What are the pros and cons of an alternative to a nursing discipline program? First, I’m generally talking here, not about one specific board. I’m giving general pros and cons of entering an alternative discipline program, but this will not be state-specific.
What is an alternative to a discipline program? Well, every board offers a confidential program dealing with substance abuse, mental health, and sometimes physical issues. But for the most part, I’d say of the clients I represented. The vast majority are in the program for substance abuse issues. Usually, it’s either alcohol abuse or opiate addiction.
How does the process work? It can start in several ways. If a nurse can self-report substance abuse problems, the board will generally offer them an alternative to discipline. It has different names in every state, but most states consider it an alternative to a discipline program. Let’s just say a nurse says. You know what? I have an alcohol problem. It’s starting to affect my life. They would let the board know. And these boards offer these confidential programs. Because they don’t want to punish nurses who have issues that are voluntarily coming forward, asking for help, and saying they have a problem. This is a way for the nurse to avoid formal disciplinary action.
Why Are ATD Programs Better than Disciplinary Probation for a Nurse?
Let’s say a nurse gets caught diverting narcotics at work. Then many of the boards will have criteria of how to enter the alternative discipline program or not. Let’s say that that nurse, despite diverting, still met the criteria. Then, the benefit of getting into the program is that they won’t undergo disciplinary probation. It won’t get reported to nurses. You won’t have to report it in the future to employers that you are in the program. If I think it’s like a slam dunk, the nurse will undergo disciplinary probation. Then getting them into the ATD program makes a ton of sense. We want to avoid permanent discipline. Most states don’t have mechanisms to remove disciplinary action once it happens.
And nurses have strict criteria for getting something removed. I know here in Arizona that we can’t get it removed. When it’s on there, it’s on there for good. So, it’s frustrating for the nurse that something happens, they have a career, and 20 years ago still must be reported and verified. The benefit of the alternative discipline program is that they can avoid any kind of formal discipline. It won’t follow them. And then, once they get through the program, usually it’s somewhere between one to three years. They’re free and clear to continue working without any requirements.
Let Chelle Law’s expertise in representing nurses before the Arizona Board of Nursing guide you through any licensure or disciplinary matters.
Downsides of the ATD Program
Many of them will have a period when the nurse cannot pass any medication. That is a problem. Anyone working at a hospital, it’ll make their job nearly impossible. That’s a problem. Two, many of them will require a short suspension. At the same time, the nurse gets an evaluation and maybe must go into rehab or an intensive outpatient treatment program, something like that. The nurse must stop working for that period. And for many nurses, that’s not an option either. The difference between the ATD option is that most disciplinary probation options don’t include any narcotic restriction. Or even for a short-term period, they have to wait before they can start practicing again.
Those are two reasons why it may affect someone’s decision. Three, just the number of things they must do. At least here in Arizona, they’re usually similar. So, it’ll include random drug screens, participation in AA or NA, and probably a nurse recovery group.
There’ll be a level of supervision at work. So, either direct supervision or onsite supervision. Generally, multi-state privileges are taken away while on probation in the county state. The nurse involved must strictly follow some things. Still, they will have to be followed either through ATD or the disciplinary probation route.
What Are the Reasons We Would not Enter ATD?
Well, if the nurse doesn’t have a problem, we will usually decline the option. And then, I don’t know if rolling the dice is the right way of saying it, but we’ll plan on avoiding probation at the board meeting level. So, we would decline ATD at the beginning. Another reason is if the nurse simply is unwilling to fulfill the requirements of the ATD, there’s usually no negotiation with this alternative to discipline programs.
Can ATD Programs Terms Be Negotiated?
