Like other licensed health professionals, nurses are subject to oversight by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. The Bureau has 29 professional licensing boards, commissions or other entity forms with the authority to suspend or take other disciplinary actions against licensed workers. For nurses, the entity is the PA Board of Nursing.
The Bureau publishes its monthly disciplinary actions online. In terms of quantity, the Board of Nursing topped the list in March 2017. For each listed disciplinary action, the description includes the professional’s name and address, license number, the basis for the disciplinary action, and the specific sanction imposed.
The list is illustrative of some of the repercussions that might affect nurses. The offenses included alleged elder abuse, alcohol or drug dependency, felony convictions, or violating a previous board order, or grave instances of malpractice. Of those, the most common issue was drug or alcohol abuse.
As a general rule, most licensing boards believe that the standard of professional nursing care cannot be met when drugs or alcohol impair a professional’s abilities. For that reason, substance abuse and addiction is almost a surefire way to threaten one’s professional license and standing.
Our law firm understands that health professionals can be under great stress, whether those demands are from work, personal matters or a combination of factors. We work hard to holistically help our clients, protecting not only their professional or occupational license, but also overcoming their addiction issues. Over the years, we have formed a network of addiction counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists where we refer our clients. Together, we help our clients not only protect their jobs, but also move forward with their lives.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, “Disciplinary Actions,” March 2017