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What can a nurse do to change the reprimand status on her nursing license so she can work as a nurse again?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

I have been unable to get a job as an LPN for almost two years due to a prior reprimand in 2008 for a medication/documentation error. I complied with the board of nursing requirements, paid a fine and completed 16 hours of continuing education. What can I do to change the reprimand status and be able to be a nurse again?

Agatha

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Agatha,

The collateral impacts of a discipline by a board of nursing are numerous and your difficulty in getting a job may be one of them. Unfortunately, many employers view a discipline, however minor, as a restriction of the license and therefore will not hire the potential employee, sometimes years after the discipline has been imposed. Although not a fair outcome, it is a common one.

You may be able to expunge the discipline from the public record the board of nursing maintains for discipline of nurses. Many boards have links on their website to disciplines by the month and year the discipline was imposed, along with a short description of what the nurse was disciplined for. If your state board of nursing has decided to expunge listings that are a certain number of years old, you should seek advice and help from a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state to get your listing removed from the state board’s website.

Keep in mind, though, the discipline by the board of nursing may be reported to other agencies or data banks to which the public has access. If, for example, you are disciplined in more than one state, the other state may take action against you as well. This state may not have a process for expungement so the information remains available to the public, including potential employers,
to access.

Likewise, if the discipline was the result of a professional negligence suit and a verdict required the nurse licensee who had professional liability insurance to pay an amount to the injured patient, or the lawsuit was settled with a monetary amount to the patient, the event would be reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Data Bank. Although the public does not have access to this information, healthcare employers do.

You can read more about the collateral effects of being disciplined by a board of nursing in the article by Porter and Mackay, “Collateral Damage to Encumbered Nursing Licenses,” Vol. 15, No. 2, Journal of Nursing Law, pages 45-50.

Remember, that there are employers out there who are willing to give nurse licensees a second chance despite their discipline by a board of nursing. It does take time to find the right fit. Hopefully you will find an employer who sees you as a good candidate for its job opening and you see the employer as a viable place to work.

Regards,
Nancy

By | 2014-05-07T00:00:00+00:00 May 7th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|20 Comments

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20 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Jennifer April 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I was working in another state as an RN in a hospital setting for around 8 months had three or four evaluations all in which were great. One day i was asked to give report to another nurse and come with my manager. I was then drug tested and brought to her office and questioned about mistakes i had made with administering medications. I was shocked, besides myself and after 15 years as an RN totally humiliated. i couldnt not explain what happened and why some meds administered didnt habe the correct dose given at the time but i KNOW for sure that I ALWAYS gave the amount taken out for each patient, Why when two were removed it only showed one given?? I never would think of doing anything illegal such at take patients meds, but i again couldnt explain what happened.
    They told me if the drug test came back negative i would return to work on Monday. Monday came and they asked me to go to the human resourse department for further talk. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing and when i went they said my drug test was negative but……. Then asked me were were the meds. Any nursing staff knows who the good nurses are and those who could possibly be doing illegal activity and in my case all my staff who i worked with knew i would never and it was a “administration documentation error”.
    If i made the mistakes then i make them from the start of my new job why am i being held 100% responsible when after all me evaluations said nothing negative about me or my performance??? I begged to be given a second chance and to find out what i was doing wrong?? something i was doing was wrong and i couldn’t explain it.

    I was terminated and turned in to the BON. I was reprimanded and in clearly stated “no drug use or suspicion at all by employer”, unsatisfactory job performance. I understand if there was a risk to the patienst life if too much or wrong medication was given to the patients but thats not my case.

    I drove myself crazy thinking about what had i did wrong!!! on my interview i was asked if there was anything i didnt not believe in or anything i wanted to tel them and on my application i sated i dont give leathel doses of meds to patients who were on hospice and am very afraid on the computer system before and i am an old nurse and never had administered meds via computer.

    They told me that it was by law they had to turn me into the BON.I hired an atturny because i knew they wanted to get me for steeling medication.
    The attorney told me to take what they were giving me or pay 10~15k to take it to court. I would have it i had the money nut didnt.

