Yes, you can find a nursing job even if you have been disciplined by the Nursing Board

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 or call me at (614) 486-3909.

What is a Nursing Board Consent Agreement?

Under the Ohio Nurse Practice Act, R.C. 4723.28, the Nursing Board can deny, revoke, suspend, reprimand, impose a fine or place limitations on a nursing license.

To take disciplinary action against a nurse, the Nursing Board first must  charge the nurse with violating some provision of the Ohio Nurse Practice Act. Notice is usually provided to the nurse in a citation letter, entitled, “Notice of Opportunity for Hearing.”  The Notice letter outlines the alleged misconduct (the basis for the action), specifies the section of the Nurse Practice Act that the nurse has allegedly violated, and provides the nurse with an opportunity to request a hearing before the Nursing Board concerning the allegations.

However, in some instances, the Nursing Board will send a nurse a document called a “Consent Agreement” without issuing a Notice.  The Consent Agreement is a contract between the nurse and the Nursing Board in which the nurse agrees that the specified violations of the Nurse Practice Act occurred, agrees to accept a specified discipline, and waives his or her right to a hearing. While signing a Consent Agreement may be the best route for the nurse, there are issues that should be considered before entering into a Consent Agreement with the Nursing Board.

A Consent Agreement is a formal disciplinary action of the Nursing Board and is a public document under the Ohio Public Records law (R.C. 149). As a public record, the Nursing Board must make the document available to the public and may post the actual agreement on their website. The Board will also list the name of the nurse and the discipline imposed in the Board ‘s quarterly Momentum magazine in the Disciplinary Actions section.

Negotiating the terms and condition of the Consent Agreement can result in changes and/or clarifications.  As with any legal, binding agreement, prior to signing the Consent Agreement, it is recommended to have it reviewed by experienced legal counsel so that you clearly understand what you are agreeing to in the document.

In addition, even after you complete any discipline imposed by the Consent Agreement, the Consent Agreement will always remain as a part of your professional record with the Nursing Board. Unlike some criminal cases, there is no way to seal or expunge a disciplinary action taken by the Nursing Board. Therefore,  it is important that you understand and agree to all the terms in the Consent Agreement and that the Consent Agreement accurately reflects the facts in your case.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to email me at or call me at 614-486-3909.

Nursing Board disciplinary actions are public and posted on the Board’s website

I am often asked by nurses, if a disciplinary action taken by the Nursing Board against their license will be available to the public. The answer is Yes.  Under the Ohio Public Records law, R.C. 149.43, any official action taken by a governmental agency is a public record.

What does this mean? Prior to the internet, to obtain a public record from a governmental agency a written request for the document was required. You can still do that today.  Now, however, all Nursing Board disciplinary actions are posted on the Nursing Board’s website and are also listed in the back of the quarterly magazine Momentum, that is issued by the Nursing Board and mailed or emailed to every nurse in the state.

To see what is listed about you or another nurse on the Board’s website, interested persons can go to the link on the Nursing Board’s website to obtain information about a particular licensee, enter their name and they will be presented with a summary list of any discipline against that nurse.  A person can click on the “view documents” box (which is in bright yellow) and download the entire disciplinary record (copies of Citation letters, Consent Agreements, Adjudication Orders or any Court appeals documents).  To find information go to:

Now, certainly any information about a medical diagnosis or medical condition that might have formed the basis of a disciplinary action is redacted and not included in the public record?  Sorry, that is not true. The documents are not redacted. All the information, including any medical diagnosis, criminal conviction, boundary violation, the factual and legal basis for the action and the disciplinary action taken against the licensee is all included in the public record on the Nursing Board’s website.

As a follow-up question, I am often asked whether the disciplinary action is taken off the website and out of the public record once the licensee completes any suspension or probation period? Unfortunately, no. Once a disciplinary action is taken, it is on the professionals’ “permanent record” and will not be sealed, removed or redacted.

The argument given for including all disciplinary actions of the Nursing Board in the public record is that consumers should be able to know if their medical professional has been the subject of discipline by the Nursing Board.

However, only proposed disciplinary actions and final actions (be it a Consent Agreement or Adjudication Order) are made public. Complaints submitted to the Nursing  Board and any Board investigations are confidential. Under the Nurse Practice Act, R.C. 4723.28 (I)(1) investigations of the Nursing Board are confidential and are not open for public disclosure.  However, this restriction  also pertains to the licensee and their legal counsel. When a complaint is filed with the Nursing Board, the licensee may be notified of the general nature of the complaint, but they will not be provided with a copy of the complaint or even given the name of the person who filed the complaint.  This rule however does not prevent the Nursing Board from sharing any part of their investigation with other governmental agencies, such as a police department or another Board.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or would like me to address a particular question, feel free to email me at or call me at 614-486-3909.