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I was accused of diverting a narcotic, refused a drug test and was terminated. However, currently my license is clear, so can I work?

Monday March 25, 2013
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Dear Nancy,

I was accused of diverting a narcotic at work, which I did not do — it was just a charting error. I refused the drug test and was terminated. It was reported to the state and I have been through the nightmare of being evaluated by a drug and alcohol evaluator. My hair and urine were tested and both were negative. I have never had any problems. Currently my license is clear, so can I work?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Lauren,

Based on the brief amount of information you included in your question, if your license has not been disciplined, you have an active and unencumbered license and can work wherever you get hired. What you did not include is, if the proceedings are completed before the board of nursing. When that occurs, and there is no discipline, you can work without any problems.

Of course, a prospective employer will want to know why you were terminated from your former position. The best approach is always to be honest about a prior job termination, and in your situation, emphasizing that the accusation was not true.

If there is no adverse outcome with the board of nursing, and they close your file, you need not discuss that with your prospective employer unless you want to do so to support that the allegations were not true and the board, after reviewing your evaluation from the alcohol evaluator, closed your file.

The interviewer may ask if you were reported to the board and what the results were. Again, honesty is always the best approach in these matters. The end result is the employer sees you are an honest person in sharing this information and you benefit by retaining your personal and professional integrity, which should never be compromised.


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.