Nursing is an incredibly stressful profession. Those who dedicate themselves to facilitating other people’s health often have to work long shifts in demanding environments. Nursing jobs often mean that people witness trauma and sometimes have significant traumas of their own, such as when a patient becomes violent and attacks those who are providing their care.
It is often a smart move for those who are struggling with high levels of stress to pursue treatment from a mental health professional. Yet, nursing as a profession requires that individuals maintain good health, including good mental health, to properly care for others. As a result, it is understandable that some nurses wonder whether seeing a counselor to address mental health issues could put their nursing license at risk.
Most treatment won’t impact professional qualifications
There is no black-and-white answer that will apply to every case where a nurse requires mental health support in California. In many cases, employers and the California Board of Registered Nursing would have no reason to hear about someone undergoing treatment for mental health concerns. Medical privacy laws typically prevent the release of that type of information without a patient’s consent.
However, mental health professionals may have to make a report if they believe that someone may be a danger to themselves or the people in their care. In some cases, nurses accused of misconduct or negligence might face a review of their recent personal behaviors, which could include their decision to attend therapy.
For some nurses facing discipline, proactively getting help could contribute to a nurse’s defense of their license. In other cases, attending therapy could lend credibility to claims that a nurse has mental health issues that make them unfit for their job.
No one should avoid treatment out of professional concern
Those who know they need mental health support should not forgo treatments just because they worry that the California Board of Registered Nursing would find out about their decision to attend counseling. Struggling workers who admit to getting help for themselves shouldn’t have to worry about medical discrimination, as both federal and state laws protect them.
In some cases, getting counseling when facing disciplinary issues could even help someone protect their license. The nature of the claims against a nurse will directly influence the best response if someone wants to preserve their license. Mounting a vigorous defense with the help of a legal professional during disciplinary hearings is often important for nurses who have been accused of professional failures or misconduct that could affect their patients.