Ep 158: How to Protect Your Professional License from Litigation

Although you never go into a patient’s room with the expectation that anything will go wrong, sometimes it does. It’s important for nurses to be prepared in the event that a lawsuit is ever filed against you. Today we’ve invited attorney Nick Dowgul to the show to tell us more about the legal process and what can happen to your nursing license after a lawsuit. There’s a lot to learn and we want to make sure you are able to protect yourself and your career.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

This isn’t something you ever think about when you have a patient under your care, but malpractice lawsuits are a necessary conversation to have in this business. You need to know how best to proceed and protect yourself if you’re ever involved.

On this episode, we’re going to learn as much as we can from attorney Nick Dowgul of North State Law in North Carolina. His specialty is professional licensing and license defense for nurses and he does a lot of work with the North Carolina Board of Nursing. So he’s seen many different cases through his career and he’s sharing some of that experience with us today.

You might not ever expect to be involved in a lawsuit but every CRNA can benefit from knowing how it happens and what you should do if your name is ever included.  

As you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • Why you should acquire your own malpractice insurance coverage.
  • What does a lawsuit mean for your license?
  • How do investigations into claims work and does that stay with an employee’s records?
  • Using your cell phone during care might create a problem.
  • Some common types of cases that he’s seen through his career.
  • One case that stood out to Sharon about failing to adhere to minimum standards.
  • Why you should consider getting a lawyer to represent you in these cases.
  • Understanding how your insurance coverage protects you

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

[3:24] – Background on Nick

[5:19] – Malpractice coverage

[8:50] – Lawsuits impacting your license

[10:46] – How investigations work

[12:06] – Pulling cell phone records of nurses

[16:07] – Examples of cases he’s seen

[21:31] – Where you can find infractions?

[22:14] – Failing to adhere to minimum standards case

[24:14] – Following a doctor’s order

[30:16] – Should you get a lawyer?  

[32:00] – Insurance side of this

[34:14] – How to find someone like Nick

[35:53] – Summarizing the conversation


“I’ve seen that happen a lot where the facility will try to cover their rear end by reporting anybody that they feel might have been at fault or done something wrong to the licensing board.”

– Attorney Nick Dowgul

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