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Sacramento California Professional License Defense Blog

Ethical considerations for licensed real estate agents

Recently, this legal blog featured a post about the code of ethics for occupational therapists. Expanding on the topic of professional ethics, this post will discuss some ethical matters that may help real estate agents protect their licenses in the state of California.

Unfortunately, the real estate industry is fraught with ethical traps, for lack of a better word, that may one day require agents to build a professional license defense. A good example of this is disclosing previous problems to potential buyers. Say a transaction fell through because a problem arose during the inspection process. If the owner remedies the situation, is the agent required to disclose the problem to the next potential buyer since it has been repaired? This is just one of many ethical considerations a real estate agent must address every day.

Can an ethics violation threaten my occupational therapy license?

When any industry makes an effort to provide practitioners with a code of ethics or conduct, it is safe to say that the industry as a whole cares about its reputation. Occupational therapy (OT) is a prime example an industry with ethical codes on both national and state levels.

California has its own code of ethics for occupational therapists outside of the American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA) ethics code. By making certain you adhere to the codes, you will likely not find yourself in danger of license revocation. Highlights from California's code of ethics include:

  • Comply with the AOTA Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics and OT Practice Act
  • Comply with state and federal laws when practicing OT
  • Only provide services based on best practices, evidence and clinical expertise
  • Pursue ongoing professional learning in order to ensure competency and to remain current on industry standards

The state nursing board has no jurisdiction over these matters

Last month, we wrote a blog post discussing several types of complaints that fall within the territory of the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Since that post, we have received several inquiries asking about other matters that may or may not threaten a registered nurse's license to practice in the state.

In response, we decided to discuss a few topics that concern nurses but do not fall under the jurisdiction of the BRN. While these topics may still cause hardships for you at work, you might be relieved to know that they do not involve the BRN.

  • Poor employer relations: Your boss cannot bring you before the board solely because you do not get along with one another.
  • Billing disputes: If a patient believes he or she was improperly billed, it is not a matter for the BRN to address.
  • Interpersonal conflicts: The BRN has no role if a disagreement occurs between two or more coworkers.
  • Labor issues: Labor matters fall under an entirely different field of law and do not involve the board in any way.
  • Behavioral issues: Just because someone thinks you are impolite or rude, it is not grounds to file a complaint against you with the board.

Tips to protect your California chiropractic license

Like other medical professionals, you probably worked hard to acquire your chiropractic license. Unfortunately, threats to your license can come out of nowhere and take your entire staff by surprise. While some of these threats may involve a practitioner or staff member's conduct, others arise out of administrative lapses and other benign actions.

As a chiropractor, developing an ongoing professional license defense begins with you. If you possess a license as a chiropractor in the state of California, consider using the following tips to head off potential threats before they can occur.

  • Conduct: Remaining professional with your staff and your clients at all times can prevent misunderstandings that could threaten your license. You should also take steps to ensure conduct by your staff members also remains professional.
  • Treatments: Only provide treatments that are within your scope of practice. This includes any procedures for which you have received training but are not licensed to perform.
  • Administration: Never underestimate the seriousness of administrative errors. Even something as simple as forgetting to notify the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners of your new business address can threaten your license.
  • Advertising: Remember that your license also applies to elements of your business that do not involve patient contact. For example, advertising or marketing of your practice must comply with the Board's regulations. In fact, the Board recommends that chiropractors consult a professional license defense or other attorney to ensure advertising remains in compliance.
  • Billing: Always make certain that your patient billing remains in compliance with the Board's regulations. While you do have a 30-day grace period in which to make corrections, errors in billing remain a big threat to your professional license.

Types of complaints that fall within the board's jurisdiction

As we have stated before in our blog, you cannot please everyone all the time. Someone can file a complaint against you for even the most minor perceived offense, putting your hard-won nursing license at risk. It is always important to keep nursing license defense in mind if a person complains, but it is also important to understand what kind of complaints fall within the California Board of Registered Nursing's (BRN) jurisdiction.

