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When a nursing license is under threat

Every profession has unique qualifications. For health care workers, a state license is unequivocally essential. But, for several reasons, a physician or nurse may have to defend their license at some point. This is a highly stressful situation, as the threat of license suspension or revocation could mean the end of a career.

There are four types of nurses in New York state: Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Professional Nurses (RNs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSes). While the job description varies for each title, proper licensure is a universal requirement. Nursing is a highly visible profession, which can lead to unjust allegations.

What actions cause licensing problems?

There are many potential reasons a nurse may need to defend licensure, including claims of:

  • Falsifying orders
  • Documentation errors
  • Theft or abuse of controlled substances
  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Criminal conviction
  • And more

How can I defend my career?

The examples above are only the tip of the iceberg. Any claim features a larger case that will have additional, more specific allegations — it may be related to a single incident or an ongoing pattern. Any allegation is serious, but everyone has the right to defend their case. Claims may be inaccurate, a misunderstanding or vindictive.

Furthermore, they may not violate the Board’s expectations. Terminology such as “professional misconduct” is broad and may refer to interactions between colleagues, patients, or even a nurse’s personal life outside of work. In a similar respect, while a criminal conviction will certainly point a spotlight on a nurse’s private life, a conviction alone does not result in automatic license suspension. The type and number of convictions is relevant to the resolution process.

License defense and looking at the big picture

No case is open-and-shut, and all nurses deserve to have their stories fully heard. Health care is a highly regulated, fast-paced and, often, chaotic profession. It is an environment where a single mistake or misunderstanding can have serious consequences. Similarly, there is a distinct line that needs to be crossed from allegation to proof and ultimately to professional misconduct.


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