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What constitutes actionable unprofessional nurse conduct?

The range of actions and behavior that could threaten a professional license routinely surprises nurses working in California. It can be disheartening to feel like you are always in the middle of planning a nursing license defense.

Complacency can strike at any moment and cause you to lapse into potentially license-threatening behaviors that seem harmless to you. In most cases, a strong nursing license defense can save your license, but it is always better to avoid any negative attention from the state administrative board.

There are things you can do to help avoid an investigation by the board. Following are some examples that could put your license in the hands of the board.

  • Allegations of unsafe actions such as making medication errors or exhibiting signs of incompetence
  • Unethical or unprofessional conduct such as discrimination harassment of staff or patients and developing inappropriate relationships with patients
  • Criminal convictions, including convictions involving immorality, patient abuse and misrepresentation or fraud
  • Behaviors involving addiction or the abuse of alcohol and other substances

Substance abuse, both involving alcohol and drugs, has become an alarming problem for many nurses. State nursing boards in California and across the country take such matters seriously

Even if a complaint against you is 100 percent false, the board will have to investigate the issue, which could lead to disciplinary procedures. However, you have rights, including the right to legal counsel.

An attorney practicing in the field of nursing license defense can be an invaluable resource when facing the state licensing board. Having legal support and guidance can also help you avoid mistakes that might worsen an already distressing situation.

Source: American Nurses Association, "Legal Basics for Professional Nursing: Nurse Practice Acts," Mable H. Smith, RN, JD, PhD, accessed May 02, 2018

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