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I received a Decree of Censure from the state board of nursing. Do you think this will affect my future employment as a nurse?

Thursday December 11, 2008
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I have been working as a traveling RN. Last March, I made a serious medication error, and the patient was sent to ICU. Fortunately, he was not harmed and was returned to the med/surg unit. The family did not press any charges. I was upset after the incident. I terminated my seasonal contract immediately and have not been nursing since. My hospital will not hire me back for two years.

In November, I received a Decree of Censure from the state board of nursing. Do you think this will affect my future employment as a nurse? Do nursing recruiters turn applications like mine down?

Candace



Dear Donna replies:

Dear Candace,

You are the not the first nurse that this has happened to. You will be able to continue to work as a nurse, but you have to be prepared to address this situation when it comes up. Read “Coming Back from the Brink” at http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/fromthebrink.html and “Picking Up the Pieces of Your Career” at http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/listing.html.

Because I don’t know the scope of the censure against your license, it is challenging to fully address your situation in this forum. It is not something you would put in your cover letter or on your résumé,, but it would have to be made known in a clinical setting interview — after you’ve had a chance to present yourself. Many traditional employers may shy away from hiring you (again, depending on the censure) but you have other options.

For starters, use networking — a.k.a. word of mouth — to find and get a job rather than relying on sending out résumés and cover letters to classified ads. This is a tough way to go, especially when you have obstacles to overcome. Consider looking for nontraditional work — something that doesn’t involve medication administration — for the duration of your censure.

You might also seek the services of a nursing career coach to help you navigate your way through this and find some suitable work. Find such a coach by getting a referral through your local edition of Nursing Spectrum or NurseWeek, through your state nurses association (whether or not you are a member), and by asking around.

While unemployed, I strongly suggest that you volunteer somewhere medical while you seek paid employment. Contact a local blood bank (they may even have paid work for you), a local office of the American Heart Association, etc.

You should also read my latest book, The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses, <http://www.nurse.com/CE/7250> which addresses this type of situation at length.

My best wishes,
Donna




Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Information about the books is available at www.nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.