Obtaining a vocational nursing and psychiatric technician license in San Diego involves a lot of sacrifices. California is among the four states that psychiatric technicians require licenses to practice their expertise. The license is a vital ingredient in your long-life career path. You faced the serious California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) with the possibility of having your license application denied.
Just the same way you strived to have your license approved, you want to counter the threat of suspension, revocation, or probation should you get accused of various offenses. Not only is your capacity to develop a career threatened but also your whole livelihood and welfare of your dependent family.
We at San Diego License Attorney, are armed with experience and competence to defend your license should you fall prey to allegations. Our license attorneys have in-depth knowledge of all regulations that govern your type of license, for example, the Nursing Practice Act and Business and Professions Code. Place your case in our able hands, and we will build you, or your loved one a strong defense.
What Responsibilities Do Vocational Nurses Have?
Even though vocational nurses have highly rewarding careers owing to the positive impact in people’s lives, they carry with them demanding roles. This is because, unlike medical doctors, vocational nurses hold patients’ lives in their able hands around the clock.
As a vocational nurse, you are tasked with essential responsibilities in nursing homes, home care agencies, schools, and hospitals. These responsibilities include:
Monitoring and recording the progress of patients
Dressing and caring for patients’ wounds
Monitoring chronic ailments and conditions
Making sure patients take medicine as prescribed
Checking of vital signs
Operating and maintaining intravenous machines
Your responsibilities are considered essential for human survival and are always in demand. You invest a lot of money, time, and personal effort to invest in education and achieve this “career of mercy.” It could take a lifetime to build your nursing career and just one mistake to see your efforts get drained and license suspended.
A dissatisfied patient or their relatives could make a false allegation and compromise your whole career. You want to act promptly and save your “angel of mercy” moniker when in such a tricky situation. Hire a competent defense lawyer, and they could help you keep your nursing permit.
What are the Roles of a Psychiatric Technician in California?
Just like a licensed vocational nurse, your roles as a psychiatric technician involve basic care. The difference is that you are tasked with the role of caring for mentally challenged, emotionally disturbed, and mentally ill patients. You work in mental health clinics and psychiatric hospitals.
You are needed to:
Oversee treatment and rehabilitation programs
Help mentally ill patients with personal hygiene,
Administer injections and medications
Execute procedures per hospital protocols and supervision physicians
Yours is a special calling where you must show compassion when handling the mentally challenged. Your work renders you a respected nursing professional owing to the daily challenges you have to overcome. Adding to responsibilities like monitoring temperature, pulse, and respiratory progress, you have other roles of keeping track of behavior patterns and notifying medical personnel of your observations.
The hospital you work in could also need you to conduct individual or group psychotherapy sessions per doctors’ prescriptions or as part of a particular treatment. You could also handle administrative tasks like admitting patients in the healthcare facility, maintaining contact with the patients’ families, updating patient records, and facilitating family meetings with patients. Here is an even more challenging role: containing violent and potentially suicidal patients. You could use physical or verbal means to restrain them from putting their lives and those of other patients at risk.
During your career, you could make a mistake. While mistakes are inevitable, the relatives of your patients who cannot tell what they feel could question your competence even when you perform your duties diligently. If you face any allegations that could compromise your license, you need the representation of an experienced attorney.
The Purpose of The California Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians
The BVNPT prides itself on safeguarding public safety by the issuance of licenses to vocational nurses and psychiatric technicians. High standards are obligatory to all applicants before the boards can approve the licenses.
A consumer affairs webpage is available to the public. Anyone can channel their grievances to the board via the web page. All that is needed is filling the web-based complaint form. If the officials find the complaints authentic, investigations follow, and if inauthentic, they could dismiss the allegations.
After investigation, the BVNPT could summon you if they have proof of misconduct. At this stage, you could receive professional discipline in different ways. It is evident that the mission of the board is not only licensing nurses and psychiatrists but also protecting the general public. The BVNPT's goal is to maintain high industry standards and to safeguard the welfare of all patients.
