Top Minnesota Nursing License Defense Lawyer
You’ve chosen to dedicate your life to caring for those in need, and at Forshier Law, LLC, we’ve decided to focus on protecting and caring for you. Those who choose to work in nursing, whether long-term or acute care, mental health or hospice care are all crucial to the health of our community. However, ongoing changes in the health care industry—largely led by corporate healthcare executives with little if any prior experience in patient care—often make it difficult for healthcare professionals and other care providers to do their work.
At Forshier Law, LLC, we understand. Prior to becoming an attorney and dedicating her legal practice to the defense of health care professionals, Barb Forshier was an RN. Once she became an attorney she continued to work both as a nurse and an attorney. However, after over 35 years in nursing, she finally retired in order to devote 100% of her time to her busy professional license defense firm. License defense is all we do at this firm, so you can feel secure knowing that you have chosen a dual professional with extensive experience in both health care and law to handle your nursing or behavioral health board complaint.
You don’t have to face this challenge alone. Take the first step now by contacting us online or calling our office.
How Forshier Law, LLC Can Help
Barbara Forshier has extensive experience working with nurses who are union members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). She was elected to and served for 6 years as a metro hospital union chairperson, has represented nurses in her role as a nurse in 4 contract negotiations, has been an elected member to the MNA Board of Directors, and was also elected to the MNA Governmental Affairs Commission for several terms, serving as chairperson for 1 of those terms. Forshier Law, LLC has a long, extensive history working with and advocating for nurses both at the bedside and at the State Capital.
Barb was amazing! It was incredibly hard having to be reviewed by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. Stressful to say the least but with Barb representing me, it gave me much comfort and confidence. She really took the time to get to know me and my situation. She was quick to respond to all my calls, texts, and e-mails. She was very thorough in representing me and really seem to have a good handle on my investigation. I really felt she was in my corner. She did an amazing job representing me and I would highly recommend her! I had a good outcome thanks to her. She is such a good role model to all us nurses and our profession.
Helping You With Your Nursing License DefenseIn recent years, the field of nursing has seen a significant shift. Unfortunately, this shift does not benefit nurses or even the patients they serve. Nurses have committed themselves to provide evidence-based care that prioritizes the patient’s health and well-being. That doesn’t always mean doing what the patient wants or providing care in the way that the patient prefers. This used to be fine since nurses were tasked with providing the best care—not catering to a patient’s preferences. Now, though, the difference between what a patient needs and what a patient wants may cause problems for nurses. Health care administrators have started to treat health care the same way they treat a customer service business. Nurses’ performance is based on patient surveys, and unhappy patients are far more likely to fill out these surveys than patients who are happy with their care. As a result, nurses are often punished for being unable to placate a difficult patient or for providing necessary care. Health care facilities do not provide customer service, and nurses need to be able to focus on providing excellent care, not trying to avoid negative marks on a survey that treats patients as customers. Additional changes have also made this field very difficult for nurses. In order to minimize their liability and capture costs to pass on to patients, administrators have ramped up documentation requirements. These requirements have slowly encroached on the time a nurse has for patient care. Instead, nurses are required to spend less and less time with patients and more time sitting in front of a computer. When this leads to negative outcomes, the nurse is often blamed. If your license is threatened because of a complaint, Forshier Law, LLC is here to help. We understand the panic you’re undoubtedly feeling and we want to support you throughout this process. Let us take care of you. We will look at the complaints against you, get your side of the story, and provide advice regarding your next step. We will handle the situation with the seriousness it deserves and gives you a realistic view of possible outcomes. We will also guide you through any hearings you have in front of the Minnesota Board of Nursing or investigations by the Office of the Attorney General.
Why Choose Forshier Law, LLC?
