The responsibility bestowed upon nurses makes them held to a higher standard. Nurses must follow strict regulations set by the North Carolina Board of Nursing.
Failure to adhere to these rules can lead to several consequences, such as a nursing license probation.
Our Charlotte nursing license defense attorney can offer essential advice for nurses on probation and how to move forward when a license is facing actions by the NCBON.
What Does It Mean to Have a Nursing License on Probation?
The North Carolina Board of Nursing is mandated to institute appropriate punishment for registered nurses violating the Nursing Practice Act. The discipline accorded to nurses usually depends on their ability to practice safely, their past disciplinary history, and evidence of rehabilitation, among other factors.
In many cases, a license is placed on probation if the extent of harm or damage is not so significant. However, nursing probation may also be instituted after a license suspension or revocation stays.
When Can a Nurse’s License Be Put on Probation?
The following are examples of specific violations that may trigger nursing license probation by the state’s Board of Nursing:
Nurses convicted of felonies and misdemeanors such as a DWI or other crimes are automatically in breach of the Nursing Practice Act. Such nurses could have their licenses placed on probation or suspended upon conviction.
Gross negligence and incompetence
If a nurse’s negligence results in significant patient harm, they may have their license put on probation for carelessly inflicting more damage on a patient and the caregivers or family. The consequences could also be more severe than being placed on probation.
Alcohol and substance abuse
Nurses with an addiction to alcohol or any other drug must report their addiction and seek help before they can attend to patients. Any nurse who executes duties while under the influence may have their license placed under probation. The consequences could also be more severe than being placed on probation.
All registered nurses who act unprofessionally could have their licenses placed on probation for misconduct. Examples of nursing professional misconduct include falsifying patient information, abusing patients sexually, physically, or emotionally, and impersonating other professionals. The consequences could also be more severe than being placed on probation.
Potential Restrictions by the North Carolina Board of Nursing During Probation
A registered North Carolina nurse can practice during probation but with some license restrictions. Some of the standard restrictions include the following:
- Obey all laws: A NC nurse must adhere to all local, state, and federal laws, report any law violations to the Board.
- Comply with the Board probation program: A nurse on probation must comply with the terms of the probation and assist the Board in investigating and monitoring their probation compliance.
- Report in-person: A nurse must appear in person for all interviews and meetings requested by the Board or probation program.
- Operate as a registered nurse: A nurse must continue to discharge their nursing duties safely and competently as the Board sees fit.
- Submit written reports: A nurse must submit individual, employer, and sponsor-written reports per their probation program terms and conditions.
- Employer and address reporting: Probation nurses must report changes in residential and work addresses to the North Carolina Board of Nursing within a time specified in the order for probation.
- Employment limitations: A nurse on probation cannot work in specific healthcare jobs such as travel nursing or private duty nursing.
- Supervision: A NC nurse must only practice under the direct supervision of a nurse with a clear record and good standing.
- Cost recovery: A nurse is responsible for all costs arising from the investigation and enforcement actions by the Board.
- License surrender: A nurse may be stopped from practicing during probation and required to temporarily surrender their license for probation.
Other optional conditions that may be included in nursing license probation, especially in drug abuse and mental health cases, include:
- Complete all programs: A nurse must complete all programs, such as AA/NA meetings, nursing courses, and counseling sessions, as directed by their probation program.
- Abstain from drugs: Any nurse on license probation should refrain from using alcohol or other mind-altering drugs during probation.
- Accept examinations: A nurse must submit to random mental and physical examinations, such as stool and drug screening tests.
- License suspension: A nurse’s license may be suspended for a while following drug or mental health-related issues.
Any or all of these conditions might be included based on your violation.
How to Dispute Nursing License Probation and Restore Practicing Ability in North Carolina
A nursing license disciplinary action can have various consequences for a nurse. The most significant implication is that the license probation remains a public record, meaning anyone can see it in the future.
Luckily, nurses can challenge a probation decision by the North Carolina Board of Nursing if they feel it was wrongly administered. They can also restore their practicing ability once their probation is over.
The two ways nurses can do this include:
Nurses unsatisfied with the Board’s initial offer of probation can elect to have a settlement conference or a hearing for a review of their case. Similarly, nurses can file for reinstatement by the Board after completing their probationary period.
Nurses could challenge the Board’s final decision in a court of law if there is a lack of sufficient evidence, a violation of constitutional rights, or an error in law. Nurses can also seek reinstatement of their practicing ability from a court, provided they demonstrate they are sound and safe and have completed probationary terms.
Defend Against Nursing License Probation With a North Carolina License Defense Lawyer
If your nursing license is on probation, contact a nursing license defense lawyer at Remington & Dixon, PLLC in Charlotte, NC, for assistance.
FAQs on Nursing License Probation
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Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.