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The Department of Health and Board of Nursing are NOT on your side

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The DOH has prosecuting attorneys on their side, similar to criminal prosecutors

People on a meeting

Example of a DOH Probable Cause Panel or Disciplinary Board meeting

A gavel and stethoscope

You deserve to have an attorney on YOUR side to represent YOUR best interests.

The Department of Health (DOH) and the Board work together and have a team of experienced investigators and prosecuting attorneys working on each case file, day-in and day-out. You need an experienced attorney on your team, too.

Don't be mistaken in thinking that if you just "explain" what happened, the Investigator will understand and be sympathetic - unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

DOH Investigations are "quasi-criminal" and similar to police investigations, and should be treated as such.

DOH Investigations and Complaints are "quasi-criminal" in nature, and the nurse can be punished under the law.

Because a professional license is issued by the State of Florida, certain constitutional rights apply to the license holder. The Investigator is not required to inform the nurse of these constitutional rights - which are often unknowingly waived.

Because constitutional rights are at stake, nurses under investigation have the right to be represented by an attorney; however, the Investigator is not required to advise the nurse of this right - or any other rights.

It's not the job of the Investigator or Prosecuting Attorney to help you out - and they won't.

A woman wearing a black and white dress

You need an attorney who will defend you

and advise you of the best options

to protect yourself and your license.

Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD

Registered Nurse & Trial Attorney

The Investigator WILL use everything you say and do against you

Investigation folder

The Investigator will be looking for evidence to prove the allegations and pending charges against you

A person holding a microscope

A lawyer talking to a client

An attorney on your side will deal

directly with the Investigator

Frequently, the Investigator assigned to your case file will invite you to an in-person meeting or "casual" telephone conversation to discuss the allegations in the complaint. There are many reasons why you should never communicate with the Investigator directly without an attorney to represent you.

Keep in mind, it's the Investigator's #1 goal to gather any and all possible evidence to support the allegations in the complaint and the various legal violations listed in the complaint letter.

When the meeting or telephone conversation is not recorded, the Investigator takes notes of what she/he thinks is important at the time, or what he/she thinks you're saying. Many times the notes are inaccurate or incomplete, and then it's your word against theirs as to what was actually said.

When the meeting or telephone conversation is recorded, you may say things that you don't think are harmful, when in fact, these seemingly innocent comments can actually make matters worse for you. When your own words are recorded for others to hear later, it's difficult if not impossible to retract what was said.

Everything you say or do is admissible evidence as a hearsay exception because you are the "party opponent." This is particularly damaging when the statements you make are actually harmful to your defense, were misinterpreted, taken out of context, or taken down incorrectly.

A woman wearing a coat

Your attorney will be with you every step of the process ´╗┐as the "go-between" to protect you and your interests.

Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD

Registered Nurse & Trial Attorney

The Administrative Hearing Process is similar to State Court with criminal and civil cases

A paper with text that says Administrative Hearings

Example of a Formal Hearing with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings

Court hearing in Florida

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You need an knowledgeable attorney on your side who has extensive litigation experience

Formal hearings with the Division of Administrative Hearings are similar to the litigation process involved in criminal and civil cases in State Court.

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Rules of Evidence, the Florida Administrative Procedure Act, and the Uniform Rules for Administrative Hearings apply.

Defendants who are represented by an attorney in criminal and civil cases have a much higher chance of winning than defendants who represent themselves in court. The same principle applies to defendant nurses in Administrative Hearings.

The DOH and Prosecuting Attorneys can issue subpoenas to collect confidential documents and can subpoena witnesses to appear for testimony.

The standard of evidence in a criminal trial is "beyond a reasonable doubt," and "more likely than not" in a civil trial. The standard of evidence in an Administrative Hearing is "clear and convincing."

It is crucially important to be represented by an attorney who can dispute any evidence that does not meet the legal standard required.

A woman holding a pen

Your attorney will object and move to exclude

any evidence that does not meet the legal

standard and burden of proof required.

Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD

Registered Nurse & Trial Attorney

It's not worth the risk of losing your license to try to represent yourself

A paper with a stamp of license suspended
An ID with a stamp of Fired in front
License revoked stamp

You've worked too hard to earn your professional nursing license to risk losing it over allegations and charges that could potentially be dismissed or resolved without public disclosure.

Administrative Complaints can result in discipline with pubic disclosure and reporting to the national data banks.

All disciplinary action - even minor discipline - is shared with all other states, making it difficult or impossible to get a license in another state.

If you hold licenses in more than one state (multi-state license), the other states can -and usually do- pursue disciplinary action against you for the same incident.

Many professional organizations and associations may exclude you from membership, and they may also revoke certifications or registrations you previously earned.

The costs and financial losses of a publicly disclosed disciplinary action against you can easily exceed the cost of being represented by an attorney.

Nurses with thumbs up

Being represented by a Nurse Attorney

will protect your rights and best interests

Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD

Registered Nurse & Trial Attorney

Contact the Nurse Attorney TODAY!

What Most Lawyers Don't Know,

a Nurse Attorney Does!