We want nursing professionals to know that not all filed complaints are handled by the BRN. While any complaint needs your immediate attention, only the most serious ones make it to the BRN. The sections below contain a brief description of three types of nursing complaints that the BRN addresses.

  1. Complaints regarding criminal behaviors such as fraud, theft or violent crimes fall within the BRN's jurisdiction. As you might imagine, any complaints or allegations of this nature require you to take nursing license defense actions right away.
  2. The BRN also handles any complaint alleging incompetence, patient neglect or abuse and other behaviors that might endanger patients. These complaints are just as serious as criminal complaints in that they could endanger your license and lead to criminal charges.
  3. Substance abuse allegations as well as complaints about your mental capacity also require the attention of the BRN. Since these allegations could indicate the possibility of patient harm, the board takes such complaints quite seriously.

Why might California deny your nursing license application?

What a nasty surprise—you were looking forward to starting a career in nursing, only the state of California has denied your application. Or perhaps you have some bumps in your past and wonder if California might deny your application.

Here is a look at some common roadblocks for burgeoning nurses as they seek licensure.

How do you protect your marijuana business license?

Selling or dispensing marijuana in a legal manner is a relatively new arena for professional license defense attorneys, especially regarding recreational marijuana. However, it is a timely topic here in California as well as a viable business venture. As such, it may be time for license defense attorneys to broach the business licensing aspects of marijuana dispensaries.

As you might expect, the best way to protect your marijuana business license is to make sure you remain compliant with the state's cannabis laws. Below you will find a few tips to help you maintain this compliance.

Overcoming issues that puts your nursing license at risk

It seems as if nurses and other medical practitioners in the state of California are losing their licenses at an alarming rate. This can make all nurses worry about protecting their careers. An unfortunate byproduct of this worry is that it can take the joy out of one's work and may even cause them to lose focus while performing employment duties.

To give you a good idea of the fear nurses feel, an article published on All Nurses accumulated page after page of nurse comments describing their worry. Some of these were from brand new nurses but seasoned veterans also describe license loss concerns as well. Obviously, professional medical care providers are not alone in their fear, but the question they most need answered is, what they can do about it.

As a veterinarian, what are some tips for facing a board inquiry?

Like other professionals, you have no doubt worked very hard to acquire and maintain your license to practice veterinary medicine in the state of California. When you learn that someone has filed a complaint against you, it will probably send you into immediate panic mode. For many, learning as much as you can about building a professional license defense is the first thing that comes to mind.

Thinking about ways to defend your license is a good idea. However, it may not be wise to let these thoughts consume your thoughts completely. Remaining clear of mind and focused on the requirements of the inquiry is usually a better approach. Especially if you are confident that you have done nothing wrong. The following tips can help you remain calm and fulfill all of the requirements expected of you.

  • Avoid an aggressive tone: Staying professional and clinical will serve you much better than a defensive or aggressive tone in your responses.
  • Be timely in your responses: Submitting required information or evidence late can be harmful to your case.
  • Provide orderly records: Get your medical records in order and make sure they meet the state's record-keeping requirements.
  • Be collaborative: The state board is not your enemy but is an organization with which you can work to resolve any conflict with your pet patient's owner.

Can bullying result in the loss of your nurse’s license?

You have reason to take pride in your nursing career. You work long hours to take care of patients, coordinate with doctors, console family members and even help to save lives. There is no doubt that your nursing job can be stressful, especially if you have to work with difficult people. If there is bullying or unprofessional behavior present in the workplace, how can it affect you and other California nurses?

Bullying is unfortunately more common in the nursing profession than people might think, as you may be aware. According to the American Nurses Association, it is common knowledge among nurses across the country that there is a hidden culture of bullying and unprofessional attitudes within medical staffs. You may encounter the types of bullying you witnessed in high school, including the following:

  • The senior nurses on staff questioning the abilities and knowledge of newer nurses
  • Hazing or prank-playing among new members of staff
  • Taunting, gossiping and name-calling
  • Sabotage of another nurse’s work, disruptive behavior or physical attacks

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