Did you know that the Board of Nursing may order your complaint record sealed? Recently, I successfully defended a nurse-client. At the end of the day, the Board sealed the complaint record. Missouri law allows the Board to do so. Let me explain the importance of sealing that record .
Having Your Complaint Record Sealed Protects Your Nursing License From Public Access
The Board may order 1 of 4 actions against a nursing license. In the continuum, sealing the complaint is the best outcome. I argue for the Board to seal the record. Keep in mind, the Board initiates the complaint after a full investigation. It doesn’t usually change its mind.
The Board may impose any of these disciplines available under Missouri law. The list starts at the lightest and ends at the harshest:
- Seal the complaint;
- Order probation;
- Suspend the nursing license;
- Revoke the nursing license.
I describe these more specifically on my Nurse License Defense Lawyer page.
When is a Record Sealed?
The Board seals the record of complaint for 3 reasons. Each are written in 335.068 of Missouri statutes:
- It decides the nurse did not violate the Nursing Practice Act;
- It determines the complaint is unsubstantiated. This means not enough evidence proved it;
- A court seals the record over the Board’s objection. This happens after the nurse appeals the Board’s disciplinary decision. A judge decides the case on appeal.
Why Have the Record Sealed?
Because its magic. Its as if the complaint never existed. So, there is no public record of it. (Although The Board still keeps a copy of the investigation and decision.) The 2 biggest advantages:
- When you fill out a job application, you may properly answer “No. I have no complaint against my Nursing license for that incident.”
- The Board won’t disclose or report your sealed complaint to any other state agency. For you travel nurses out there, the Board will not report the complaint to any other state board of nursing. So, when your new potential employer looks up your license, it finds nothing.
Not all nursing complaints become public records. Having the record sealed is the best example of that. Sometimes we do magic.