How can an RN with a license stipulation get a job?

By | 2021-05-07T16:37:06-04:00 May 25th, 2015|16 Comments

Dear Donna,

I am an experienced nurse with a stipulation on my license that started in 2007. I have been able to complete all BON requirements except the one year working with a RN doing indirect supervision. I completed six months and when a new CNO was hired, she called me in and told me to resign because she did not want nurses with stipulations on their licenses. I had worked 10 months but she came in at the end of that quarter and said she could not sign any good papers for me because she did not know me and did not feel comfortable doing that paperwork. The thing is that there were several nurses working there who had stips, but they were allowed to continue to work. I have been without a job for more than one year. I don’t even get called for interviews. What can I do? My stip does not keep me from performing all my nursing duties. I can carry narc keys and give narcotics, I do not need someone to hold my hand to do anything, just a RN in the building available by phone to call if I should need to ask a question.

Nurse with a Stipulation

Dear Nurse with a Stipulation,

It is always challenging for me to respond to this type of question without knowing all the details and the players. But based on what you shared about your last position, which was edited for publication, I advise you to consult with a nurse attorney to determine if you have any recourse for what sounds like may have been unlawful termination. I can’t say for sure, but at the very least, you should have a consultation to discuss the particulars, even a year after the fact.

A nurse attorney is an RN who also has a law degree and has passed the bar. A nurse attorney is uniquely qualified to represent nurses in situations such as yours. Find a nurse attorney by asking around, getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association whether or not you are a member, or through The American Association of Nurse Attorneys. You need some professional advice and support at this juncture to advocate for you with the Board of Nursing, get your license unencumbered, and possibly get your old job reinstated. Rather than rejecting this idea, assuming that you can’t afford it, at least make a call to a nurse attorney to see if you even have a case. Your license, your livelihood and your reputation are at stake.

Being both unemployed (not by choice) and professionally idle is a deadly combination for many reasons. It plays havoc with your self-esteem and psyche not to mention your work history. So I recommend that you seek volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteer work gives you recent relevant experience to put on your resume and discuss on an interview. It also gives structure and purpose to your week, provides an opportunity to hone old skills and learn new ones, and expands your professional network. It is a way to get your foot in the door somewhere and often leads to paid employment. Contact groups such as a local chapter of the American Heart Association or American Red Cross, a local public health department and so on.

You’re also going to need to use your personal and professional contacts to help you find a paid position where you can satisfy that last BON requirement unless the nurse attorney advises you otherwise. Let those in your circle know what you need and ask for their help and support. Networking is a powerful job finding tool especially in a situation like this.

Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” for additional tips and advice on navigating your way through this challenging situation.

Best wishes,



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About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.


  1. Avatar
    Stacy Reid August 4, 2017 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Hi Donna, my issue is that I get hired but after the background check comes into play and employers see that my license was suspended;if only for a brief time until starting board ordered agreement started;the offers are rescinded. I have no idea what to do next.

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    Heidi jacobs December 5, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Dear Donna
    I have been desperately looking for someone to talk to or someone who can understand or maybe even been through what I have been through as a nurse who lost her license but had them reinstated . I just came across your name while online and praying that maybe I just found what I have needed . Please respond and let me know if you have any advise or groups or others I can be in contact with who can understand what I am currently going through. Please please don’t ignore this as I probably have so much info to offer others as well as needing info or advise myself .

    • Avatar
      Kim H. December 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      I have had the exact same thing happen to my nursing license as well (DORA) I would be glad to speak with you or anyone going through this. Please, please contact me if possible!

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        Maureen May 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

        I am in the same situation, i need help.

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        Karen P. May 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm - Reply

        Dear Kim H.

        I have a “sanction” against my license from 3/13 and received only a reprimand. I was required to do 6CEUs-which I did. This is permanently on my license and I know I will have a problem getting a job. Is there any advice you can give to me? I’m desparate! Thanks

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        Daniel Daigger September 24, 2020 at 2:22 pm - Reply

        I’m in the same situation as well. Any help would be great!

    • Avatar
      Eleni May 9, 2022 at 12:04 am - Reply

      I am in the same situation and need help.

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    Kay November 26, 2018 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Hi I would like to get an update on anyone who has or has not found work. I’m in the same situation and would like some encouragement

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    Chyrissy K June 5, 2019 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    This breaks my heart. How can society turn around and do this to us? I mean we give our all to the point our health start to take a downward spiral. A charge nurse submitted a complaint. Before really having all the facts. Well facts are in. Sad to say but I understand why they say nurses eat their young….they all eat each other. I am relying on family…and prayers to get me through. We need justice, we need a coalition to voice what is being done.

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    Shelly Mcneil July 18, 2019 at 12:18 am - Reply

    I am in the same situation. I have stipulations. I just need to be in a facility it is for one year and be checked off the for

    4 quarters. I’ve been a nurse for 28 years and now I can’t even find a job or get hired because of this. This is so

    wrong you dedicate your whole life to taking care of Others. And they turn around on you and throw you in the trash

    like you are nothing. I really need help I have no family or nobody. I am a single mother they’re not only destroyed my

    life but my daughters as well. Need help.

    • Avatar
      Russ August 8, 2019 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      I Totally agree, i am in the same boat and feel discriminated against and im also a male.

  6. Avatar
    Russ August 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    I am the same, completed all of my stipulations and 6months of the year, so all I need is 6 months and NOONE WILL HIRE ME. I feel discriminated against. Any advice or help?

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    Jennifer Morgan April 7, 2020 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Did u.find jobs?

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    Maja March 6, 2021 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I am in the same situation. To sum it up, I took some prednisone from work for a health condition doctors would not help me with. My employer found out and they let me go. Now I have an order on my license stating I need to let all my future employers know about the order, and I need quarterly performance reviews from whoever hires me. No other limitations have been placed on my license. After 2 years of working part time or full time as a nurse, the requirements will be removed from my license but record of me taking meds will always stay on there. My question is, how do you go about looking for a job with something like this? Once you tell your future employer about the order, is it an automatic “no”? If anyone has any input or advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

  9. Avatar
    Kim Lane March 27, 2021 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Has anyone been able to find a job with having stipulations? I am in the same boat.

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    Glenn Forrest November 9, 2021 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I had minor stipulations for a possession charge 22 yrs ago, Jan 2001. I have no criminal record, my case and charges were dismissed. People in the know said that as you put more time between you and the incident the easier it will be to get hired. That is not the case, it has become almost impossible over the last 4-5 yrs. Nursing boards tell you they must protect the public. I ask, from what? They tell you they have no control over hospital’s policies. That’s true. Hospital policies are to never, ever hire someone who has ever had a stipulation on their license. I have only the one incident. The substance, cocaine was my passengers. Like I said, my case and charges were dismissed. I don’t get it. I find it very unfair. I could see it if I continued getting in trouble, but that is not the case. All this, while the nursing shortage grows and grows. It’s illogical. I’ll tell you it doesn’t get easier and encourage anyone to find another profession.

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