Your nursing license is a fundamental part of your career, and you worked hard to earn it. You know that having your license revoked is far worse than simply losing your job. Someone in another profession who simply gets fired is free to seek another job. A nurse who loses their license cannot even legally work in their chosen profession, and they have a specific education that ties directly to that profession.
With all of that in mind, you may be wondering if addiction issues are a reason to have that license revoked. Could the substances that you use, even if they’re legal, end that career?
Losing your license
As you may suspect, the truth is that it absolutely can. Many nurses have been suspended or lost their licenses for both drug and alcohol use. In some cases, this has been use that happened on the job, but other cases have reflected things that happened when the nurses in question were not even at work.
The reason for these licensing issues is that the governing body may believe that a nurse who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is a threat to his or her patients’ health, or to general public safety as a whole. Nursing is complex, decisions need to be made quickly and mistakes on the job can seriously harm people who are counting on those nurses.
These cases can certainly happen because of illegal drug use, such as heroin or cocaine, but it does not have to be that drastic. Alcohol is entirely legal and very addictive, and abuse or uncontrollable addiction may lead to serious issues if patients are deemed to be at risk. Some nurses may become addicted to painkillers after surgery, even those that are legally perscribed. People in these situations may want to consider treatment options, as addiction is a real disease and something no one should be ashamed of.
Defending your license
If you’re facing allegations of drug use or alcohol addiction and you’re worried about losing everything you’ve worked for, you need to know exactly what steps to take to defend yourself.