What nurses should know about complaints and investigations

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | Professional License Revocation

Nurses handle complaints daily from patients, family members, physicians and co-workers. Usually, it is something minor that they can resolve in a relatively short amount of time.

However, some complaints are serious enough to warrant an investigation and put your nursing license at risk. 

Understanding the process

You likely became a nurse because you are passionate about helping people during their most vulnerable moments and assisting them back to good health. That’s why it can be upsetting when someone files a formal complaint about you with the Minnesota Board of Nursing, which oversees nursing licensure.

Complaints can come from various sources, including patients, families, employers and other healthcare professionals. The complaints may revolve around issues of competence, professional conduct, or legal matters such as alleged violations of the Nurse Practice Act, which are the laws regarding the legal responsibilities of a nurse.

If the complaint falls under their jurisdiction, they will initiate an investigation. This involves gathering information, such as:

  • Employment records
  • Interviewing the complainant
  • Complainant’s medical records

After reviewing the material, they may want to meet with the nurse to allow them to respond to the complaint. It may involve a Review Panel under the supervision of the Assistant Attorney General.

During this process, it’s crucial for the nurse to cooperate fully. Providing all the necessary information and being honest can significantly influence the outcome of the investigation. 

After the investigation, the Board determines whether there were any violations. If so, disciplinary action may be taken, which may include the following:

  • Reprimand
  • Fine
  • Additional education
  • Probation
  • License suspension or revocation

A nurse facing an investigation has the right to due process. They may want to work with someone who will advocate for them and protect their license and reputation.