A nurse who faces discipline from the licensing board can have their license suspended or revoked. This can happen for numerous reasons, from unethical practices on the job to controversial behaviors even outside of work. Much of the time, it has to do with danger to patients, which could come from negligent care, drug and alcohol abuse, poor decision-making and much more.
But how often does this really happen? There are two things to consider.
One percent of nurses will face discipline in their careers
First and foremost, the rate of discipline is said to be about one percent. This is quite low, and the reason given is often just that most nurses care about their patients. You need to be a caring individual to get into nursing in the first place, generally speaking, and this mindset translates to performance. That doesn’t mean mistakes aren’t made, but nurses are likely to at least attempt to provide proper care.
The other side of the coin, though, shows that one percent may be more than you’d assume. There are more than 5,000,000 nurses in the United States. The smaller group, at 920,655, is made up of licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The larger group, at 4,096,607, consists of registered nurses (RNs).
In any case, one percent of 5 million is still 50,000 nurses — or an average of about 1,000 nurses per state who face discipline. This is a risk that nurses need to consider. If you find yourself worrying about the future of your career, be sure you know what legal options you have.