I Received a Letter of Investigation, What Should I do?
First, you should understand the initial steps in the Alabama Nursing Board complaint process and how a letter of investigation is generated. Here are the steps:
Receipt of a written notice of complaint against a nurse licensed to practice in Alabama.
A case file is started and the case is logged in the Nursing Board database.
A letter of investigation is sent to the license holder.
The complaint is then followed up by issuing subpoenas for relevant records and an Alabama Nursing Board investigator is assigned to the case. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the complaint will continue on to a formal or informal hearing and a decision on the matter.
When you receive the letter of investigation, the advice of an attorney should be sought. Generally, your attorney will advise you on the following:
1. notify your malpractice insurance company if required to do so. Ask your lawyer about this. Most malpractice plans require notification of matters within a set period of time.
2. generate a detailed document of the circumstances surrounding the incident(s) with dates, times, names and a narrative as soon as you can. Memories fade and the incident may be months in the past when you are called to testify about it. Your legal council will ask you to focus on some specifics, which are important, but a broad diary will help you with context and may bring out details needed for your case.
3. think about witnesses and who might be in a position to know relevant facts. This includes documents that may be on file. Defense attorneys have the power to subpoena records and witnesses that might help your case.
4. remain calm. A letter of investigation may or may not be as serious as you suspect. Your attorney is a competent professional and your best ally. He or she is there to answer your questions and provide options, plan strategy and get you past the mental shock.
1. contact the Alabama Board of Nursing directly unless told to do so by your legal counsel. The ABN is responsible to protect the public at large, and generally during the investigative process they are not your friend or your advocate. Anything you say may be recorded and used in an investigation or decision against you and your Alabama Nursing License.
2. discuss the matter with co-workers or others unless advised to do so by your attorney. The rumor mill and the gossip factory shouldn’t have your case to chew over. Rehashing things can only add confusion. Nurses often look to co-workers and other nurses for psychological and moral support, but in this instance, your attorney has to be your guide.
3. answer questions, give interviews, or sign anything without consulting your attorney first. This applies to requests from investigators, malpractice insurance representatives and employers. Be polite, but firm. “I’m sorry, but my attorney has advised me to clear all communications through his office.”
What will I need for my first consultation with my attorney?
The lifeblood of any legal case is facts, and facts usually mean documents. Although your attorney will tell you what to bring, here are the usual items you need to gather:
- Names, dates, any charges, the letter of investigation and anything you think will apply to your case. Addresses and telephone numbers are particularly important, it is likely that your attorney’s office will be contacting many of the parties involved.
- Who has been assigned to your case by the Nursing Board?
- What happened – a clear, unemotional narrative is best here. You don’t have to know every detail, but the more information you can answer questions with, the better.
- Are there any specific witnesses? Their names and contact information.
- Have you had any legal issues in the past? Either Nursing Board dispositions or other matters?
Remember, the most important thing is to contact an attorney early in the process, they will be able to best guide you through the minefield – in legal matters as well as medical, prevention is much better than repair.
Our attorneys at Kreps Law Firm, LLC stand ready, willing, and able to help you and defend your Alabama Board of Nursing matter and your criminal charges, if any have been filed. You should not attempt to navigate the administrative hearing process without an attorney. Our initial consultation is confidential and free. Don’t wait! Call us today at (866) 348-2889 to discuss your Alabama Board of Nursing matter (866) 348-2889.