    Two to three weeks b4 this all happened i yold my nurse mgr that the charge nurse wat treating me unfair and that if nothing was done about it I wood have to report it to higher authority bc i could not work being abused suied every day by a specfic

    ?

  2. Avatar
    Carol June 7, 2016 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Dear Nancy , I have been an LPN for 30 years. I’ve recently decided to get my RN. Will my reprimands as an LPN carryover to my RN license?

    • Nurse.com
      Nurse.com August 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      To ask Nancy a question, email BrentsLaw@nurse.com. Nancy Brent’s posts are designed for educational purposes and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.

  3. Avatar
    Phillip d. Waller August 30, 2016 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    i think that if a nurse recieves a reprimand they should b allowed to have the reprimand removed if no other complaints occur within a specified length of time. i am a rn who received one and was never able to get another job as a result. i believe this is very unfair

  4. Avatar
    Helen Clanton March 12, 2017 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Hi Nancy,is there any way to remove a reprimand for something that happen 33yrs ago,not related to nursing, I wasn’t a nurse then.

  5. Avatar
    T. Wal June 20, 2017 at 2:11 am - Reply

    I need help…. being reported to the NPDB….. what does that mean for my license and my career?
    What can I do to help my license so I can provide for my family?

  6. Avatar
    Mary Balderson July 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    I have a reprimand on my nursing license because I flattened a tire (which I had boughten) on my ex-boyfriend’s ATV in 2009.The incident had nothing to do with my profession and happened over 8 years ago, yet I cannot get a job in home health because of this. I spoke with the Board of Nursing and was told that even if the record was expunged from my background check, which claims that it was “Destruction of Property”, that the reprimand will still show on my nursing license. I find it astounding that something so insignificant could lead to such a prolonged hindrance.

  7. Avatar
    Cheri December 17, 2017 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Where do nurses with reprimand status on their license work? How do they continue on with their nursing careers. It seems like some of theses reprimands are being placed on nurses, who are just trying to do their jobs and keep the patients safe. This Is not why you go to nursing school. I thought nurses were suppose to be able to empower and be an advocate for their patients.

  8. Avatar
    C January 11, 2018 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Hello,
    I was wondering if an employer goes to report you to the BON and they report it to all the states you hold a license in, Can each state discipline you or only the one you were practicing in?

    • Avatar
      Faith Slaughter January 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question.

    • Avatar
      Lisa August 11, 2018 at 12:39 am - Reply

      Yes it goes to the National Board of Nursing. I was recently reprimanded by the BON in my home state, due to a false accusation by a hospital that I had taken an assignment in. The BON always gives some type of punishment. You are NEVER let off. This was reported to the National Data Base and I am now getting notices from other states where I have licenses that I have complaints against those licenses. I don’t know what is going to happen now. We will see.

  9. Avatar
    Madeline June 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    I just got hired for a job as a registered nurse in Florida. I got called about a red flag on my CNA license. I was a CNA about 26 years ago and don’t recall much on it, I did not even know I had a red flag. I went to Puerto Rico to study a BSN and graduated and worked as a nurse since 2006. I endorsed my license to the state of Florida and got accepted. What can I do to find out what is going on because I had never had any problems till now. Can you please help me.

  10. Avatar
    Arika October 16, 2018 at 1:28 am - Reply

    I have been recently was given the option to accept a public reprimand on my license or have the hearing. I definitely don’t have the money to get a lawyer. I have a call out to the legal nurse consultant about how long the reprimand could be on my license and does accepting this judgement mean my career is over or I could lose my current position. I am in Alabama. Advise or comments please! Thank you.

