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Can a nurse who buys or sells CPR cards be reported to the board of nursing?

Friday July 20, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

Can a nurse be reported to the state board of nursing if he or she buys a CPR card? Can the nurse who sells CPR cards also be reported to the state board of nursing?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Anne,

It is a little unclear why one would want to buy and sell a cardiopulmonary resuscitation card. Because of the consequences, it would seem much easier for the one who purchased the CPR card to take and pass a CPR course and very much easier for the person selling them not to do so.

Clearly, both behaviors could be, and most probably would be, reported to the state board of nursing. Each is a serious violation of professional ethics, a violation of the duty to protect patient safety, and an example of unprofessional conduct, at the very least. There also may be violations of federal and state laws regulating healthcare, and even potential breaches of the criminal law.

If a person who purchased the CPR card needs to provide CPR to a patient he or she is responsible for, or to someone in a situation where a Good Samaritan law would apply (e.g.: providing aid at an accident scene) and the patient is injured or dies, the discovery of not having taken a course to become CPR certified removes any protection the person may have under a Good Samaritan law. It also removes any applicable protections in a suit alleging professional negligence when administering CPR.

In short, both buying and selling a CPR card is a real recipe for trouble.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.