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What can RN with no recent work history and loss of license do to find a job?

Dear Nancy,

I stopped working in 2004. Since then I lost my license after I was arrested for marijuana possession and I eventually was conditionally discharged after six months of probation. I paid a lawyer to have it expunged from my record. I was using the marijuana for pain management of my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. How do I get my license back now? Also I am on Ultram now, so would probably fail a drug test.


Dear Susan,

You will have to petition to have your license restored and this is best done by retaining a nurse attorney or other attorney who can help you with this process, as it is not an easy one and you must meet all requirements listed in your nurse practice act and rules. Your attorney also can advise you on whether or not a refresher course will be needed to restore your license since you have not been practicing for some time. You can determine what your state board of nursing requires in terms of a refresher course by either checking the nurse practice act and rules or checking the board’s web page.

Insofar as your current medication is concerned, if it is prescribed by your physician, you would not necessarily be denied a license. Your attorney can get a letter from your physician attesting to the need for the Ultram and, if true, the physician also can attest that in his opinion, it does not inhibit your ability to safely and competently practice nursing.

The board may want to have you evaluated by an independent physician concerning the ability to practice safely on this medication as well. Your attorney can discuss this with you.

When a drug screen is done, it is to determine the presence of medications that are illegal or taken without a prescription. Informing the person doing the test that you are on Ultram, or when asked to list any medications, listing Ultram, will avoid any misunderstanding about it when the screen shows a positive result for an opioid.

Regards, Nancy



By | 2021-05-28T17:40:03-04:00 April 17th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only 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.

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