You may feel that your nursing license is secure. You come to work prepared for your duties. You may do your job well and keep thorough records. However, your clientele is typically people who are not feeling well and may not be thinking rationally. Depending on your area of specialty, you may have patients who don't survive their stay with you, and their family members may look for someone to blame.
Additionally, your job is demanding. You likely work long hours and have to make split-second decisions when life is in the balance. Nurses are frequently under a microscope. Because of this, every nurse is at risk of license suspension.
Common reasons why your license may be at risk
Nursing boards suspend thousands of nursing licenses a year and revoke thousands more. Many of these nurses are shocked when it happens to them because, like you, they believe they are doing the right thing. However, a nursing board may take extreme actions against a nurse whom they perceive to be a danger to patients or to the integrity of the nursing profession.
Some ways in which you may unintentionally place your career at risk include the following:
- You perform some action that doesn't feel right to you, but your supervisor or a trusted colleague asks you to do it. This may include altering patient records or administering questionable medications.
- You behave unprofessionally off the clock, including public intoxication or committing illegal acts. Because nursing boards are concerned with the public perception of the profession, nursing advocates recommend that you don't wear your scrubs when you aren't at work.
- You post details about your job on social media. Even if you intend to present it in a positive light or to request good thoughts for a particular patient, you may be violating confidentiality and privacy laws.
Whether you work in a private doctor's office, nursing home, Pennsylvania hospital or in some other capacity, you likely chose this profession because you care about people. You take your job seriously and may feel that you do everything to secure your career. Nevertheless, there may be a moment of poor judgement or bad decision-making that can jeopardize your job.
If someone does file a complaint with the board, and you receive notice of a disciplinary hearing, you would be wise to avoid talking about the situation to anyone except an attorney. It is possible that investigators will interview even your closest co-workers about the accusation, and you want to have the best opportunity to present a positive defense.