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How to protect your nursing license from disputes

Nursing is a challenging, exhausting and often thankless job. Nevertheless, you chose this profession because of the intangible rewards. While many days include long hours on your feet, ungrateful patients and demanding doctors, you probably go home satisfied that you are making a difference in a noble profession.

Because you work closely with people, and their physical care is often in your hands, you are also under close scrutiny. You may not even be aware of how easily you may lose your professional license for an honest mistake or misunderstanding.

Risks you may not know you are taking

In one calendar year, licensing boards suspended about 5,000 nurses and revoked the licenses of over 2,000. Many of these professionals did not even realize they were doing something wrong until they received notice that the board was investigating. Some common behaviors may get nurses into trouble that could end their careers:

  • Helping out: If you hope to make a good impression, you may be tempted to step in where you are not qualified or properly trained.
  • Going out in public in your scrubs: Even if you are off duty, people are judging your behavior.
  • Obeying orders: This is typically a good decision but may bring sanctions if someone asks you to do something that is unethical or risky.
  • Using social media: Everyone likes to blow off steam, but posting personal details or pictures of your patients or revealing any private activities that are illegal or inappropriate could bring trouble.
  • Handling it yourself: If the Board of Nursing notifies you of a complaint, professional legal advice may better prepare you for communicating with those authorities.

You may think that your license is safe as long as you are not stealing drugs or battling an addiction. After spending so much time and money earning your license, you may be surprised to realize how easily you can jeopardize it.

Holding on to what you cherish

If you love your job as a nurse, you probably don't want to take a chance that your career will come to an end through a misunderstanding or lapse in judgement. Because of this, if you hear even a rumor that a complaint of professional misconduct is pending before the Minnesota Board of Nursing, you may feel unsure of what to do.

Even if the Board has not officially sanctioned you, you may wish to consult an attorney for advice on how best to proceed. A lawyer can also handle your appeal if the Board has already taken steps against you. The right lawyer for you will have years of experience defending professionals and working with administrative boards.

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