Each year, hundreds of nurses in Ohio face discipline to their nursing license based on a variety of circumstances ranging from violations of the Nurse Practice Act (R.C. 4734) to being found guilty of a criminal offense (such as a DUI) or for being diagnosed with drug or alcohol abuse or addiction. Often nurses face a temporary suspension of their license or are required to submit to random drug screens or other probationary monitoring terms once their nursing license is reinstated during a probationary period.
Under the Ohio public records law, an Order of the Nursing Board or a Consent Agreement that is negotiated between the nurse and the Nursing Board is a matter of public record. The sanction is noted on the Nursing Board website and the actual Order or Consent Agreement is often loaded on the Nursing Board website for anyone to download and read.
Based on the public nature of Nursing Board disciplinary actions, I am often asked “Will I ever find a job as a nurse in Ohio if I have a disciplinary action against my license?” In general, the answer is “Yes!”
Over the past fifteen years, I have represented hundreds of nurses before the Nursing Board. Based on my experience, even nurses who have received treatment for drug or alcohol abuse or who have been found to have violated the Ohio Nurse Practice Act, which has resulted in suspensions of their licenses, eventually can find employment in the field of nursing once their license has been reinstated. However, it is important to note that securing employment can be more difficult for a nurse who has a limited or restricted license.
I typically find that nurses who are honest with employers and clearly and accurately explain the basis for their disciplinary action, as well as the steps that they have taken to remediate the situation have the best chance of finding employment as a nurse. Employers are generally willing to give disciplined nurses a chance at employment if they believe that the nurse has remedied their situation, that they have taken responsibility for their actions, and that they are honest about their conduct.
To prepare to discuss a Board disciplinary matter with an employer, I always advise clients to prepare a “one minute elevator speech” in which the nurse discloses and addresses the disciplinary action taken. I have found that employers do not like to be blindsided about a disciplinary action after they have already employed an individual or to learn of a disciplinary action in a background check. It’s best to head off any questions that an employer might have about your past and tell them yourself up front.
This blog is intended as general guidance and may not fit your particular situation. As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please email me at Beth@collislaw.com or call me at (614) 486-3909.