As the attorney, we have options to negotiate the terms of a probationary consent agreement, but we don’t have them. I mean, they’re unwilling to make many changes to the alternative to the discipline agreement. So, it’s a kind of a take-it or leave-it offer for the nurse. Some of them can’t accept the terms of the ATD. They need some changes made, like some of those changes could be. If nights are prohibited, they must work nights. Or maybe they can’t make three AA meetings a week. They can only do one because they have kids or family or something like that. The small changes can be made, whereas, with ATD, it’s simply if you want in the program. They consider it a privilege, right? So, it’s more of, and this is what you need to do to be in this program.
If you don’t want to do these things we’re asking of you, fine. Then go the probationary disciplinary route. I guess it has to match the needs of the nurse of whether ATD makes sense. For the most part, I find avoiding permanent disciplinary action on your record is paramount to almost any decision. It can affect future employment for the rest of a nurse’s career. Now, the longer time that goes by between when they were on probation and continuing. If you have a long stretch of time where there have been no issues, certainly the employer takes that into account. But it just makes things harder. Anyway, those are my kind of pros and cons of ATD.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Your Nursing License was Revoked, Now What?
- Nursing Law: Can you be a Nurse with a Misdemeanor Assault Charge?
- Can You be a Nurse with a Misdemeanor Drug Charge?
Most Common Reasons for Board of Nursing Discipline
What is the most common reason or reason for a nurse to get disciplined by a board of nursing? In my mind, all discipline stems from clinical and behavioral categories. Let’s kind of break down each one.
As far as getting in trouble for a clinical incident, any kind of deviation from the standard of care, practicing outside of scope, missed medication, documentation errors, and patient abuse. Those are probably the five most common ways to get in trouble clinically. One thing to remember when a complaint is filed, and in the case of a clinical complaint. It should support claims from the patient, the patient’s family, a coworker, or the employer. They’ll come from one of those four sources. And in that case, what will happen is the board will get their complaint, and then they’ll send notice to the nurse. And then, they’ll likely simultaneously subpoena the employment file from the nurse’s employer. This is together with subpoenaing any patient records that would be a part of the investigation.
One thing to keep in mind, and this is general. This goes for the process for almost all the states. It can vary from state to state, but this is the general process.
How Do Clinical Incidents Affect a Nurse’s Future Employment?
The board will likely send a subpoena to your employer. Mostly, if a nurse is dismissed from a position due to a clinical incident and gets a new job. When they put that new job down on the questionnaire the board wants from the nurse, they’re likely to send a subpoena to your new employer.
So, that’s something to consider when addressing the employer’s complaint. In the case of a clinical issue. Once they get all the records, they get the employment file. They will look to see if the nurse ever had any previous issues with discipline at work, corrective action, verbal coaching counseling, or similar incidents. Maybe it’s a missed medication. Have they done that in the past? And then ultimately, when they have all that information gathered, they’ll likely interview the nurse. And then, at some point, it’ll either be disposed of or forwarded to the board for a review.
What Behavioral Issues Call for a Nurse Disciplinary Action?
The other type of, I guess, why a nurse would get in trouble is behavioral, and there’s a bunch of things under behavioral.
One could be a criminal charge or conviction. It could be substance abuse issues signifying addiction. It could be mental health problems. Or it could be just the inability to approach people properly at work and boundary issues involving a sexual relationship with a patient. I’m also going to lump in diverting narcotics into this. I guess you could put that in either category, but it’s probably a lot more than anyone expects. Many nurses diverge narcotics, and I find that’s almost ninety-five times out of a hundred due to personal substance abuse issues. Very rarely would it be them diverting for either resale or for maybe a family member. I’ve had a couple who practice substance abuse for their significant other. As far as behavior goes, this varies state by state, but some states require a nurse to report a charge.
Other states require a nurse to report a criminal conviction immediately. Then others wait to report the criminal conviction until whenever their renewal is. So, based upon the criminal outcome and what it was, that can easily lead to disciplinary programs. The most common for nurses are domestic violence/assault, shoplifting, and DUIs. That makes up most of the criminal incidents among nurses. Some states would have a rule if the nurse got convicted of a felony. It’s an automatic license revocation as part of the disciplinary programs.
