More on how to “pass” (or fail) your licensing Board interview

Whether you are being investigated by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN), the Oregon Medical Board (OMB), or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), your success during your interview is key to the successful resolution of the investigation. Today I will share with you the experience of three clients – a nurse, a physician, and a dentist – all of whom went to interview within a 14-day span this month. Two passed. One failed. Let my tell you why.

The nurse and the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN)

Earlier this year I undertook the representation of a well-qualified and experienced nurse under investigation by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN). She went to interview this month. At one hour and 45 minutes, her interview was long, and seemed longer with four of us in a room that was too small and too hot. The interview was led by the OSBN nurse investigator and assisted by an OSBN advanced practice nurse, with my client the focus of attention.

The first hour of the interview was necessary to get at the core issues in this unusually complex case. The OSBN’s investigator and advanced practice nurse were well prepared (aren’t they always?). My client was also well prepared, however.

As we passed through the first hour of the interview, I was impressed by the depth of the discussion and by my client’s answers. I privately marveled at how few members of the public will ever appreciate how carefully the practice of nursing is regulated in Oregon. My client was subjected to questions for an hour and 45 minutes, by two investigators, and her interview had the tone of a thoughtful discussion. She passed the test. The case isn’t over, but my client did a stellar job, and representing her that day was professionally rewarding.

The dentist and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

I also prepared a dentist for an interview this month before the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In this case, the dentist sought reinstatement of his DEA Registration, earlier surrendered.

In a December 7, 2015 post, I explained that in the right circumstances, reinstatement of a surrendered or revoked DEA Registration is possible. These can be tough interviews, however, because in cases where a DEA Registration has been surrendered or revoked, there are usually a few “sensitive” issues. Also, the interviews are conducted by DEA Drug Diversion Agents and, in my experience, there are always two of them.

This interview was nonetheless a success. By the end of the interview, my client was advised he would have his DEA Registration back in four to six weeks, with a few temporary, common sense restrictions, but nothing that will interfere with his practice. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The physician and the Oregon Medical Board (OMB)

In the same 14-day span this month, I was hired by a physician but, unfortunately, her interview occurred the week before I was hired, and she went alone, unprepared, and unrepresented. She failed. Let’s consider what my client was up against. By the time of her interview at the Oregon Medical Board, the Board’s investigator, the Board’s Investigative Committee’s (IC), and the Board’s expert, had all finished their work. Counting the Board’s investigator, the Board’s expert, and the four members of the Investigative Committee, six people were prepared to interview my client. If you find yourself facing a Board interview, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have you done to prepare?
  • Who has given you legal advice?
  • Who has prepared you?

If you cannot answer these simple questions in a reassuring manner (without rationalizations or excuses), you are not ready for your interview. As I have said many times before, an interview with your licensing Board is no place to show up and see what happens.

The moral of the story

In this case, there is little doubt in my mind that this physician should have passed her interview, had she been ready. But she wasn’t ready. Don’t let this happen to you. An experienced healthcare defense attorney will help you prepare for your interview.