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Could stress cause me to lose my nursing license?

Can stress lead to the loss of your nursing license? The question is not a new one, though current circumstances have magnified the problem. Nurses were already often working in hospitals and clinics that were understaffed. Add in a pandemic and an already, at best, difficult working environment became exponentially more stressful.

In addition to navigating the demands of the pandemic in the workplace and on their patients, nurses also had to balance the stress of an increased risk of exposing family and loved ones to the virus as a result of their profession. Could this put their license at risk?

Will stress lead me to lose my license?

This connection between stress and the impact on one’s nursing license is addressed in the book Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses, with an excerpt provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In this piece, researchers find that there are circumstances where stress can have a negative impact on your nursing license. This is possible if stress rises to the level that it impacts your ability to provide quality care to your patients. Stress can lead to drug and alcohol abuse or distraction which could result in an increase in poor patient outcomes, concerns from peers about the safety of patients under your care.

In these situations, stress could trigger an investigation by the licensing board and have a negative impact on your license.

How can I reduce stress in the workplace?

There are proactive steps you can take to help reduce the stress you face in your profession. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend regular exercise, sleep and taking time to connect with loved ones.

It is also important to know that you have options if increased stress results in an investigation by the licensing board. You can build a case to defend the allegations and fight back. This proactive approach can reduce the potential ramifications of the investigation and better ensure you can continue to practice in the profession you love.