Reducing the Charges through ATD
Something considered many times when we have a nurse convicted of a felony. The main goal is for their criminal defense attorney to get that knocked down to whatever they can that would not be considered a felony. So, criminal stuff, behavioral issues, it could be, as I said before, mental health or the inability to get along with coworkers or substance abuse. I guess all the states have confidential monitoring programs involving random drug tests, supervision at work, AA/NA participation, and counseling. This is a good option for nurses who want to keep their records clean and don’t want permanent discipline on their records. And it also provides them with the structure to hopefully get over whatever their issues are.
Many of these alternative discipline programs can be for substance abuse and mental health, and physical issues. That broad category of behavioral concerns can lead to board discipline.
Maybe some words of advice on how to handle an investigation. Maybe a nurse who has come to me after submitting a response or even after an interview. They tend to overshare, especially in the written response. It’s better to keep it short and sweet, and especially there are some serious considerations about what to disclose if there’s a pending criminal action. Because simultaneously, the board’s going to investigate the criminal and track what is happening. And what you don’t want is to disclose a bunch of things on the nursing board and then maybe share with the police. And then that would lead the police to act against you. If you had to choose between going to jail and losing a license, it’s an obvious choice. So, those are how a nurse can be disciplined, or at least the most common ways.
What Can Disqualify You From Being a Nurse?
What can disqualify you from becoming a nurse? I’m only going to talk about applicants, not people the state has already licensed. This will be a general discussion of maybe I’m thinking of going to nursing school, or maybe I’m still a nursing student or graduate nursing education. Now, I must apply to a board. What are some of the things in my past that can disqualify me from being a nurse in the future? Lastly, this is not going to be state-specific. It’s just going to be a general discussion.
The first and probably the most obvious thing is some heinous criminal incidents in your past. Almost none of the boards in any state contain a list of things like, if you’ve done these things, you can’t get a license as a nurse. No matter what the case, they’ll have a general guideline. But, any violent crimes, if you were a maybe heavy distributor of drugs in some way, sexual misconduct. Those are things that are hard to rehabilitate from, or at least in the eyes of the board. And so, having those in your past could be a barrier to ever getting a nursing license.
Getting a License After A Crime
When talking to nurses who are always concerned about DUI, marijuana possessions, theft, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and an assault charge. It may not feel like it, but these are relatively low-level crimes. Just because you’ve had some of those in your past generally will not disqualify you from getting a nursing license. Now, if you’ve had 20 assault charges, it’s probably not going to happen for you. Still, if it’s a handful of things from 20 years ago, it’s not going to hinder you from getting your nursing license.
And even in this scenario where the board was very concerned about past behavior, they would almost always offer the nurse a probationary license, meaning they would grant the license. Still, they would also simultaneously put them on probation programs for one to three years. And at the end of that probationary period, their license was unencumbered. That’s what normally the case is.
The Board Is Concerned About Public Image
I guess the timing of the felony would matter. Some states require a certain period after either the felony. I guess the nurse or potential nurse was either convicted of the felony or completed the probationary requirements. In Arizona, someone must have at least three years from the date of termination of probation. That is for a felony case to be eligible to reapply or apply for a nursing license.
The first things are heinous crimes, and two, high negative publicity events. I know it sounds strange, but boards of nursing are very concerned about the public image of nurses. And suppose there’s been a past incident with an applicant that negatively impacts the nursing profession. In that case, that board will be much less likely to issue the license. Most of those end up being criminal in nature. Still, it would help if you considered that these are political agencies. The politics of issuing licenses to people considered dangerous or incompetent is not something most boards are willing to do since they are also after the public’s health.
