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If My License Is Suspended in One State, Does It Affect Other State Licenses? Is It OK to Surrender an RN License?

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Question:

If my license is suspended in one state, does it affect other state licenses? When is it OK to surrender an RN license?

Valentina

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Valentina, 

A discipline by a state board of nursing is public information. As a result, when a nurse licensee is disciplined in one state that discipline can affect the nurse licensee in every other state in which the nurse is licensed. State nurse practice acts include a provision that if a nurse is disciplined in one state, he or she also can be disciplined in the state where the nurse also holds a license if the discipline was based on a similar basis for discipline in that state. 

Also, nurse practice acts require a nurse licensed in that state who is disciplined in another state to report that discipline to the state board of nursing. If not reported by the nurse licensee, he or she can be disciplined for not self-reporting in addition to being disciplined for whatever violation is the focus of the discipline. 

This requirement is further enforced because state boards of nursing report to other state boards of nursing when a discipline occurs in their state. This reporting may be done through newsletters, disciplinary information on the state board's website and on-line through NURYSYS. The National Practitioner Data Bank also makes available disciplinary action information against nurses available to prospective employers. 

If the nurse is disciplined in a state that is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, the nurse licensee can face discipline in all other member states in which he or she practices under the compact. 

In relation to your question about surrendering a license, seek a consultation with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can advise you about doing so and about disciplinary actions and their effect upon licensure in other states. Surrendering a license is not without implications for the nurse licensee. Those implications need to be seriously evaluated before that action is taken.

Regards, Nancy

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