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Is there a chance of regaining my license if I have not gone through all the programs the board required, because of a termination?



Dear Nancy,

In 2008 I was terminated because of a medication error and diversion. I entered a diversion program in 2009, but was discharged from the program for not following directions. There was an investigation and I decided to surrender my RN license in lieu of a trial — I was not in any condition, mentally, physically or financially to go through that. I was told I would be able to apply for my license after two years. After going over the papers the board of nursing sent me, it looks as though I have to prove I have been in a recovery program or have been seeing a mental health specialist, both of which I have not done. My primary physician has treated me since the incident for a mental breakdown caused by stress. I’m not sure how to proceed, but I know my best option is to retain a lawyer. Is there a chance of regaining my license if I have not gone through all the programs the board requires?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Liza,

Your best option is to retain a nurse attorney or attorney to help you determine what, if any, options you might have based on the facts of your situation. Although it may seem complicated to you, the attorney you retain, who should concentrate his or her practice in professional licensure defense, can clarify the issues.

Many state boards of nursing do require a recovery program and ongoing aftercare, based on the recovery program’s recommendations when allegations of drug or alcohol use are involved in a complaint against a nurse licensee. Sometimes the underlying situation also requires continuing therapy in the form of group therapy, individual therapy by an appropriate therapist, such as a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner or some combination thereof. Your treatment by your primary physician is important as well, but it may not meet the board’s other requirements.

Seek legal advice as soon as you can so you can either get started with the treatment programs you need or begin the process to regain your license. Take all of the board of nursing documents with you so the attorney can correctly evaluate what was done and how to proceed.



About Author

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.

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