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Can an RN with a reprimand from more than two years ago continue into an advanced degree program?

Wednesday February 20, 2013
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Dear Nancy,

Can an RN with a reprimand from more than two years ago continue into an advanced degree program? The reprimand was for documentation and a minor medication error, not a diversion issue.


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Yolanda,

Your question seems to indicate that you still have your RN license in good standing, despite the discipline from several years ago. That is important for your admission into a graduate degree program. If your license were suspended or on probation when you applied, that would be a problem.

The question you need to raise with the nursing education program is whether a prior discipline is an obstacle to admission to the graduate program of your choice. In some instances, questions about prior or current discipline(s) may be included in the application for admission. If so, you can deal with the answer honestly and truthfully and see what happens.

If the application does not ask such a question, it is better for you to determine the answer now, rather than invest in time and money only to find that the degree will not be awarded to you. Where the sticking point may be is, if the degree requires clinical work (which it most probably does), the facilities that allow graduate students to use the facilities for their clinical rotations may not allow students who have had prior disciplines by the state board of nursing to get their clinical experience with them.

So, you have a two-prong approach to your question: What does the nursing education program require and what do the clinical facilities used by the program require?


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.