When the State Revokes Your License
Lastly, if you’ve had another healthcare license and you’ve been placed on the OIG exclusionary list. The inspector general’s office has this list where if you’ve had a license revoked, suspended, voluntary surrender, or a certain number of crimes. They can exclude you from billing under Medicare or Medicaid. The nursing boards, for the most part, don’t care about that at all. However, the employers, or at least some employers, will. If they can’t bill for you, they’ll not employ you. So, you need to think, alright, what happened to put me on that exclusionary list? And then you also need to consider ways of getting off it after a period and jumping through certain hoops. You need to investigate doing that disqualify as well.
Very few things can completely disqualify a nurse from getting a license. Most nursing boards want to see if something bad happened and whether you learned from it. Did you take steps to remediate the behavior in some way? If it was maybe drugs or alcohol like DUI, did you go to AA? Did you go to counseling? Did you go to an intensive outpatient treatment program or rehab? Have you made healthy changes in your lifestyle to deal with stress better? These are the things the boards want to hear. Just because you’ve had one bad thing happen in your past, if you’ve learned from it and incorporated positive things into your life, that’s what the nursing boards want to see.
People make mistakes. It’s fine. But if the same thing keeps happening and you’re not learning from it. At some point, you’ll have an interview with an investigator from a nursing board if you’ve applied for some criminal history. You state I was framed, making excuses. They don’t want to hear those things.
Easiest Way For a Nurse to Be Suspected of Diverting Narcotics
What things raise red flags and can cause a big headache for someone who isn’t diverting narcotics but might be doing some of the things that someone who was might do? So, I came up with a brief list of things I see the most amongst my clients accused of diverting. And then we’ll go through those and maybe talk about how to fix some of those problems. Before we even get into that, nurses do divert narcotics. That’s not a myth. It happens. It probably happens more frequently than you would expect. Or it can happen for several reasons.
Most of the time, it’s due to self-medication. The nurse has substance abuse issues. They have access to narcotics, which is a simple way to use them. For whatever reason, either emotional or physical health concerns or whatever it is, it starts with, well, I’ll do this once. And then, well, I’ll do it a couple of times, then it spirals. It will always get to a point where the nurse can no longer hide what they’re doing or get sloppy or whatever the reason is. But very rarely would a nurse be able to do this long-term without being caught by the management. Let’s go through some red flags of what an employer would look for in determining or alleging that a nurse is diverting narcotics.
What Are the Signs that a Nurse is Diverting Narcotics?
Well, the first one is simple. A nurse is not wasting with a witness. Very simple. In almost every scenario, the nurse needs to waste with a witness. Some excuses are I’m too busy, I couldn’t find somebody on the floor, this is what we normally do on this floor, maybe someone swiped in and then left or something like that. There’s always an excuse as to why it couldn’t have been done. Still, if the employer runs an audit of all the medications that the nurse pulled. It doesn’t show that every single medication needed to be wasted with the witness. That’s a big red flag.
The nurse will, at some point, likely be talked to about that. And they’ll have to explain why they didn’t waste with a witness. Those are not valid excuses because everyone does it as well, or this is how we normally do it on the unit. Not documenting correctly is a violation of every state’s nurse practice act. And so, simply the nurse must waste with the witness whenever possible. The next thing is pulling more narcotics than your peers. And how the employer does this is they’ll do an audit of all, let’s just take opiates, for example. All the opiates that a nurse prescribes or administers to all the patients. Maybe there’s a scanning order, and they can take out of the pyxis and give the patient a certain amount every four hours.
The nurses tend to be in the very high range compared to their peers in administering or pulling narcotics that will be red flagged.
Detection Mechanisms and Best Practices
And so, the employer will use what’s called standard deviations. Suppose a nurse has a certain number of standard deviations above the average nurse in her unit. In that case, that nurse will likely have a complete audit on their entire administering history. They’ll have to talk to the employer about why they’re pulling so many opiates. The next thing would be not documenting the administration of the medication. It’s a simple one. If you pull it and don’t give all of it, you need to waste it. Two, you need to document that you gave it. A very simple one, but if a nurse has a bunch of pulls from the pyxis but doesn’t show that they administered it or wasted it, that’s a big problem for the nurse.
