Just about every nurse has made a medical error or two in their career. In most cases, these errors don’t result in the loss of a nursing license. But, there are several situations that could jeopardize your license including unprofessional conduct, falsifying patient medical records, and patient abuse or neglect.
To help nurses protect their license in the event there is a complaint or report filed against them, fellow nurse Kristi Miller, PhD, RN, a blogger for AllNurses.com, recently interviewed a nurse-attorney to find out what steps nurses can take to prevent licensure problems.
Here are 5 things she advises:
- Get Nursing Malpractice Insurance: It’s surprisingly inexpensive, averaging around $100 per year, and can help pay for an attorney, lost wages, and reimbursement for expenses in response to licensing board actions.
- Don’t Fight a Complaint Alone: An attorney will know the right questions to ask to investigate the claim against you thoroughly. They can also negotiate with the board or your employer for more favorable consequences.
- Be Honest on Job Applications: If a past complaint against you resulted in your termination, don’t omit the job or the firing from your job application. Miller says, “Even if you were only there a few months, when you sign an application, you are affirming under penalty of perjury that you have given all the information and that it is true and correct.” It’s best to be honest and explain the circumstances in your interview.
- Tell the Truth on Renewal Applications: If you’re not sure whether you have to report something like a dismissed DUI on your renewal application, get legal advice first from someone with experience with your nursing board before omitting it from your application.
- Keep Your Address Current with the State Nursing Board: The first step the nursing board takes when investigating a claim against you is to mail you a letter. Once you receive the letter, you have an opportunity to respond and meet with the investigator. But, if your address is not current, the board can still take action against you and you could miss the chance to respond.
We hope you never find yourself in a situation where you could face losing your license. However, by following these suggestions, you could put yourself in the best position to keep your license.To check out Miller’s complete article, you can read it here