Common ways in which a Pennsylvania nurse can lose his or her license

Becoming a licensed nurse in Pennsylvania is certainly not an easy task. Not only must prospective nurses obtain the necessary education but they must also pass a state-administered examination and demonstrate that they are of "good moral character" before they will be permitted to legally practice nursing within the state.

Given the long ― and often arduous ― process of becoming a fully licensed nurse in Pennsylvania, it is no wonder why nurses take such pride in their jobs. Indeed, for many, nursing is not only a profession but also a calling.

However, Pennsylvania nurses need to remember that even after all of their hard work in obtaining their licenses is complete, the State Board of Nursing may consider revoking such licensure for several reasons. These reasons include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Drugs or Alcohol Abuse: When a nurse's addiction to drugs or alcohol affects his or her ability to practice nursing, his or her license may be in jeopardy. However, nurses suffering from addiction do have options available to them in which they still may be able to keep their licenses, including the Pennsylvania Nurse Peer Assistance Program (PNAP).
  • Diversion of Drugs: A nurse cannot divert drugs from a patient to another person or to himself or herself. In fact, Pennsylvania regulations expressly state that a registered nurse may not "misappropriate […] drugs […] from an employer or patient."
  • Unprofessional Conduct: Interestingly, Pennsylvania does not define exactly what is considered "unprofessional conduct" under the law, but it does say that it includes any departure from, or failing to conform to, any ethical or quality standard of the profession.
  • Patient Abuse or Neglect: Although this may seem like an obvious reason to revoke a nurse's license, regulations in Pennsylvania nevertheless state that a nurse cannot abandon a patient in care or repeatedly engage in the negligent or incompetent practice of nursing.
  • Fraud or Deceit: The Board may revoke a nurse's license if he or she has committed fraud or deceit in the practice of nursing. This can include the falsification of patient records as well as allowing another individual to use his or her nursing license.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these are merely a few of the possible reasons that a nurse may lose his or her license. In fact, there are several additional state laws and regulations that govern nursing licensure in Pennsylvania ― laws that a Pennsylvania nurse needs to be aware of if ever accused of wrongdoing that puts his or her license at risk.

Legal assistance may be needed

Ultimately, if accused of wrongdoing, a nurse needs to ensure he or she does everything possible to protect him or herself. After all, the loss of a nursing license not only means an individual may lose his or her job but also his or her career. Accordingly, if you now find yourself subject to an administrative nursing investigation, you need to consult with an experienced nursing license defense attorney as soon as possible.