As Fidelity On Call celebrates 25 years in business, we have heard “I’m not putting my license on the line” from more nurses than we can count. As a matter of fact, if we had just a dollar for every time, we think we would be millionaires!
Most often this comment comes with a phone call on what is happening at a facility our nurse is assigned to. Of course, our nurse is upset as something is not right – could be inadequate staffing, or the quality of care given to the patients, safety issues or problems with the nursing team or supervisors at the facility or even more critical issues.
Because we only hire top-notches nurses, we know their concerns are valid and we will work to get it corrected. But it is important to remember that a facility problem is not a reflection on the nurse’s license.
So what is it that truly “puts your license on the line?”
– A hospital has a nurse who is working in an “alerted” state – slurred speech, eyes dilated, weaving when walking. A drug test is conducted and is returned “positive” for opioids. The nurse does not have a prescription to support what was in her system. There was also sufficient evidence to show that what was in her system came should have administered to a patient. That hospital – just like Fidelity On Call – is required to report any such occurrences to the State of Illinois for investigation. In many instances, the nurse’s license will be disciplined but she will be able to keep her license. That is, unless the nurse continues to positively test for drugs and fails to do what was directed in the disciplinary hearing.
– A nurse is caught diverting hydrocodone and alprazolam (Xanax) from the hospital where she works. The pharmacy calculated she diverted almost $10,000 worth of prescription drugs over a 12-month period. She was reported. Since she failed to even appear for the hearing where her case was to be discussed, her license was revoked.
– A registered nurse, who was the director of nursing (DON), falsified documents, fabricated information, and failed to put serious issues on care plans. Upon survey, the facility received multiple citations and the DON was terminated by the facility. Her license was revoked by default when she failed to come to the hearing where the formal charges were to be discussed.
It is extremely rare to revoke a nurse’s license over a medication error, unintentional harm or deviations from standard care. Statistically, licenses get revoked due to issues revolving around addiction, impaired practice, theft, diversion, and/or failure to complete the terms of an impaired nurse program as contractually agreed at a disciplinary hearing.
You can also see from our examples that failure to show for your disciplinary hearing most likely will result in your license being revoked.