If you are facing possible disciplinary action from your licensing board or disqualification from work in your chosen field, you absolutely need an attorney you can trust. Forshier Law, LLC offers the ideal combination. As a nurse, Barb Forshier is well-versed in the struggles you’re facing right now and she understands the bureaucracy of licensing boards and administrators. She knows how to advocate on your behalf while still addressing the concerns of the licensing board in a way that yields a positive outcome for everyone involved.
We most often work on a flat fee basis. When representing you on a flat fee basis there are no hourly fees, so you don’t have to worry that an extra phone call or e-mail will drive up your bill. We know the financial stress that comes with the threat of a lost professional license, so we most often work on a flat fee basis to better meet the needs of our clients.
Additionally, Forshier Law, LLC only handles licensing board and disqualification cases. Other law firms take on these types of cases, but they take them in addition to personal injury cases, business law cases, or criminal law. Your legal need becomes one item in a long list of the legal issues they can take on, rather than being the primary focus of their practice. Since our firm specializes in this area of practice, you know that you are getting the most up-to-date advice, benefiting from our specialized knowledge, and gaining access to our substantial experience in this field.
We’re certain that you’ll finish your free consultation feeling calmer and more prepared about the road ahead of you. Forshier Law, LLC is not just your legal team; we truly care about your future and your career options. Having experienced the rapid change in health care firsthand, Barb Forshier is empathetic about the impossible situations nurses are placed in and knows how administrators often pass the buck to nurses instead of supporting them when issues arise. We are here to provide the support and legal representation you deserve during this trying time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I lose my license?
Usually Not. A Revocation is the most serious consequence. This is usually reserved for serious criminal acts by a nurse. Therefore, it is most often connected to intentional conduct. However, it can also be the sanction for extreme instances of neglect. A revocation means that the nurse will have to retake the NCLEX exam and only after the time specified by the Board Order which is usually at least 5 years. For the year 2019, there were 6 revocations or 2.8% of the total number of disciplinary actions (6 of 214 total disciplines).
Suspension: This is the next most serious disciplinary consequence. The nurse is taken out of practice for the time specified in the Board’s Order. This is often seen in cases of diversion. The nurse’s license is usually suspended for a year. However, expect that it will take much longer than a year before the nurse is taken off of the suspension and able to return to practice. There are many requirements to be met before the nurse can petition for removal of the suspension. (72 or 33.64% of the total of disciplinary actions).
Stayed Suspension: The nurse may work. A nurse returning from a suspension is usually then placed on a “Stayed Suspension” with limitations and conditions. This is usually in place for another year. If the nurse fails to abide by the conditions of the Order, the Board may remove the “stay” and impose the suspension. A stayed suspension may also be ordered where the Board does not believe the nurse should be removed from practice, but feels the nurse needs continued monitoring or limits on their license. Again, if the nurse fails to abide by the conditions, the Board may suspend the license.
In 2019, there were a total of 961 Board Actions. Of those, 678 were dismissed/closed (71%) and 214 (22%) had some kind of disciplinary action.
I crossed a boundary with a patient, what will happen to me?
"I crossed a boundary and dated a patient that was residing at the residential treatment center where I work." There is good information on the Minnesota Board of Nursing’s website on this issue. Boundary crossings occur anytime a nurse strays across the line of the professional nurse-patient relationship. It can be serious, like dating a resident as in the above scenario, or less serious, like giving your patient a cookie from the staff lounge.
Often these cases are investigated by the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Minnesota. This is a very scary ordeal. It is especially important that your attorney attend the investigatory meeting with you. Once the investigator has spoken to you, a Notice of Conference will be sent by the Board to appear for an in-person conference.
The outcome depends on the severity of the boundary-crossing. Often the nurse is given an “Agreement for Corrective Action (“ACA”). This is a non-disciplinary educational sanction. However, an ACA is still public on the Board’s website (but it is not reported to the national practitioner data bank). The ACA typically involves meeting with a nurse educator, setting objectives, writing a paper and doing additional online education on boundaries. If it is more serious the nurse may be suspended.
I got convicted of a DUI/DWI, will this affect my nursing license?