    • Avatar
      DasERJelly October 20, 2018 at 3:38 am - Reply

      do whatever you can to have representation Do not take the reprimand. idk the details of your case, nor am I an attorney, but my name has been brought to my BON twice. First time I took the reprimand, I was scared beyond belief that they would take my license, and was thankful for “just a reprimand” for taking zofran out of the accudose and giving it to my charge nurse, at her request, something that was commonly done, and shown to me how to do by senior staff, in our ER. I got called to HR and asked about taking meds out and I was like yeah all the time, not narcotics or counted meds, just the week prior had seen another charge nurse get a neb treatment and afellow nurse some phenergan before leaving for vacation. this was 10 years ago now but I didnt think or feel I had done anything wrong and said so. Said this was common practice, etc etc, was I doing something wrong. Apparently HR thought so and if my nurse manager hadnt come to HR for me at that moment I would have been fired on the spot Im sure. A 5 day suspension later I was allowed to return back to work in the ER i had worked and sweted and loved for 8 years, keeping all my trauma and forensice nurse roles, etc, but I was reported to the board. Even the investigator said to me “this should have been handled in house, but you can’t unring a bell”…. I took a reprimand and 250$ fine. FFward 5 years later, I quit a contract I was working due to hostile and angry treatment by the staff charge nurses multiple times in public at the nurses station. So I quit. Come to find out 2 months later I was reported by that facility for improperly wasting medications and sent to the Board on a possible diversion charge… I got an attorney. I scraped and saved … and it was dismissed, as it should have been I do not do or take or divert anything ever, its an ER sometimes you hand off the ativan you pulled for the seizing pt to the nurse closer than you and in the heat of the moment or the busy shift things get forgotten. I sometimes feel like I was targeting by the people I quit on after seeing my reprimand wanted to find anything to mess me up. i dont know after my first incident I am beyond diligent but things do happen. I have a very hard time getting staff positions and mainly work agency, but even then some hospitals wont even look at my profile because I have a “hit”. nowhere on my reprimand did it say diversion or controlled, nor was any suspicion put on me for drug abuse etc. In fact, my reprimand clearly states,” it was found during this investigation that the taking of non narcotic and non counted medications for personal use was a common practice in this facility. ” Yet years later I get a copy of the NPSDB or whatever its called, and right there in black and white under my name it says “diversion of Controlled Substance” !! WHAT?? I am told that is what my Board reported so that is what it will say. Sorry to ramble I STILL get so upset about it. Its shameful to me and I see how some charge nurses or management at some of my contracts look at me, or they increase their narc count procedures to twice a day all of a sudden. Its because of this reprimand That HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with Diversion of anything controlled or otherwise. in a nutshell Even if it is just you up there, (please speak to an nurse attorney or nurse consultant tho first, the Board is not for protecting nurses, it is for protecting the public. Think of them as Police, and anything you say can and will be used against you. Seriously) I would not take the reprimand But every situation is different etc etc. I just speak my tale as a cautionary one. The reprimand that seems like nothing at the time is like a giant neon red this nurse is incompetent sign over your head. Hope this helps you.

  11. Avatar
    Latoya Brown October 24, 2018 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    I applied for my nursing license and disclosed and expunged record. BON contacted me and said that I had an arrest in 2007 that i didn’t report, it never shows up when i get finger printed so i had forgotten about it. They ask for documents and explaination. Anyone know how long it takes for them to respond rather I’d be able to sit for testing.