So, you must make sure to document while administering. Next, removing meds on patients that aren’t the nurses. The most normal excuse for something like this is that while lending help to a colleague, she asked me to pull whatever. I gave it to her to give to her patient. She can’t do it. And unless there’s a health policy at the facility that says it is fine, I would highly doubt it. The nurse cannot pull meds from patients that aren’t there. It’s just a huge red flag. The next thing would be pulling meds from a different unit. If you are working on one unit, it shows that you’ve been taking meds out of the machine on another unit. That’s a big red flag. In a scenario where they were completely out of, I needed medication on one unit, and they jumped over elsewhere.
Specifying the Main Red Flags
But once again, just a big red flag. And these are all things that nurses who are diverting do or, in combination with some. Then the last thing would be too many overrides. Many nurses say, well, the machine doesn’t work correctly, or to get to my patients, I must do a lot of overrides or something like that. Too many overrides are just a huge red flag as well. I know it’s standard practice on some units. I know some facilities have float nurses that assist with whatever is necessary. So they must do a lot of overriding, but still, it’s a big red flag. So, you just shouldn’t do it. To go over briefly, the main red flags are:
- Wasting without a witness
- Pulling more than your peers
- Not documenting
- Removing meds from another unit
- Removing meds from a patient that isn’t yours
- Too many overrides.
Being Above Suspicion
One way to avoid a board complaint or an employer investigation is to ensure you’re doing all these things. And then, more importantly, if something is preventing you from doing that. The employer has put up a roadblock, something is not working, or the machine is malfunctioning. Immediately let the charge or the supervisor or the owner. Whoever is there knows what’s going on and asks for help. So that the nurse cannot be the one that’s given the blame for the situation. In those scenarios, find someone, let them know what happened, send an email, and do something to document that this thing happened. And it wasn’t because I was trying to do something sneaky.
Nursing Reports: What Happens When a Nurse Is Reported?
What happens when a nurse gets reported? First, I’m not only going to talk about what happens when a nurse gets reported to a nursing board. I will talk about all the places a nurse can be reported. And then, there are some things to consider regarding handling those situations. Now, first, this is not going to be state-specific. I’m giving general information that a nurse could use in almost any state. Rules can vary from state to state, but this will be a general discussion of what happens when you get reported.
Places or Agencies Nurses Can Be Reported To
First, where are the places/agencies a nurse can be reported? Well, let’s talk about that. First, nurses can be reported to the employer. A patient could complain about a nurse’s conduct. You can report a nurse to the employer, and then the employer would do an investigation. Nurses can be reported to a nursing board if there’s an alleged violation of the nurse practice act in the state. A patient, a colleague, an employer, or the police can all report nurses to the board of nursing. Nurses can be reported to the police. And this usually comes from the employer. There are times when there is some alleged criminal conduct on the part of a nurse, and it may, or at least the employer may, feel necessary to contact the police.
For instance, a nurse gets caught diverting fentanyl, something like that, which is serious. They would then contact the police and say, we believe the nurse was diverting fentanyl, which violates the law. And then they would investigate as well.
Another frequent place catering to a nurse report is the adult protective services branch. Whatever state you’re in, if there is an allegation of patient abuse and the patient is an adult. The committee on adult protective services could do an investigation. The department of child services or child protective services is another place. If your patient was a child and there was abuse alleged, the child protective services in that state could also initiate an investigation to help.
Child’s Health at Risk as Example
And just to give an example, I had a nurse who left a heating pad on an infant child, which caused a burn. And then, obviously, she didn’t mean to. There was no intent to risk the child’s health, but there was a negative outcome. Then child protective services came in and investigated. Those are the main places. So, employer, nursing board, police, adult protective services, and child protective services. Those are the main places you can report a nurse to ask for help.
