A nurse who had served 6 years in a federal prison for downloading sexually explicit images and videos of minors was rehired by a small Montana hospital. The nurse’s downloading of the exploitive imageries had been going on for 9 years when federal investigators traced her activities in 2008. