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The anxiety that comes with losing a nursing license

Despite their countless contributions to the medical industry, nurses are often overlooked, with medical doctors receiving a vast majority of the accolades. Stress is par for the course, with significant numbers of patients to care for and the long hours accompanying it.

Anxiety rises to another level entirely when the aggravation they feel is over the risk of losing their license due to investigations by their governing board. Putting that aside to provide the highest standards of care presents significant challenges.

A trusted profession where some fall short

Nursing is considered to be one of the most trusted professions throughout the nation. Nurses are required to adhere to the highest standards of safety and professional ethics. However, they can fall short of their duties and find themselves investigated for:

  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Patient abuse
  • Fraud
  • Criminal background

Potential punitive measures

State boards as tasked with licensing matters and investigating complaints of mistakes or misconduct. Should they find that a nurse fell short in their duties, a wide range of disciplinary actions can be the result and including the following:

  • Employer reprimands
  • Job termination
  • Civil lawsuit
  • Criminal charges

In some cases, suspension and license revocation are combined with fines, warnings, and mandating a nursing professional to complete professional education as part of their punishment. Two years ago saw more than 18,145 adverse actions against nursing licenses, affecting the careers of nearly 141,000 practice nurses and about 9,000 nurse practitioners.

A small minority of offenders

While the numbers seem significant, the statistics only represent less than one percent of all nursing licenses. The profession can be rewarding and, at the same time, be a thankless job. Maintaining high standards of ethics helps them retain their employment. However, dated perceptions about their actual contribution to the medical industry will likely remain.