Lebanon Tennessee Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorneys practicing auto, trucking, motorcycle and all personal injury law and DUI, Assault, Seizure and all Criminal Law.
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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
FAX (615) 444-6516
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Can I Lose My Nursing License If I Am Criminally Charged?

I had just returned from court where, as a litigation attorney, I had defended a DUI case. The case had been difficult, but we gained a verdict that allowed my client to continue to work and take care of his family. My desk was covered with case notes and the rest of the day’s schedule was filled with client meetings, phone calls to return, and case research - a typical busy day! As soon as I sat down at my desk, the receptionist buzzed me with a sound of urgency in her voice.

“Donnavon, there is a highly agitated young man in the lobby. His name is James. He insists on seeing you, he says he needs your help.” I had no idea who James was or what was going on with him. It sounded like he needed help and that is what I do, so I asked the receptionist to send James in.

After introducing himself, James said he was a nurse and he was in trouble. Unfortunately, James’ story was all too common for his profession. He said, “I was in a car accident and have injuries that make me hurt constantly.” He had received opioid medication for the pain, but he continued to suffer. He was hurting so much that he had difficulty in performing his duties. He was concerned that his performance was putting his job in jeopardy. James said that over a period of time, he began to take more than the prescription called for.  He continued to increase the dosage, little by little, until it exceeded what the bottle held. He said, "In addition to the pain, I’ve had to work excessive overtime and I am under a lot of stress. The pain, my working conditions, family issues, it’s almost more than I can handle. I’m addicted and my drug use is uncontrollable." He continued, “I’m in trouble at work and with the State Board of Nursing; my license could be revoked or suspended. If I lose my license, I won’t be able to work. I won’t be able to take care of my family.”
drug addiction nurse

I told James that helping people in bad situations is what we do, including: an understanding of his particular situation, the law that pertains to it, and knowing every method of defending my client’s professional license. Every tool available must be used, including appropriate treatment for alcohol and drug cases, mediation, or litigating the case. I told James that it was important to understand that alcohol and drug abuse is a disease and should be treated. I explained that we work closely with qualified substance abuse specialists who can develop programs specifically designed for our clients, that not only meet their treatment needs, but may also result in saving their professional license.

I explained to James that his situation was not uncommon in the nursing profession.  Nursing is a noble profession and a privilege governed by professional standards, requiring the nurse to achieve and maintain the highest levels of professional and personal conduct. I know as a group, nurses are good people with the highest of expectations placed upon them. The fact cannot be disregarded that every year, the State of Tennessee Nursing Board revokes or suspends hundreds of licenses. While some of these men and women lose their privilege to serve as nurses because of activities unrelated to alcohol and drug abuse, many suffer the consequences for being under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or drug abuse, or alcoholic and drug related activities. In the November 2015 Disciplinary Action Report published by the Tennessee Board of Nursing, over 30% of disciplinary actions reported were alcoholic or drug related. The risk of a nurse having their license revoked or suspended is great.

I considered James’s drug addiction, the real threat of his license being suspended, and the possibility of him not being able to provide for his family.  I decided then and there to take on his case

The next day we made arrangements for James to receive treatment for his drug addiction. In the weeks that followed, James worked hard on his recovery and successfully completed his treatment. I worked closely with James to examine the details of his case, as it relates to the applicable law and rules and regulations of the Tennessee Board of Nursing. Together James, myself, and our staff developed a strategy designed to gain the best possible outcome for his case. He was able to continue his work as a nurse and take care of his family.

James is a fictional character with a real story that many people can relate to. If you need help protecting your ability to practice your profession; give us a call and allow us to review your case and develop a solution tailored to fit your individual situation.

Donnavon Vasek

137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457


511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

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