Being a nurse is a rewarding but also stressful job. You may have become a registered nurse right out of college and felt it was your calling to help people. You may have already known that the job would have its good days and bad days, but you still feel the pull to this field.

Of course, you also knew that, on some of those bad days, you could have difficult interactions with patients. Some may have been combative or rude, or made you feel as if you had no idea how to do your job. While you knew that you did your best to maintain a sense of decorum and take care of a patient as you needed to, the situation may still have not gone in your favor.

When a patient files a complaint

You may have had a tough day, and later on, you may have found your situation only getting worse because a patient filed a complaint against you. If the complaint was relatively minor and filed with a superior, you may have had a discussion about it and moved on. However, if the disgruntled patient or even a patient’s family member filed a complaint with the Board of Registered Nursing in California, you may be in for a more difficult process.

People can file complaints with the Nursing Board for various reasons. The Board typically sees complaints about nurse actions that someone believed violated the Nursing Practice Act or because someone suspects a nurse has a substance abuse problem. In the former case, a patient or another person could file a complaint if he or she feels a nurse acted in an inappropriate or unsafe manner, such as abusing a patient, failing to properly care for a patient or making serious errors.

What happens after a complaint?

If someone does file a complaint with the Board, the Board will review the complaint and determine what should happen. Often, an investigation will ensue so the Board can gain more information in efforts to decide how to handle the situation. Understandably, you may feel overwhelmed if the Board starts an investigation with you at the center. After all, your nursing license could be on the line. Fortunately, if this happens to you, you can contact an experienced attorney to gain information on your legal options for protecting your license.