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Nurses off the clock are still under the microscope

You certainly understand the need for society to hold nurses to a high professional standard. While you feel proud to have such an important profession, the weight of the expectations you must meet probably get to you sometimes. 

At the end of a shift, you are likely exhausted and ready to unwind. Unfortunately, it's at this point that many nurses run into trouble.

When your professional life is judged in light of your personal life

Your personal life may be precious to you, and like many who work hard, you treasure time with family and friends, as well as just being alone. You may enjoy dinner and drinks with your spouse or a night on the town with your closest friends. Maybe you relax in front of your computer, scrolling through Facebook. It all sounds innocent, but the reality is that your actions in your personal life can be just as critical to your nursing license as your behavior on the job.

A few of the many actions that can trigger a hearing before the Arizona State Board of Nursing include:

  • A conviction for a DUI or other crimes
  • Failure to pay your taxes or any court-ordered child support
  • Violations of restraining orders
  • Fights
  • Theft or shoplifting
  • Domestic violence
  • Indecent public acts

While these things may in no direct way interfere with a nurse's ability to provide high-quality care to patients, nursing boards routinely interpret such behavior as evidence of poor judgment or other characteristics that place patients at risk.

It is also increasingly common for nurses to face disciplinary action due to their online presence. Facebook posts that mention patients -- even anonymously -- may spark charges of HIPPA violations. If you post photos of your patients, even in the most positive light and even with their permission, you risk revealing confidential information, which is not only an ethical violation but may result in legal issues.

Nurses with any of these concerns would do well to seek legal guidance from an attorney who has successfully defended the licenses of many professionals.

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