You’ve worked hard to secure your nursing license. As a result, you are allowed to reap the rewards that come with one of the most prized, honorable, and admirable professions in our country. Most nurses love their job and would do anything to keep it, which is why you might find yourself anxious about your future if you face disciplinary action. After all, if you are disciplined, you could be jailed, fined, or even have your nursing license suspended or revoked.
There are several ways that disciplinary actions can get levied against you. One way is if you receive criminal offense charges. As a registered nurse, you’re required by Pennsylvania Code to notify the board of the charge within 30 days. This means if you face criminal accusations, you need to know how to defend yourself both in a criminal court and in front of the licensing board.
Another common reason for disciplinary action is failure to abide by the register nurse’s general functions as identified under the law. Here, the law defines the specific duties and responsibilities of registered nurses, including:
- Collecting data to identify nursing needs
- Analyzing the health of patients and their families to identify the need for nursing care
- Developing nursing goals and plans
- Carrying out nursing duties in furtherance of a patient’s well-being
- Engaging individuals in the direction of their care
- Assessing the effectiveness of nursing care provided
Those who enter the nursing profession have the drive to help people. But given the constraints of the law, registered nurses need to be careful that they don’t overstep their role. Under the law, nurses cannot engage in the practice of medical care when that care requires some sort of specialized training based on extensive skills and knowledge. So, those nurses who go too far in caring for a patient, even if carried out with goodwill, could wind up facing disciplinary action and the possibility of license suspension or revocation.
Although that may sound scary, the fact of the matter is that the law isn’t black and white. Interpretation is often in the eyes of the beholder, which allows you and other registered nurses to aggressively defend against both criminal charges and disciplinary actions that might derail your career. However, to build the best defense possible under the circumstances, you need to not only understand the law, but also how to make a case that supports your position. Fortunately, legal advocates who are willing to go to battle for you stand ready to help you prepare for the fight ahead.