While the California BVNPT does a recommendable job, several inaccurate complaints and misunderstandings come together with valid ones. Often than not, factual allegations get exaggerated out of proportion when the board is trying to protect many parties – healthcare workers and patients.
What Kinds of Misconduct Could Call for a Board Disciplinary Action?
Below are several complaints that could make the BLVPT take disciplinary action against you:
Abusing patients physically or sexually
Getting involved in fraudulent activities when in the line of duty
Facing disciplinary measures in another license-issuing or state agency in California and other states
Flouting probation terms imposed after a previous violation
Neglecting your duty to care for patients and showing incompetence
Misconducts per the board’s rules and regulations
Getting convicted for a misdemeanor or felony crime, and the offense links to your professional duties
Getting intoxicated during working hours, getting a DUI charge, or committing any other drug crime
Disciplinary Actions That the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians Take
The disciplinary actions that BVNPT takes against vocational nurses and psychiatric technologists are determined on a case to case basis. If found guilty of the abovementioned misconducts after an investigation, you could face the disciplinary actions explained below:
Citation and fine - A lesser penalty that the board imposes, but it is worth defending against it as it appears in your criminal records
License suspension - Here you are prohibited from continuing practicing your expertise for a particular period
License revocation - The most severe punishment that the board imposes for serious crimes. You need to file a notice of defense if required to, failure to which you could have your license revoked
Stay of revocation with probation - If the board imposes license probation, you could continue your practice but under particular BVNPT-given conditions. The board imposes probation after a short-term license suspension.
Public reprimand - The board publishes your misconduct, and the information gets in the public domain, but it imposes no fines. The major downside of a public reprimand is that you could have challenges landing new jobs within your career.
With the help of your lawyer, you can reach a specified settlement as long as you promise to stop misconduct and meet particular requirements. The board would request you to surrender your license or appear for a review hearing. You are advised not to do these things before you can talk to your license defense attorney.
Elements That the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Zero in On When Determining Your Hearing
The administrative law judge (ALJ) follows particular disciplinary guiding principles and standards of substance abuse that the BVNPT dictates during your administrative hearing. These guidelines offer direction when probation, suspension, or revocation is suitable.
When determining what disciplinary action to impose, the ALJ considers the following factors:
Any mitigating or aggravating factors
Proof of attending a rehabilitation program
The severity of your violation
The nature of your violation
The injuries you caused to others
Whether any patient under your care incurred any harm following your violation
Disciplinary records of your violations in the past
Criminal records of your conviction in the past
Whether you have multiple records of violations in the recent past
Similar or different complaints against you have been reported recently
The odds of you repeating misconduct if allowed to keep your license
Your level of cooperation with the BVNPT during investigations
After putting all these factors into consideration, the ALJ makes a "Proposed Decision," which the board reviews and forms the "Final Decision." Also, the judge has the jurisdiction to a certain extent, to allow withdrawals from the guiding principles if h/she justifies them via writing to the board.
The uniform standards put in place for substance abuse cannot be withdrawn, but extra elements can be included in the standards. Substance abuse could involve the use of alcohol or any other drug. However, the presumptions could be invalidated if proof beyond a reasonable doubt is presented.
The Decision-Making Process
When the board receives a complaint against you, the board handles the complaint based on severity. If the complaint is unsubstantiated, the board dismissed it, but if the complaint is considered severe, the board prioritizes it.
The next step after the complaint against you is “substantiated” is conducting a formal investigation. The board notifies you about the investigation in writing. In this instance, you want to hire a competent defense lawyer. You could attempt doing it alone, but chances of your acquittal are minimal to none.
However, attorneys have the required knowledge and experience to maneuver through your case, and chances of winning are high. Don’t talk to the board or investigators without speaking to your lawyer. Your lawyer can appear before the board on your behalf or give you legal counsel on what to say to avoid incriminating yourself.
Another reason why you need a lawyer to work on your case is to avoid limiting your defense possibilities. The board could issue you an interim suspension to bar you from practicing and working during the investigation. You need a competent lawyer to fight for you because investigations can take many months or years. waiting for years for the board to complete investigation could cause a toll on your finances and wellbeing of your loved ones.
