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For better or worse, nurses live in a fishbowl

The saying about living in a fishbowl holds true for nurses. Those who are in this profession will often find that the public often view them from all sides, taking both their personal and professional lives into account when seeking care.

In some cases, this will have a positive impact. Recent examples include a registered nurse (RN) out of Pennsylvania who completed the Boston Marathon while wearing her scrubs to draw attention to nurses’ well-being and mental health. There are multiple examples of nurses helping those in Ukraine, with one repeatedly traveling to Ukraine to provide medical care for patients hurt in rocket attacks.

The public is not the only group watching a nurse’s personal and professional life. The state nursing board also takes note and, in some situations, may investigate. The board of nursing will generally receive a complaint from another who is concerned that the nurse’s professional actions or behavior put a patient at risk for harm. Others may file a complaint with the board if they are concerned that a nurse is struggling with substance abuse or a physical or mental condition. Examples that may trigger an investigation include actions that could lead to criminal charges like drunk driving or even allegations of tax crimes.

Anyone can file a complaint. A coworker. A patient. Even a patient’s family member.

Those who receive notification of an investigation do not have to go through the process alone. You worked years to get your nursing license, do not let it slip away. You can fight back. You have an opportunity to respond or defend yourself against these allegations. An attorney experienced in nurse license issues can help you fight to keep your license.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication