Legal Issues that can Cause you to Lose your Nursing License

Legal Issues and Your Nursing License

Although we would like to believe that every nurse is like Florence Nightingale and has a perfect record to go with their nursing license, with a good, kind heart, filled with loving intentions, it would be a mistake to do so. We live in the real world so we need to face the facts. Every year, state nursing boards revoke dozens, perhaps hundreds of nursing licenses.

Although some nursing license are lost due to non-health care related activities, others are due to the endangering of lives or even worse. You can lose your license easier than you think and it would be good to know just what type of activities can take it away.

Although there are many more ways to lose your nursing license, these are perhaps the top 8.

1. Addiction and not completing rehab

You know how it goes; nurse with some type of pain gets prescribed some codeine but finds that the doctor won’t prescribe more even though she is sure she still feels pain, so she slips a couple into her pocket “just in case”. Then she takes a few more. Before you know it, she’s a full-fledged addict. Although drug abuse alone won’t make you lose your nursing license, they will suspend it until you complete rehab. If you complete rehab and remain clean, your license will be restored but if you continue to abuse drugs or don’t finish the rehab program, you will lose your license.

2. Impersonating another licensed practitioner

You might think that this is rare, but it happens more often than you think. A wannabe nurse who fails too many tests or has a felony conviction, or has had their license revoked, simply uses identity theft to continue working. Sometimes employers don’t find out about this for years!
3. Diversion of drugs

Slipping yourself a few drugs now and then is bad enough, but if you should get caught pilfering drugs to sell, not only will you lose your nursing license; you will face a lengthy jail sentence.

Your Nursing License

More Legal Issues and Your Nursing License

4. Supplying a false nursing license

Yep, people do do this! Nurses with suspended licenses sometimes give an employer a fake one. Their reasoning is that once their suspension has expired, it won’t matter. It does matter, however, especially if your employer finds out. Your license will be yanked for good, or, if you never had one, you will never be able to apply for one, EVER.
5. Falsifying patient records

You might think that it’s OK to give your patient a little bit more morphine to help them get through a tough night or that you were just too tired to complete your patient’s record. No matter the reason, falsifying a patient record is grounds for losing your nursing license.

6. Unprofessional conduct

This is a very broad term that allows the state nursing board to remove your nursing license for anything from using excessive profanity to having an affair with a superior. It’s vital to maintain a level of professionalism at all times or you might be out of a job.

7. Hosting a porno website

This happens more often than you think! One case from 2009 involved a nurse from Pennsylvania lost her license because she hosted her own “private” porno website. Now this could also fall under unprofessional conduct, don’t be surprised that this gets expanded to your Facebook page, Twitter page, or Instagram photo page.

8. Patient abuse and neglect

This happens more often than we’d like to admit. Neglect and abuse of patients sometimes happen intentionally, other times; it’s simply due to a simple mistake. Patient abuse or neglect will hurt more than just the patient. The patient‘s friends and family suffer as well, making a terrible offense even worse.

Most times this is simply a case of forgetfulness in the case of an overworked nurse, but it doesn’t change the fact that the damage is done and it can quickly result in the loss of your nursing license.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ask A Nurse A Question


Your question has been sent!

Do you have a question about a career in nursing? Maybe a question about a specific field or even taking the NCLEX? Ask Andrea our Registered Nurse who has worked in many nursing fields over her career.

Name *
Email *
URL (include http://)
Subject *
Question *
* Required Field