What Can a Nurse Do if a Patient Reports Them Over an Incident?
What can a nurse do if reported to any of those? Well, it would depend upon the organization what you should do. Suppose a patient complains and the employer approaches you and asks you what happened. In that case, there are no problems talking to them about what happened. Now, I guess it would depend upon the severity of the nurse’s actions. I’ve had a couple of previous blogs that went through what happens for an employer investigation. And there are times when it doesn’t make sense to say anything. Still, suppose it’s a minor disagreement. In that case, I mean, some patients/family members will never be satisfied with the care provided.
And so, in such a situation, if the nurse didn’t do anything wrong, then feel free to discuss that. If the nurse screwed up somehow, it might make sense to be quiet about it and not give a statement.
If the police are involved, you must find an attorney first to secure legal help. I understand that some people believe they can talk their way out of things. Don’t take that as a good practice. Suppose you get a message from any police department or even the Attorney General’s office in your state. In that case, there is a criminal investigation underway, and they will talk to you, pretend like you’re your friend, and say, why don’t you tell me what went on here? And then they’re going to use all those things against you. Do not say anything if you have any contact from the Attorney General’s office, a police department, a detective, or an officer. Call a certified criminal defense attorney and have them represent you wherever you live.
Hire a Board Defense Attorney
Not spending the money on that is extraordinarily done. That’s what you need to do. If you’ve had adult protective services complaints, child protective services complaints, or whatever the name of it is in your state. Once again, it might make sense to involve an attorney who has done administrative hearings. I find the investigators and many of those specific departments almost always find abuse. So, approaching an attorney who handles those things in your state would make sense.
Now, as far as the nursing board goes, it depends on the complaints. Sometimes, there are just completely terrible complaints, like there’s no basis or fact for them. The board will likely dismiss them quickly or dismiss them after a brief investigation. Is an attorney necessary for that? Probably not, but there are certainly instances where an attorney with experience with the board of nursing could assist you. I would contact them before you respond to the nursing board at all. There are plenty of great nursing board attorneys throughout the country. You need to find somebody with legal matters experience with your board in your state.
Through the State’s Open Record
One way of finding that would be going through old agendas. Almost every state requires open records. And so, any kind of board meeting from a governmental agency must be posted. And they do that through the minutes, which basically summarize what happened during a board meeting. Then the agenda, which is what we’re going to discuss during the meeting. Most states will post if someone is represented by counsel and the minutes and then who that is. It’s not a bad idea to look in the old minutes in your state to see the attorneys representing most of the nurses. And then that’s usually a good indication that they at least have experience. I can’t say if they’re good or not, but at least they have experience handling the nursing board.
So, that’s what happens if a nurse gets reported to different agencies. You must always practice being careful about what you’re saying to anyone. Your words can be used against you. And it makes sense to involve a professional with experience handling matters across all those areas.
Nursing Law: Can You Be a Nurse With a Misdemeanor Assault Charge?
This is not going to be state-specific. I’m just going to give you general tips and things to consider if you apply for your nursing license. I know that many people that read these blogs may also think of going into nursing school and are thinking, alright, well, maybe I can get into nursing school. Still, I couldn’t get a license and wasted time and money. So, I will talk more about applicants or even people considering attending nursing school. This is not for currently licensed nurses.
Alright, so you have a past misdemeanor drug practice charge which could be a possession of a bunch of different drugs, potentially distribution. There are some misdemeanor distribution charges as well. If you’ve been convicted, gone to trial and lost, or most likely reached a plea with the prosecutor. Then you had to do community service, fines, drug counseling, treatment, whatever. The board cares about convictions for the most part and not just charges. If you’re just charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean you’ve ultimately been found guilty. Only when you’ve got convicted, reached a plea, or went into a pretrial diversion program that’s where most boards find that the nurse, in their minds, would be convicted. So, if you’ve had, let’s say, one misdemeanor possession of marijuana from 20 years ago. That is not going to keep you from getting your nursing license.
