You are here:-, Nursing careers and jobs-I had disciplinary action taken against my license in the past year. How can I present my experience and positive changes in my personal life to potential employers?

I had disciplinary action taken against my license in the past year. How can I present my experience and positive changes in my personal life to potential employers?

Question:

Dear Donna,

For five years, I have been a skilled and experienced nurse. I had disciplinary action taken against my license in the past year, because of some poor choices and charting errors, made 18 months before in another state. The Arizona state board of nursing contacted me when the complaint reached them. In the meantime I had moved, became employed and was working successfully in critical care areas of nursing. I was offered an option to enter into my state’s Chemically Addicted Nurses Diversion Option program. The complaint was based on accusations from a facility in another state. I had researched some RN blogs, and it became apparent it was best to enter the program, rather than try to fight the investigation the state board would have undertaken.

Once in the program I struggled financially, had multiple obstacles at finding employment in or out of nursing and was faced with eviction and car repossession. I made a desperate decision to return to registry nursing, taking shifts so I could feed my family and keep a roof over my head. I’ve learned an expensive and valuable lesson. It was discovered by the board I was employed in an aspect of nursing that I was restricted from working in at the time. My actions were reviewed by members of the state board, and it was determined I was to be placed on a monitoring program, which would last another 36 months. Instead of being revoked, my license was suspended for 12 months and I now am seeking work in the field of nursing. I am finding it difficult to convince potential employers to give me a chance to prove that I am not an addict and am an honest and ethical RN.

How do I approach the interview process and successfully become employed when faced with questions such as “why was your license suspended?” and “if there was sketchy proof regarding the facility that placed the complaint against your license, why didn’t you fight it with a lawyer?” How can I present my experience and positive changes in my personal life that makes me worth taking a chance on?

Desperately Seeking Employment

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Desperately Seeking Employment,

You case is clearly complex. If I were you I would consult a nurse attorney to be sure you are on the right track. Some nurses think that consulting an attorney is an admission of guilt, but it is not. Often It is the best way to protect your interests when your license, your reputation and your livelihood are at stake. Find a nurse attorney through a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) and The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (www.taana.org).

Also, I suggest you find a nurse career coach who has experience helping nurses with challenges in their work history to help you overcome those obstacles. You will have to learn and practice the delicate art of discussing your past and focusing on your strengths, selling yourself and overcoming objections. Because you will need to rely heavily on person-to-person networking, you also will need to learn how to do this properly and to your best advantage. Most people don’t understand the power of networking or how to use it to find a job, especially in challenging circumstances. Find a nurse career coach by asking around, doing an Internet search, or getting a referral from the International Coach Federation (www.coachfederation.org).

In the interim, look for volunteer work in a healthcare setting, such as a public health department, free clinic or the American Red Cross. This is a good way to stay connected while you seek employment, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Best wishes,
Donna

By | 2013-04-16T00:00:00+00:00 April 16th, 2013|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|18 Comments

About the Author:

Avatar

18 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Michelle March 21, 2017 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Hello nurses,
    We have a group for Nurses facing disciplinary action by the board of nursing & support group for nurses in recovery. The BON is completely out of control. It’s a sad abuse of power from unelected officials who answer to no one and relish in destroying nurses’ lives. Setting us up for failure with ridiculous stipulations scarring of our nursing licenses, charging exorbitant fees for drug screens and reporting our private activities all over the internet. They proudly call themselves the “nurse police.”

    This has to stop and NONE of us can do it alone. We have to unite to be successful. Join the private group today and help us stop these nutcases who sit around making regulations that ruin lives. We have also made the group hidden as well as private now. You must have an invitation to join. Please follow this link and follow the directions to join the group http://www.nurseboards.com/nurses-in-recovery/ We’ll see you there. It’s time to fight back

  2. Avatar
    CJH April 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    The nursing board is out of their minds! Period! They post your discipline, and court records — if any — on the internet for 10 years; in some states for LIFE!

    Good luck ever finding a job doing anything. And you don’t have to be ‘incompetent’ in your field — all you have to do is get a DUI, in YOUR ‘personal’ time, and not report it to the BON (even though they run a background check every year to renew license, and charge YOU for it, they expect you to tell on yourself). America is losing it’s mind and the BON and Law Enforcement are leading the charge. Nobody needs evidence any more to destroy a life.

  3. Avatar
    Nursey April 14, 2018 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I have found that some boards are way worse than others. I will tell you that you do not have to do anything wrong to be investigated by the AZ BON. ! the investigation turns out to be a witch hunt. Contacting ex spouses ! to neighbors Very strange . NO law breaking, no violation of any nursing practice . If these nazis warriors want to use the tax payers money under the false pretense “protect the public ” !! A joke !
    We need lobbyists for the BON to turn around the crazy bills they have passed and stop the mental abuse .
    From ordering skills evals they know NO ONE HAS PASSED , to ordering psych evals which will put a nurse on ‘counseling” the cure all , which equals probation ! They are out of their minds !

