request.

Q. Will a settlement be put in writing?

A. Yes.  Settlements are put in writing and will be signed by all parties involved.  Note:  Settlements are several pages long and it is wise to have an attorney review it and answer any questions you may have before you sign.

Q.  What if I don’t like the settlement offer?

A.   You do not have to sign a settlement if you do not like the terms.  If the case does not settle, it will move forward to a hearing.

Q.  Can I present witnesses on my behalf?

A.  Yes.  At the hearing you may present witnesses on your behalf, submit exhibits (documents, photos, etc.) on your behalf, and make legal arguments on your behalf.

Q.  Is the hearing process formal?  Do I really need an attorney?  

A. The hearing process is formal.  Among other things, there are deadlines associated with disclosing evidence to the opposing attorney, and deadlines for issuing subpoenas.  During the hearing itself, legal arguments will be made, evidence will be presented, and objections will be put on the record.   Do not expect the hearing officer to make arguments on your behalf or educate you about legal issues; that is not his or her job.  Do not expect the opposing attorney to present both sides of the case; he or she will only present the Nursing Board Director’s side.  While you are permitted to represent yourself (without an attorney), that is not a wise choice.

Q.  Is the hearing held in front of the entire Board?

A.  Typically, a hearing officer will hear the case.  The hearing officer acts as a judge during the hearing and, after the hearing is over, he or she will begin working on a written recommendation to the Board about how the case should turn out.  Written recommendations typically take 1 - 3 months to be produced.  The Board will review the recommendation and make the ultimate decision about the case at a Board meeting.  Prior to that meeting, nurses can submit a request to make a presentation to the entire Board when it decides the case.  Such presentations are very brief (5-10 minutes).

Q. What can an attorney do for me that I cannot do for myself?

A.   A knowledgeable attorney can advocate on your behalf so that you may get the best possible settlement.  He or she can also help you understand the terms of a settlement before you sign.  If the case goes to a hearing, an attorney can properly argue and present your side of the case.  

Q.  What if I decide to do nothing?

A.  If you do nothing, you will lose your opportunity to present your side of the case.  The Board will take action against your license and without the benefit of hearing from you.  Such action would involve a range of possible discipline scenarios and might include a revocation of your license.

Q.  Can I just pay a fine and be done with the entire process?

A.  While the Board is permitted to accept a payment of fines, in nearly every case it pursues sanctions far more serious than those of just a fine.  Simply put, the process is never that easy.  The good news is that, in the majority of cases and with some effort, you can protect and keep the license you have worked so hard to acquire.

Do you have more questions?  Call me at 330-321-4305 for your free consultation. 

Copyright 2014, JJL