Confidence is probably something that came to you over time. In the beginning of your studies to be a nurse, you may have had moments when you felt overwhelmed and even considered dropping your plans. However, you now wear the scrubs and carry the stethoscope, and your work is an important and rewarding part of your life.
While you may be confident in your nursing skills, it is important not to become complacent. Thousands of nurses have found their licenses and their careers in jeopardy because they relaxed their vigilance on and off the job.
It’s the little things
Perception is everything, and a patient or co-worker’s complaint to the board may stem from a misunderstanding. Something as seemingly insignificant as your tone of voice when you speak to a patient or a breakdown in staff communication can lead to an investigation into your ethics and competence. Some simple ways you can protect your nursing license include the following:
- Remember you are under scrutiny even in your civilian life, so remain professional.
- Avoid wearing your nursing scrubs in public when you are off duty.
- Ask for clarification and seek advice before performing any nursing tasks that are outside your training and skills or that make you uncomfortable.
- If you must have a social media presence, be scrupulous about protecting patient privacy by never posting anything about work.
- Seek help quickly if you have a drug or alcohol problem.
If you should receive a summons to appear before the nursing board, it is not wise to discuss the matter with anyone except your attorney. You may feel compelled to explain yourself and get your co-workers to rally around you, but it is best to seek legal advice before sharing any details of the charges.
Where to seek help
The years of courses and late-night studying, thousands of dollars in tuition and fees, and the heart and soul you devoted to obtaining your nursing license may count for little if you lose your license for one careless mistake. No one holding a professional license is immune from the possibility that a disciplinary committee may suspend or revoke the privilege if it deems you a danger to patients.
If you are facing a challenge to your nursing license, you do not want to take a chance and go through the process without solid legal assistance. It is important that your advocacy comes from a professional who has extensive experience with professional licensure and the workings of the Arizona State Board of Nursing.