  4. Avatar
    Irritated July 16, 2018 at 7:22 am - Reply

    …”accusations from a facility in another state” just out-of-the blue, and baseless? Wow, people must really have it out for you. Simply put, certain behavior and decisions even off-the-clock form a psychological profile. The rationale is this: if you are reckless (DUI, drugs, etc.) when not at work, what would stop you from engaging in those behaviors at work? Whatever mega healthcare conglomerate you work for doesn’t care, neither does the Board. You become a huge liability. Personally, I wouldn’t want an addict or a drunk stitching me up. Who would? Stop playing the victim, figure out your own baggage, and then come back to the health care field. No wonder I hate hospitals– gallows humor, takes 12 hours to do anything, and this– totally entitled messed-up staff.

    • Avatar
      Nunya September 22, 2018 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      Your arrogance- and the arrogance of MILLIONS of Americans- is the reason we have become the pit of hypocrisy that we’ve become. You DO know, or I suspect you SHOULD, most people don’t get caught breaking the law. I hate to say this- makes me look like a distrustful cynic. But I know enough about the world around me, and have seen too much to take any other position. I knew an extremely addicted meth head- the biggest drug addict I had ever known- who is now a Paramedic. He is quite possibly saving lives right now. He had sex w/ strangers in the woods. He threw a full Big Gulp at a woman driving down Main Street- in a small town we lived in. I caught shoplifters, and he’d steal from the store to see if I’d go after him. Too many Americans think that people can’t ‘compartmentalize’. They CAN! This ALL OR NOTHING way of thinking hurts us more than it helps us; and makes martyrs out of those who aren’t ‘sneaky’ enough. Just because people don’t have a criminal record, doesn’t mean they are good people- or competent. Sneaky maybe. Look at the people in control right now. So- sleep well, with your judgments and naivete. We’re HUMAN- every single one of us. Including you! And if you’re telling me you’ve never broken a law, I am telling you MR/MS Irritated- you are a liar!!

      • Avatar
        W May 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm - Reply

        Awesome comment and so painfully true!

  5. Avatar
    JMWilliams July 30, 2018 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Actually THAT is NOT true. Having a personal problem, off the clock, does not equate to being incompetant on-the-job! I had a “friend” who received a deferred prosecution (drug court) @ 18. It was a felony drug possession for meth. He was able to have it expunged. He continued to use for years afterwards – while practicing healthcare. He is now a Paramedic. It’s just a way to reward ‘good’ boys and girls. That is all! Some of us, like me, had my license for 15 years- w/ out 1 complaint against my license. But I did have a record. Weird huh?! This is a ‘Scarlet Letter’- that is all.

    • Avatar
      W May 18, 2019 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      Yes it is! The person who posted that blog was absolutely right! So your “friend” had a bad moment in their life, what about the people who worked hard in their life, made a mistake (as your friend did) and never got a second chance? As the blogger stated “This all or nothing thinking is hurting people.” If we continue down this path then people like “your friend” do not have a chance in HELL going forward. Wake up!