  12. Avatar
    Wendy RN November 27, 2018 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I have been a Registered nurse for 11 Years and I have a flag on my license. In 2002 which was 3 years before I even went to nursing School I was arrested on a bench warrant when I got pulled over for taillight out. I got the arrest warrant issued because the year before that I had a bounce check during a horrible ice storm I had written a check to the gas company I was home alone raising 3 babies and trying to keep the house warm. I was broke barely making Ends Meet and couldn’t even buy groceries and the gas company agreed to hold my check until a paycheck arrived In the mail by fedex after the roads cleared. The check for the propane was under $300 for 3 weeks of propane. However the girl in the office mistakenly ran my check through anyways and it bounced of course. I did not have the money to go pick it up and pay the bounced fee and to be honest I did forget about it and it went to the DA. It was listed as a felony because after the fees added it was over $500. However when I was arrested and I went to court the judge dismissed it as a misdemeanor after I paid my fines. Fast forward to nursery school graduation and I’m filling out the application to sit for boards. That little question that ask if you’ve ever been arrested… I understood it to mean and my husband who is an ex policeman also agreed with me that it was meaning felony charges … well I had not been arrested on a felony charge nor was it listed as a felony charge therefore I didn’t report it as a record.. I wish I could turn back time. I don’t know why didn’t I guess I was afraid.. However the board of nursing reprimanded me before I even became a nurse stating that I lied on my application.. that’s fine so I did and I did everything they told me to do I pay the restitution charges and I took the class on Saturday called nurse prudence and ethics as required. I was told by the BON that it would drop off after one year of good service and no other accusations. However it has been 11 years going on 12 and a flag is still there in a follows me everywhere. After the 2010 presidential Elections the laws changed in Congress and now my flag is no longer listed at the same it now list me under a broad spectrum category of obtaining a nursing license by fraudulent means so everyone that sees that flag that’s what it says that I was obtaining my license by fraud!!!! That is not fair in any way I report this flag and the reasons behind it to every place I apply and I still lose positions because of it. It’s frustrating and I want to know a way to get it off or fix it.

  13. Avatar
    S. Woods November 28, 2018 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    When I was in nursing school, they told us one very piece of information about State Boards of Nursing; They are not there to protect you, but to protect the public. Don’t forget that; and they take that job very seriously. I have seen some of the best nurses I know end up in front of them, and bad ones escape their scrutiny.

    I feel your frustration and pain. I have several arrests for traffic offenses in the 30 years since I became a RN, and by the time I moved to my new state to retire, I made my RN license in another state inactive. I recently decided to go back to work, and requested a license by Endorsement from the state I currently live in. I also asked for a Multi State license, which means I can practice in around 27-30 states.

    I was shocked to receive a letter from the Board Of Nursing telling me to explain why a 1979 charge had not been mentioned by me. I swear it was something I did not remember, as It was 40 years ago- 10 years before I event became a RN. Because of the Compact one state has with another, they are stricter than they were when I first became a RN. Originally, boards of nursing were only suppose to be interested in any offense having to do with hurting an innocent adult or child, or crimes of moral turpitude. The BON’s have wide breath ( much like the IRS), and its almost as if you do not have Constitutional Rights. For example, They ask if you have EVER been arrested, and ignore the fact you may have been found innocent, the case was dismissed, or some other understandable or justifiable reason. The outcome is not important to them, the arrest is. In California, they tell you to reveal it even if any of the above circumstances are true, and even if “your lawyer told you it will not appear on your record”.

    My 1979 charge (which was written in a way to make me look horrible, by the way, which charged me with “battery of an officer”, which truly shocked me) had never appeared on my record until this year. I’ve had jobs where the FBI and other reporting agencies never came up with it. So it appeared, and I was left to explain something that didn’t even happen. I feel your frustration. My advice is to retain an attorney. An attorney gets their respect in a way that you or I alone cannot. Don’t use no money for it as a means to let it go, you need to fix this. A nurse should never be limited in where a job can take her.

  14. Avatar
    Melissa Krantz January 27, 2019 at 1:15 am - Reply

    Once you are placed on public reprimand, and you have fullued all of the requirements within the time frame, then will the bon take down your orders.

    • Avatar
      ellen mazzeo February 21, 2019 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      please help me to understand what you mean by the board with take down your orders?
      I am not sure what that means.
      I have been under the scrutiny of the board since 1980. My license infraction was pay a 1000.00 fine, which I did, I then had to serve 300 hours of community services. Then my license was placed on probation but the probation was stayed. So I never stopped working.
      Now we have this NURSYS inquiry that all agencies and hospitals use and if you are on it , forget it, you cannot get anywhere, There is no chance for change or retribution. you cannot explain tuu

  15. Avatar
    Retirednurse May 15, 2019 at 3:52 am - Reply

    I retired my RN, goodbye stress!

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