Many complaints made to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) regarding nurses arise out of an employment context. Nurses and other employees in Michigan have a right to obtain a copy of their personnel files, which often contain documents and information that can help them formulate and support a defense of the allegations brought against them.

Other types of documentation from a nurse’s employment can also be beneficial in formulating and supporting a defense to allegations made against a nurse.  Such documentation can include but is not limited to helpful performance reviews, documentation regarding awards or accolades given by the employer, and letters of support from supervisors and colleagues.

An experienced Michigan attorney can help nurses obtain their personnel files and identify additional documentation to help support and strengthen their defenses to allegations made against them.  Legal counsel can provide drafting assistance and valuable advice regarding what type of content would be best to include in letters of support.

If a nurse has been terminated by a hospital or other healthcare employer, then LARA and the Board are often inclined to assume that the alleged grounds for termination cited by the previous employer are valid and that the terminated nurse’s arguments are simply the type of negative things that “disgruntled employees” would say about their previous employers.  Knowledgeable legal counsel can help to provide an objective and compelling critique and rebuttal of the previous employer’s stated grounds for termination.

The Michigan Board of Nursing is very busy, largely because there are so many nurses in Michigan.  LARA and the Board will often give minimal time to a specific case unless they perceive a compelling reason to focus their attention on a particular case.  Also, they will often take a “harder line” against a particular nurse than what is warranted, because they have not noticed or taken the time to carefully review information or documentation that is favorable to the nurse.  Experienced attorneys can help make sure all favorable information and documentation are communicated to LARA and the board and focus their attention on such favorable information and documentation.

If you are a nurse who practices in Michigan and are contacted by a LARA investigator who requests to have a meeting or interview with you, then you should retain an attorney before talking with the investigator.  As discussed in our state licensing investigations webpage, there are many ways that an attorney can help you during a licensing investigation, as well as many ways that not having experienced legal counsel can work to your detriment.  The same is true if you have received an administrative complaint filed against you by LARA and have not yet hired an experienced attorney.

For more information regarding these matters, please contact Douglas Vanden Berge at 616-233-5127 or dpvanden@rhoadesmckee.com.

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