  6. Avatar
    Anna G September 24, 2018 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I don’t know who advised you to enter the rehab program, but that was a huge mistake. The BON paints the rehab as the lesser of all evils and that MANY nurses complete the program successfully and return to work. Most of the time that is FALSE!!!! In no other profession is one’s “rehab” public knowledge. HIPPA and all!! But for a nurse, it’s all out there and now you’re tagged with it. My best advice is to be up front with potential employers. Tell them the story from the beginning and how REHAB was presented to you as the best case scenario. Now, just like on a resume, we all embellish a little, but we don’t lie. So tell your story without lying, but omit some minor details that could make you look bad and touch on the details that got you a raw deal (without saying that directly. Be subtle with that and leave room for interpretation). You do not want to badmouth the BON or former employer) . You want to take responsibility and yet present “doubt” in the sense that your actions that led to disciplinary action were debatable. (You imply this.
    You don’t say it directly). Prepare your “story” and stick to it. Don’t overshare details. You are controlling the narrative. It happened to you. Emphasize how you were an outstanding RN for years w/o incident until, unbeknownst to you, you made “A” documentation error and you weren’t given the chance to give an informed explanation. (I am aware that if the BON presents you with documentation “copies”, the patient’s name is redacted and yet they expect you to EXPLAIN when you don’t know the patient’s name and the date has been some time in the past. Again, if faced with that, NEVER comment or “suppose” because you DONT know!!!! They want you to speculate because they use your speculation against you as a lie. They know the patient’s name and the situation but when you see the document the patient’s name and other info has been redacted. In any case. When the BON calls you in, you will not leave without discipline. It’s disgusting that they even bother to meet with you.
    So back to trying to find employment, my suggestions of edited frankness,
    Coupled with genuine remorse and a touch of remaining “shock” and disappointment (how this documentation error) snowballed will only be successful if you ARE CLEAN! NO FAILED drug screenings, meeting all requirements ON TIME etc etc. You tell them what remains of your disciplinary action (how much longer and what is involved) and you sincerely tell them that you want to move forward because you love nursing and want to prove that you are ethical, compassionate AND that this experience, although horrible has made you a more conscientious nurse.
    DO NOT complain of your hardships and again do not speak poorly of anyone. After explaining, simply ask for a chance to show them your worth.
    Side note: Home health care could be your best option at this time (until
    you have completed all BON requirements). It doesn’t pay as well and can be boring, but it’s a job and a stepping stone. Stick with them for several months after you’ve completed the BON stuff, out of loyalty and gratitude. Then. You can apply for hospital jobs that are of interest to you. A hospital MAY ask you about prior disciplinary action, but at that time. I believe it would be safe to SERIOUSLY ABBREVIATE what led to the discipline and the discipline itself. I am not sure. but I believe the BON documents the issue and the discipline. The details are in your BON file,
    but I do not believe an employer has access to those details. Unless they ask specifics, do not offer details. Also. Remember that you will have a positive reference from the employer (assuming Home health) whom you are leaving. Of course discuss how interesting cases were and how you learned a different field of nursing. Etc etc. But now, you are looking for a more challenging specialty. Again, you must adhere to the BON requirements without fail. You are proving yourself. No failed or missed drug screenings and submit EVERYTHING on time. Good Luck and hang in there. You will feel embarrassed, even humiliated, but you grin and bare it. Your coworkers will know nothing about discipline (unless they have nothing better to do than check your name w the BON). No negativity. Present only positivity and above all PROFESSIONALISM!’ Be careful with words and sentence structure. Presenting yourself with eloquence, confidence but also humility is a must. You are doing public relations for yourself. Again, give as little info as possible without seeming as
    If you are hiding things. Let them ask specific questions, don’t volunteer info Try to minimize the negatives and accentuate all positives. Make lemonade out of lemons. You must be prepared with your version and never waiver from your version. Anticipate questions that may arise and be prepared with brief but truthful responses. Control the flow. Be your own advocate. Don’t lie ever, but you can minimize to an extent. Good Luck

  7. Avatar
    Michael March 13, 2019 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I was a licensed addiction counselor in Arizona. You want to talk about Nazi Germany these people subpoenaed my phone records on an allegation of relationship with a patient. I was forced to pay $3,000 to sit for an hour with an addictionologist and have a hair follicle test done which I passed. All because of a supervisor who I did not get along with after I quit ultimately went from an informal hearing to a formal hearing to a revoked license to a report to a national board so anytime I try to find employment it shows up as a complaint by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health which then guides that employer to that site to Read All About It. Here I sit desperate for work on a false accusation. In the top it off the board simulator saying that they want $6,000 for me. What is this a joke. Round one I signed an interim consent agreement whatever that is my license came up for Renewal I paid 350 to renew a suspended license. I asked for that money back and I was a big no. I filed multiple complaints the Attorney General’s office and Better Business Bureau to no avail who polices these people what the hell can I do I’m just lost please someone help me.

    • Avatar
      W May 18, 2019 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Michael:
      I am so sorry! Yes Arizona is brutal and terrible. I pray everything works out for you. We must do something in this state as the systems here are brutal and unforgiving as well as accusatory.

  8. Avatar
    Elena March 18, 2019 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Michael, get a lawyer. I’m not a nurse but a psychologist with the BOP wanting to chop my head off for not having enough records. You need to fight for yourself (if you can afford it).

  9. Avatar
    Sharon Katie Smith April 13, 2019 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I will not name the State Board, because I know that they follow these blogs. If they follow my IP, it’s not in the state where I am now. I was not guilty and it wasn’t criminal, but the State Board made my life so miserable that I just dumped the whole thing. I wouldn’t work at a licensed position again, it’s too dangerous. All it takes is one person who doesn’t like you – only one – and a bogus complaint can be filed with the State Board, and the Board will run with it. That’s what happened to me. The whole thing is that the State Board doesn’t want to be wrong or lose one case because they are funded, they have to keep up their numbers to get the funding and they don’t care who they destroy. They are the same as prosecutors!