A reputable license lawyer could negotiate with the board for a settlement or get your case withdrawn before the administrative hearing occurs. The next step that the board takes is issuing you a formal accusation along with a statement of issues.
Your lawyer helps you respond to all issues forwarded to you in the right manner. If your case is not solved at this step, the next step is the administrative hearing. During the administrative hearing, your defense attorney could present mitigating and exculpatory evidence in your favor. The lawyer could also look for and bring witnesses to counter the proof and testimony from the prosecutor. A competent lawyer will use every possible legal means to challenge your case or even have you receive a less severe disciplinary action.
In case the board imposes probation, you and your lawyer can negotiate to have the term shortened and with lesser strict conditions. If your offense was substance abuse, your lawyer could ask the board to order your enrollment in a Nurse Diversion Program (NDP). You could save your license by enrolling in the NDP. However, not that if you fail or decline to attend the Diversion Program, you could subject yourself to severe disciplinary actions.
Enrolling in a Nurse Diversion Program
The board could decide to offer you a Nurse Diversion in place of a Disciplinary Hearing. This voluntary nurses’ program takes in professionals who have a drug addiction and mental problems. The program is lengthy, pricey, and tough.
So many nurses find this program an ideal way to foster a healthy and drug-free lifestyle after completion. However, some other nurses think that Diversion is unnecessary. Note that is offered Nurse Diversion and you are unsuccessful, the board could impose harsh consequences like a recommendation for License Discipline. If the board offers you a Nurse Diversion, talk to your lawyer to find another option and explain the ins and outs of accepting enrollment in the program.
Obtaining a License When You Have a Criminal History – The 7-Year Rule
Getting a vocational nursing or psychiatric technician license hangs on your crime commission and time of occurrence. Normally, the BVNPT bars people from obtaining licenses in which they have criminal histories in the last seven years. The criminal offenses should link to the duties, roles, functions, and qualifications of being a psychiatric technician or vocational nurse (the offenses are explained under Kinds of Misconduct Could Call for A Board Disciplinary Action).
The board could also deny you a professional license if you have had a criminal conviction within any time for either:
An offense for which you have to register as a sex offender, either under Tier II or III
Committing a serious felony under California Penal Code 1192.7. These felonies include violating PC 422, carjacking, gun crimes, sex crimes, drug crimes, assault, robbery, arson, murder, and kidnapping
Talk to your attorney if your license application gets denied based on your criminal history in the past.
Help with License Reinstatement and Appealing Against License Denial
You can hire a defense lawyer if, after your application, the BVNPT rejects the request. With the help of the attorney, you could appeal the rejection of your license application and focus on meeting the board requirement to pass eventually.
After the board welcomes your appeal, you are required to take the NCLEX examination, add extra paperwork, meet additional rehabilitation/educational requirements, or resolve issues vis-à-vis criminal arrests/ convictions in the past.
When the BVNPT revokes your license, it means you cannot practice ever again. You shouldn’t lose hope as you have the option to petition against the revocation. An experienced lawyer is the best person to help you have the license reinstated, but after a certain waiting period, elapse.
All that is needed to petition is admitting liability for the misconduct that led to your license revocation, proof that you completed a rehabilitation program, and that you are competent and safe enough to apply for a vocational nurse or psychiatric technician role. Your lawyer could help you meander through the procedures and increase your reinstatement odds.
The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians could set up a special hearing for defending a license reinstatement of appealing a license denial. Choose a lawyer with a proven track record to represent you at the hearing.
Find a San Diego Licensing Attorney Near Me
In San Diego and greater California, the authority is stringent when it comes to licensing professionals, especially ones in the healthcare realm. If you are a vocational nurse or psychiatric technician, you understand how the minutest allegation could crumble a career you built for years.
If this predicament befalls you or a loved one, don't stand by and watch all you have worked so hard for vanish. We invite you to contact the San Diego License Attorney today at 619-728-7448 with details of your case. Regardless of the severity of your case, our attorneys have enough experience to fight for a positive outcome. We will take the matter up immediately and help you build a strong defense.