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What sort of disciplinary measures can be taken against nurses?

There is no question that you've worked very hard to earn your nurse license, hitting the books for countless hours, striving to make connections in the medical community and investing considerable energy into finding the position that's right for you.

That's why it can be so discouraging and so frightening to learn that you are under investigation for a potential violation of the Nurse Practice Act.

Naturally, one of the first questions you probably have is what can happen to your nurse license?

The Minnesota Board of Nursing may end up handing down some type of disciplinary measure that it believes is not only appropriate in light of the circumstances, but which will also serve to protect the public. What this means is that the decision reached is never motivated by any sort of animus.

Some of the disciplinary measures that can be taken by the board include:

Reprimands:

One of the more common types of disciplinary actions, reprimands are essentially public admonishments for engaging in various forms of prohibited conduct such as writing prescriptions without the necessary authorization or practicing without the necessary registration. It's not uncommon for reprimands to be issued in conjunction with some sort of civil fine.  

Limited License:

This disciplinary measure takes things a bit further by actively limiting the scope of practice until such time as any ordered requirements are satisfied.

The affected nurse, whose registration certificate will communicate their limited status, will also be subject to certain conditions in the interim. For example, direct supervision of their activities by a senior registered nurse may be required or access to controlled substances may be forbidden.  

We will continue to explore the various disciplinary measures that can be taken against nurses in our next post. In the meantime, consider speaking with a dedicated legal professional if you've received any sort of communication from the Board of Nursing that could affect your career and your reputation.

Source: Minnesota Board of Nursing, "Forms of disciplinary action," Accessed Feb. 12, 2015

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