What you need to know if a complaint is filed against your license

Understanding your rights and protections during the complaint process

Know your rights

The U.S. Constitution and state administrative law protect the due process rights of a nurse against whom a complaint is filed. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty and have a constitutional right to keep your license (your property interest) until the Board's complaint resolution proceedings are complete. During these proceedings, you have legal rights that include:

  • Right to legal counsel
  • Right to contest the allegations
  • Right to certain notices
  • The opportunity for a full administrative hearing

The Board must prove the allegations by a preponderance of the evidence before taking any action against your license.

Open and closed complaints against your license

Open complaints

During the Board's investigation and complaint resolution process, details of a complaint are not made public except for the existence of the complaint pending and the date it was filed. The intent is to ensure the integrity of the investigation.

Closed complaints

Consistent with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 66 regarding Public Records, all information about closed complaints is public, except for the name of the complainant, and any patient identifying information.

Summary of complaint process

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has produced a video Board of Nursing Complaint Process: Investigation to Resolution that may help you understand the complaint process.

NCSBN is an independent, not-for-profit organization through which boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting public health, safety, and welfare.


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