    I was warned by the outgoing Attorney General, who called me one day to say that she would seal my case but I wanted to fight and she said that if I did I would lose. She was right. She said that unless I had more money and more pull than the State Board does, I would not win. I really don’t believe that sealing my case would have protected me for future employment. I always wondered why the Attorney General called me with that idea, but by the time I figured out that she was right, she was gone. She must have been quitting her job.

    So, with only $6.00 in my pocket, on welfare with a little boy to take care of alone, I signed their papers but then things got worse, they wanted me to move back to the state to work, they did not want to do interstate agreements. The state that I lived in at the time acted like they would help me, but then I got to thinking – with all of this over nothing that I had done then who is to say that if I was working out there someone would pick up on the “discipline”, and my State Board past and use that to give me bottom of the barrel work assignments, and accuse me of all sorts of things? I was really done with nursing by that time.

    So, my decision was to just dump the whole thing and I worked at other work ever since. At one time I made more money than I did as a nurse but now I’m retired. I say that those who hurt others will eventually be enveloped into their own Karma, what goes around comes around. Unfortunately, we never see it but, about Karma, I believe!

    • Avatar
      K May 18, 2019 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      God bless you as I did the same! Just retired the damn thing. They are unmerciful, mean and need to be investigated.

  10. Avatar
    Anju Prasad May 18, 2019 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    What is usually Board decision on boundary violation

  11. Avatar
    K May 18, 2019 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    I read these posts and I agree 100%, the Arizona State Board of Nursing is completely out of control! Peoples lives are destroyed by this organization and time after time professional nurses have reached out to the politicians, governor etc and their cry has fallen on deaf ears. There is no due process which is a civil rights violation and so many other issues. If you can, get out! Anyone, I mean anyone can file a complaint on you and with this world becoming so evil, self righteous and unmerciful its best not to do public service. Wake up people and look around to what is happening! Even if a nurse self reports they still crucify you. But as Jesus said, “if they judge you, remember they judged me first.” The American Nurses Association does nothing to advocate for nurses either, its pathetic and sad. With only 91,000 licensed nurses in Arizona and the number is dwindling, no wonder there are so many nursing jobs available. Don’t go into nursing, the ones who currently run it are ruthless and unforgiving.

  12. Avatar
    Marlene1972 June 26, 2019 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I was a new LPN nurse that made a documentation error in 2012 with that being said I had no idea of what the OBN was capable of doing I didnt know I needed a lawyer figured I didnt anything wrong boy was I wrong! The OBN snatched my license for 2yr in 2016 hit me with random drug screens ranging from 82.00 to 122.00 required me to complete a 12step program that I ended up paying for out of pocket because they couldn’t come up with a diagnosis. I don’t drink or smoke I’ve never taken any narcotics. Ive been drug screened now for the past 2 yrs not one negative result urine or hair follicle. I recently was reinstated they gave me my license back but the restrictions are overwhelming. OBN is now requiring me to complete a 2yr probationary period along with a 2 yr narcotic restriction that’s ridiculous! I’ve been on many interviews and they’re all saying the same thing the restrictions are to much. I just feel like they have set me up for failure I’m still required to check in daily at the lab at my expense for another 2yrs I’m about ready to walk away from nursing. Nobody is perfect everybody makes mistakes that’s life. I just wish the OBN would have some level of compassion and understand how they’re ruining people’s lives! Does anyone have any advice?

  13. Avatar
    A July 18, 2019 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    I was a nurse for 20 years, went to ER for my last 12. A manager came in and made our lives HELL. 12 high seniority nurses all left mysteriously over 3 months. I was made to be charge nurse of this trauma center and did not want to do it. Management refused to let me call the police over violence to my staff…..I didnt listen and called every time one of my staff was assaulted. I got suspended for smoking in my car. (everyone does it) I got suspended for 2 month expired ACLS ( We have new grads working for at least a year without ACLS) I was accused of diverting drugs, did a drug test that showed a drug i had a expired prescription for but didnt take in my urine but not the medications I actually take daily but they never asked me about. I was in the process of finishing a class for a new career and have been doing that now for a few years. I charted every drug in narrative charting but they never looked at that….. if I am in charge of this ER the last thing im going to do is run around and pass meds for other nurses, have my own assignment, run and waste if a trauma arrives or be a slave to the damn Pixes machine. My time was precious and I didnt comply with certain policies and admit that. I now have to admit to being a addict when Im not in order to return to nursing. Oh and because this is all pubic records a ex decided to call the newspaper during a custody fight and publish it all!! I made mistakes, hated being charge nurse, I stood up, kept safe and busting my butt for their staff. My being fired has nothing to do with my patient care or how much I loved helping people and saving lives!!

Leave A Comment