James M. Barber, RN, JD

Oklahoma Board of Nursing Defense

(405) 209-5720

7006 NW 63 rd Street Suite 106
Wiley Post Building
Bethany, OK 73008
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing and Our Legal Services for Nurses

I  regularly handle cases that involve: 

Practice Violations
Diversion of Narcotics
HIPPA Violations and Patient Privacy
Criminal Arrests
and Convictions
Intemperate Use of Drugs or Alcohol
Chemical Dependency/Substance Abuse
Unprofessional Conduct
Negative Nurse Peer Review
Discipline by Another State Licensing Board
Documentations Errors
Inability to Practice due to a Physical or Mental Health Condition
Allegations of Patient Abuse
Scope of Practice Violations
Non-Therapeutic Prescribing by an APN
Board Order Violations and Compliance Issues
Failure to Disclose
Criminal History
Falsifying Documentation
Appeals on Board Orders
Full Board of Nursing Hearing Representation
I also provide general law services in the area of Criminal Charges
Divorce and Summary Probate

Oklahoma State Board of Nursing

The Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act authorizes the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing to issue licenses and subsequently discipline nurses for violations of the Nurse Practice Act and it encompasses the administrative rules and regulations that the Board of Nursing has adopted for interpreting and applying its statutes.  

                                              WHERE DO COMPLAINTS COME FROM?

 The Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act makes it almost mandatory that the Board Investigations Division will investigate every complaint made to the Nursing Board regarding a nurses practice. Complaints with the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing can originate from a multitude of different sources. Some of the most common include other nurses, former employers, patients and their families, law enforcement and criminal prosecutors. The State Board of Nursing Investigative Division also has the ability to open complaints on their own initiative when they come across potential violations during their investigation of another nurse.           

                                                                      THE RULES        

The Oklahoma State Board of Nursing (BON) regulates the practice of nursing through power granted to it by the state legislature pursuant to the Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act, 59 O.S.§ 567 et seq. The rules that govern the imposition of investigations specifically regarding nursing practice are codified under the Oklahoma Administrative Code Title 485. The Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act that governs administrative law in Oklahoma can be found at 75 O.S. § 250 et seq.  These three sources, along with the BON's own published rules and guidelines, are the bedrock of the Board's investigation section.  All three of these sources are intended to provide you with the "due process" required before the State can act against your license.

                                                  WHAT DOES DUE PROCESS MEAN ?

The Oklahoma State Board of Nursing was the state agency that granted you that nursing license and the Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act gives them the full authority to regulate it. However,  after you have been granted a professional license, it becomes a "property right" in the eyes of the law. That means that it cannot be taken away by the State without due process.  Even so, your professional nursing license is not "just" a property right, it is a big part of "who you are". In the case of Johnson v. Board of Governors of Registered Dentists, 913 P.2d 1339, 1996 the Oklahoma Supreme Court stated:

                         "This court has consistantly recognized where it is necessary to procure a license in order to carry
                          on a chosen profession or business, he power to revoke a license, once granted, and thus destroy
                          in a measure the means of livelihood, is penal and therefore should be strictly construed."

To put it another way, the Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that the loss of a professional license is MORE THAN a monetary loss; it is a loss of a person's livelihood and a loss of a reputation that is a constitutionally protected property interest that must be afforded due process. That guarantee of due process, is the ONLY imperative stated twice in the United States Constitution by both the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth, stating that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property with due process of law". The kicker is this; You are guaranteed due process, but you need to hire a lawyer that knows how to navigate the system of procedural and administrative law to maximize your chances of a good outcome before the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing employs lawyers, do you think you can afford to face the Board without one of your own? By the way, the Board of Nursing's current lawyer is a nurse attorney.

There are over 40,000 licensed nurses in Oklahoma and the Board of Nursing is known as one of the most active of the state licensing boards. This number is significantly larger than the combined total of licensees overseen by the Oklahoma Board of Healing Arts / Medical Board, Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy, Oklahoma State Board of Dental Examiners, and Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Examiners. As the general trend in health care appears to be a drift towards more treatment by skilled nurses in all settings and an increased reliance on Nurse Practitioners and other Advanced Practice Nurses in primary care, the Nursing Board’s mandate can only be expected to continue to grow along with the state’s growing population.  Every year more nurses are referred to the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing Investigations Division, and subsequently undergo discipline of their nursing license,  than the year before!  Your nursing license defense needs to start "before" you meet with a board investigator or make any statement.  Hiring a nurse attorney to represent you at the outset can greatly enhance your chances of prevailing when your nursing license is investigated by the board of nursing.

                                                WHY CHOOSE ME TO REPRESENT YOU ?

I have substantial experience with the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing and have represented many nurses who have been investigated or charged by the Board of Nursing over the past decade.  These allegations have included the entire spectrum of potential issues from cases involving patient death and serious felony offenses to minor practice violations and documentation errors. As a nurse attorney, I regularly litigate and win cases which proceed to hearings with the full membership of the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing. The Board Investigative Division and its staff recognize my name and are used to dealing with me on a near-daily basis. Equipped to litigate a case and prevail all the way through District Court and beyond, I am both comfortable and successful in navigating the Board’s investigation and complaint process and ensuring an effective result for my nurse clients.  I also lecture frequently to nursing students regarding the Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act and nursing regulation by the Board of Nursing.    

 If you have received a letter to meet with an Investigator from the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing or are at any stage of the legal process with the Board of Nursing you should consider retaining experienced legal counsel who is a nurse attorney to protect your nursing license. It is my opinion that you need to hire a nurse attorney, someone who is comfortable both with the law and the practice of nursing.  Far too often simple mistakes or missteps by an unrepresented nurse result in a snowballing investigation or the imposition of a disciplinary order which could have been avoided. Furthermore, the disciplinary process involves a mire of statutes and regulations almost always weighted in the favor of the Board of Nursing.  The Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act was written  with the intent of protecting the public, not the nurse.  Constitutional due process issues may also be implicated and be used in your nursing license defense. An effective, successful defense of your nursing license requires both familiarity with the nursing standards involved as well as an in depth knowledge of the applicable administrative law and how these two very different set of rules and guidelines interact with each other. As a nurse attorney I am experienced in both of these areas.  If you have a case with The Oklahoma State Board of Nursing, contact the nursing license defense attorney James M. Barber at (405) 209-5720.   

                                                              MORE STUFF TO CONSIDER                                 

At the outset, investigations conducted by the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing are confidential and not subject to public disclosure. The Investigative Division, if contacted, would neither confirm or deny that your license is under investigation for a potential violation of the Oklahoma Nurse Practice Act.  However, when an investigation progresses far enough without being dismissed the case becomes public when the Board Investigator files formal charges against a nurse’s license. The Oklahoma State Board of Nursing will also be required to report any adverse action against your nursing license to the National Practioners Data Base (NIPDB) which could affect you future employment options.  Eventually a case could proceed to a full-contested  hearing before the full Board and result in the drafting of a Board Order presented to the Board for their consideration and approval. However, many cases with the Board of Nursing are resolved through either a dismissal, not as frequent,  or an Agreed Order/Stipulation negotiated between the nurse attorney and the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing investigative division. Nursing license defense in Oklahoma has many facets and it's in your best interests to hire an experienced nurse attorney to protect your rights and your nursing license!         








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