It depends. You will have to answer the question in the affirmative when you renew your license. Depending on the number of previous convictions or if you are needing to go to treatment according to your CD assessment, there are things you will need to do. The treatment facility should inform you that you will need to self-report to the Health Professionals Services Program (“HPSP”).
This program is for all Minnesota licensed healthcare professionals and is a monitoring program to ensure that Licensee’s are safe to practice. There will be random toxicology screens and mandatory reports to your case manager from your supervisor among other reports. If you self-report and fulfill the requirements of your agreement with HPSP, you will not be reported to the Board.
When you report your convictions on your renewal, the Board may want additional information to ensure you are safe to practice.
I have been fired for problems with documentation. Will I lose my license?
No. With the advent of the Electronic Medical Record (“EMR”) the documentation requirements have increased exponentially. Most employers do not take into account the time required to chart anything and everything. In addition, the patients we see are now sicker, whether you work in acute care or long-term care. However, if you didn’t document, it’s not done. This creates a perception of negligent nursing care.
Documentation is a necessity. It can protect you from possible malpractice charges and from the issue above, losing your job. In Minnesota, terminations, suspensions or resignation in lieu of termination are Board reportable by law (if it is an issue that could result in discipline under the statute). To avoid this issue, seek additional training, seek out those nurses who document well, and check to see if there are tools within the EMR to self-check your required documentation.
I was just fired for suspected diversion. Will I lose my license?
You will not be revoked, but if you did divert, you will likely face a suspension. Nurses who find themselves diverting from their employer need help. They need to take the steps to overcome the addiction. Therefore, a suspension will provide the nurse the time required to get well. Often nurses who have become addicted choose to stay out of practice longer than required because that time is beneficial to the nurse and her family to mend everything that was broken.
Any nurse with a substance use disorder (“SUD”) should check out the Nurses Peer Support Network. It is a support network with weekly meetings, in various locations throughout Minnesota. When going through SUD issues, nurses will feel great shame and feel alone. This group will help the nurse work through this disease. They have been there. You are not alone. Many have dealt with the Board of Nursing and HPSP.
Learn more about diversion on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
I received a letter stating that someone reported me to HPSP. What does this mean?
HPSP or the Health Professional Services Program is a monitoring program available to all licensed Health Professionals in the State of Minnesota. It is free to the participants as it is paid for by the health licensing boards/license fees.
If you have been reported by a third party, it means someone is concerned about your ability to practice your profession safely and with reasonable skill due to an illness. The illness could be mental health or substance use disorder, or a physical health issue.
Do I have to comply by doing an intake with HPSP? Yes. You are required to comply with their process. It is possible that after your intake, the case manager determines that you do not have a disease that can be monitored. In that case, you will be dismissed.
However, if after a chemical dependency, mental health, or another exam, HPSP determines you have a condition that requires monitoring, you will be required to sign a participation agreement and comply with any monitoring requirements.
Will I be reported to the Board? It depends. There are certain statutory or legal requirements for reporting a Licensee to the Board. Those requirements include if the licensee violates the terms of the Participation Agreement (PA) with HPSP; if the Licensee has caused harm due to their illness; if the Licensee unlawfully substituted or adulterated a controlled substance; if the Licensee forges or alters a prescription or if a Licensee worked under the influence of controlled substances, mood-altering chemicals or alcohol or ingested them while on-call; and other violations of the Practice Act.
If you have not violated the above, you will not be reported to the Board as long as you continue to abide by your PA.
It is important to contact an attorney who is familiar with the process and pitfalls of this program.
Helping You With Your Nursing License Defense
In recent years, the field of nursing has seen a significant shift. Unfortunately, this shift does not benefit nurses or even the patients they serve. Nurses have committed themselves to providing evidence-based care that prioritizes the patient’s health and well-being. That doesn’t always mean doing what the patient wants or providing care in the way that the patient prefers. This used to be fine, since nurses were tasked with providing the best care—not catering to a patient’s preferences.
