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How many nurses lose their licenses?

As a nurse, you likely have moments of concern throughout your day: concerns for your patients, for your own health and safety, and for the well-being of your community. Perhaps worries about the security of your job cross your mind from time to time as well, especially during times of budget cuts or administrative changes. Recently, however, you may be wondering about what would happen if the nursing board suspends or revokes your nursing license.

These things don't happen frequently, but when they do, they often mean a dedicated health care provider must look for work in another field. You may be especially concerned about losing your license if you have recently learned that someone has filed a complaint against you. It may help to understand the most common ways nurses lose their licenses.

Leave it alone

A growing problem among nurses is diversion, or the taking of medications that should go to patients. This occurs when nurses have substance abuse issues or are in financial trouble, so they sell the drugs to make money. The most common drugs associated with diversion include:

  • Narcotics
  • Anxiety medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-psychotics

To avoid this violation, which may also carry criminal penalties, nursing advocates recommend you seek help for your substance abuse issues before resorting to taking drugs from the medication room.

Breaching privacy laws is another way in which you may place your nursing license at risk. Federal laws protect patient confidentiality, so nurses who post pictures or private information about their patients on Facebook, or talk to the press about patients under their care break the trust that is so vital between patients and health care professionals. Even chatting with your neighbors or friends about the personal details of your patients may spiral into issues that could jeopardize your career.

A critical mistake

Many nurses face disciplinary action because of accusations of negligence. Failing to perform your duties with the highest standard of care may result in mistakes that place patients at risk. Nursing disciplinary boards exist to protect patients from nurses who may harm them, so the board is certain to look closely at you if someone has accused you of negligence.

Another mistake may be trying to deal with this situation on your own without the guidance of an attorney. While you may feel you can get through the administrative hearing if you just plead your case, you may not want to take that chance with so much at stake. An attorney with experience defending Florida professionals before their disciplinary boards can offer advocacy that will provide you with a decided advantage.

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