Understanding The Legal Process

How To Prepare For A Nursing License Defense

by Eli Gregory

Presenting a nursing license defense is a demanding process. It's important to be prepared, and a nursing license defense attorney will likely want you to focus on these three issues.

Understanding the Standard of Proof

It's common for professional review boards to use a standard of proof called "substantial evidence." Generally, this is seen as a vastly lighter burden of proof for the accusing side than you'll see in criminal trials, the standard often quoted as "beyond a shadow of a doubt." Most legal scholars also consider substantial evidence to be a lighter burden of proof than even what's used in civil cases.

The legally-accepted definition of substantial evidence is anything relevant to support a conclusion. For a nursing license defense attorney, this means they frequently have to refute most of the case against the defendant. In other words, you will start a nursing license defense case, as the party that has more work to do.

Communications and Documents

Ideally, you have kept detailed track of all of the interactions that might endanger your nursing license. If you have texts, emails, or private messages from a doctor who signed off on a particular course of action, for example, preserve those. Lock them on the devices they're on and then back them up using a cloud-based online storage system.

Paperwork is gold in a nursing license defense. If you remember that someone authorized a decision in writing, provide copies of the documents. Even if all you remember is a rough date for the authorization, make a note as soon as possible about what the date was and who was involved.

This information should allow your nursing license defense attorney to hunt the documents down during the discovery process before the board hearing. If the other side can't produce these documents, that may hinder their case or even provide you with grounds to ask for a dismissal.


Especially when a case involves a distinct incident, witnesses may be invaluable. As with other factors in the case, try to make contemporaneous notes regarding who was present at the time. If you remember another nurse who was present during surgery, for example, write down that person's name. Do not contact them to discuss the case, though, because that can taint your defense.

It's also a good idea to treat yourself as a witness. As soon as it seems possible you might have to defend your nursing license, grab a writing pad and jot down as much as you remember about the events. 

For more information about nursing license defense, contact a local law firm, like Spiga & Associates.