Now, though, the difference between what a patient needs and what a patient wants may cause problems for nurses. Health care administrators have started to treat health care the same way they treat a customer service business. Nurses’ performance is based on patient surveys, and unhappy patients are far more likely to fill out these surveys than patients who are happy with their care. As a result, nurses are often punished for being unable to placate a difficult patient or for providing necessary care. Health care facilities do not provide customer service, and nurses need to be able to focus on providing excellent care, not trying to avoid negative marks on a survey that treats patients as customers.
Additional changes have also made this field very difficult for nurses. In order to minimize their liability and capture costs to pass on to patients, administrators have ramped up documentation requirements. These requirements have slowly encroached on the time a nurse has for patient care. Instead nurses are required to spend less and less time with patients and more time sitting in front of a computer. When this leads to negative outcomes, the nurse is often blamed.
If your license is threatened because of a complaint, Forshier Law, LLC is here to help. We understand the panic you’re undoubtedly feeling and we want to support you throughout this process. Let us take care of you. We will look at the complaints against you, get your side of the story, and provide advice regarding your next step. We will handle the situation with the seriousness it deserves and give you a realistic view of possible outcomes. We will also guide you through any hearings you have in front of the Minnesota Board of Nursing or investigations by the Office of the Attorney General.
Support for Mental Health Professionals with Licensing Concerns
We’ve recently expanded our practice to serve LADCs, LPCs, and LPCCs. Complaints against these professionals are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy.
Mental health professionals put themselves through stress every day to provide necessary care and counseling to those going through trauma or treatment for mental health or substance use disorders. However, they are subject to many of the same issues as those in the nursing field. Administrators have increased documentation requirements, limiting the amount of time professionals can spend with patients and restricting the treatment options they are able to provide. Again, mental health care is starting to be viewed as a customer service transaction, rather than a type of medical care. Rather than practitioners being viewed as the experts, they are being treated like customer service providers who must do what patients want—even if what patients want is contrary to clinical standards.
If a patient, family member, employee, or community member files a formal complaint against you, your career could be at risk. Even if the complaint is unfounded and based on false information, you may be facing an official reprimand, license suspension, supervised practice, or a revoked license. Having a license defense attorney represent you throughout this process can help you get through it with the best possible outcome.
Defending You Against Disqualification and Accusations
Direct care providers, including RNs, CNA,s PCWs, and others who provide hands-on care may be disqualified from direct contact after a background study. This not only prohibits you from working in the specific facility you applied to work at but all jobs involving direct contact with vulnerable populations. Whether you have been disqualified because of a criminal conviction or claims of maltreament, it is crucial to fight back against a disqualification if you want to protect the future of your career. In addition to our work with nurses and licensed mental health care providers, we also work with unlicensed direct care providers who have been disqualified from working in their chosen field.
We may look at fighting a disqualification in several different ways. In some cases, it is possible to have a disqualification completely reversed, which allows you to change jobs and work in different settings throughout your long-term care career. You may also have a disqualification set aside, which permits you to work in a specific role in a specific setting even with a disqualification. We’ll work closely with you to explore your options and choose a path forward.
Contact Forshier Law, LLC
We Are Here to Help—Don’t Take on the Licensing Board Alone
You are not alone. Forshier Law, LLC has represented over a hundred health care professionals who never dreamed they would be called to defend their professional license. Skipping legal representation doesn’t prove your innocence or show that you have nothing to hide; it simply puts you at greater risk for having your license disciplined or being put under unreasonable work restrictions.
Don’t take a chance on your career. You do not have to face your licensing board alone and try to defend yourself against complaints. With the help of a nurse defense lawyer, you can tell your side of the story, stand up for yourself, and fight to keep the career you have worked so hard for.
Take the first step now and reach out to Forshier Law, LLC to schedule your free phone consultation. Contact us today set up a time to talk. We look forward to working with you.