In short, yes. While the primary focus of the New York State Board of Nursing and the Office of Professions, is related to the licensee’s performance at work; the Board can also determine if an off-duty misconduct impairs the offending licensee’s ability to work, and implement disciplinary action against him/her.
Generally, nurses and other medical practitioners are held at a higher standard of responsibility to the public in comparison to the average layperson. So, under the discretion of the Office of Professions, the New York State Board of Nursing can interpret many off-duty misconducts as correlations to professional misconducts, which may lead to disciplinary actions. Outcomes range from a warning letter for the least serious misconduct to license termination for the most serious.
There is no strict guideline to which type of off-duty misconducts are subjected to disciplinary actions. But off-duty misconducts related to drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal charges related to assault and driving while intoxicated (DWI), by the licensee are often subjected to hefty fines, suspension and/or termination of licensure.
A New York State Nursing Board hearing for potential disciplinary action can be tricky because, it is difficult for the licensee to justify his/her actions before the board. In many cases, nurses who attend the Board hearing without an experienced attorney, face more adverse outcomes than those who seek legal advice. So, it would be beneficial for the licensee to first seek advice from an experienced professional licensure defense attorney to assess his/her facts of the case and determine which legal options can minimize the licensee’s damage the most.
If you have recently been contacted by the New York State Board of Nursing to attend a disciplinary hearing for an off-duty misconduct evaluation, then call our office at (212) 577-6677 to get professional legal advice.