What Does the Nursing Board Usually Look For in Drug Charges?
When a board looks at the criminal pass of a nurse, they’re going to run two things. They will ask in the application, which changes from state to state. Still, usually, they’ll ask: do you have any felony convictions? And then two, potentially, do you have any misdemeanor charges involving substance abuse? It does vary from state to state. You need to look at the specific language in the application of the state that you’re looking to apply to and then just see what you have to disclose. And then, the board is also going to write a criminal background check. Then anything that pops up in that criminal background check will likely reach out to you and ask you to give a summary of what happened. Maybe even potentially provide them with the police records or court documents, so keep that in mind.
Now, in a board’s mind, what they care about is that they’re going to license safe nurses that don’t have drug problems. And the board’s stated mission is to protect the public. They’re not there to protect the nurse, so they will see how many different misdemeanor drug charges or convictions they have. If you’ve had 15 in the last three years, that is a big problem, and you will probably not get your license. If you had, as I said before, maybe one from 20 years ago, almost no chance you wouldn’t get your license. It’s a sliding scale. You need to think about how much time had elapsed from when you had your last conviction until when you applied, and then how many you have done.
Can You Get a License With Addiction Issues?
You can also think that if you did have a drug problem at the time, what have you done to fix the problem?
If a nurse is addicted to methamphetamine doesn’t mean you won’t get your license. Still, the board certainly wants to know, alright, if you had addiction issues, what did you do to solve that problem? Did you go to AA or NA, or did you go to counseling? Did you seek treatment? Maybe you went into inpatient rehab, went into an intensive outpatient treatment program in IOP., Made some lifestyle changes, had a different friend group, or got away from an abusive spouse or something like that. There must be a change if there’s just a big cluster of drug problems at a time. There must be some rehabilitation change for the board to feel comfortable issuing a license.
Can a License Be Granted Despite Recent Drug Charges?
Let’s say it’s a recent number of drug charges, and they think this nurse hasn’t done what they need to do. It’s possible they could issue the license and put the nurse on simultaneous probation for drug issues. Most states would include random drug testing, supervision at work, continuing education, a nurse recovery group, counseling, rehab, whatever. I mean, there’s a variety of things they could do. But even if you’ve had a bunch of recent things, but you’re willing to do what it takes to get your license, the board can, as I said before, issue the license but put you on probation. It could be anywhere from 12 to 36 months, sometimes more. And if you were to get through that period, your license would no longer be burdened.
Now, one bad thing about being placed on probation is if an alternative to a discipline program is not available for you. In most states’ alternative discipline programs.
Ensuring Qualifications and Alternative Ways to Get a License
There’s a confidential monitoring program where you can do everything I just listed, but it wouldn’t be public. And it wouldn’t be considered formal discipline. If the board only offers you formal discipline, that will stay in your record, at least in most states. So, you need to think, even if I get a license, I will have this blemish on it forever. Will that dampen my chances of possibly getting the job I want to get? I would say no, but it is more difficult to find a job if you have a disciplinary history.
Before Attending a Nursing School, Approach an Attorney to Review Your Drug Charges or Conviction
So, in summary, you’re probably fine if you just have one or two misdemeanor drug convictions. The closer to the date you apply, the more scrutiny you will get from the board. But overall, every situation is a little bit different. What I would suggest, I’m in Arizona, so I only help nurses with the Arizona board. Before applying to a nursing school, it might make sense to approach somebody in the state you’re considering applying to. Someone with experience with nursing board issues, and say, hey, in the past, have you had a similar scenario? And then what is the likelihood of me getting a license once I apply? No one will be able to give you a 100% accurate guess.
Still, if someone’s been doing the nursing board for a long time, they can usually give you a decently accurate score. I guess, estimation of whether they think you would get licensed or not. And then maybe if there was disciplinary action attached to that or not.
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