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My contract of probation (diverting meds) is almost up, and I知 afraid that I値l lose my nursing license. What do you think?

Thursday February 12, 2009
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Dear Nancy,

Several years ago, I diverted meds for my own use (no patient harm resulted, and I paid full restitution to the hospital where I worked after they had me arrested for taking the meds). I self-reported to the board and so did the hospital. I was placed on probation. At the time I entered into the contract of probation, the nursing board was aware of my plea to a misdemeanor charge agreement of 殿ttempt to possess an anabolic steroid substance at the time my contract was written and signed. My minimum three-year contract is up for review. Could they take my license after I致e complied will all the stipulations of their contract? I applied to the state to have my record either sealed or permanently removed. What are my chances of keeping my license?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Larry,

You should be commended for self-reporting and for paying in full the restitution you were required to do as a result of the diversion of medications several years ago. The probation contract you entered into with the state board will be essential in determining whether probation will be terminated and your license no longer in a probationary status.

If you have complied with your probationary order entered into with the board of nursing and if you have had no further violations of any kind in relation to your state nurse practice act, there would be no basis for the board to 鍍ake your license. It is important to keep in mind that boards of nursing have specific responsibilities and powers that must be carried out and cannot be abused. Moreover, a board must make decisions based on their powers and the state nurse practice act. It does not sound as though there would be a basis for any further discipline from the state board. It might be helpful for you to consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who can provide you with specific advise you on your particular situation as you face the termination of your probation. You may also want to consider hiring the attorney to represent you in this matter if the termination of the probation is not 殿utomatic in the board痴 consent order.

Many states do not provide for the expunging/sealing/removal of state board disciplines. Criminal convictions, however, can often be expunged, sealed or removed. Your attorney can also advise you about this concern.


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.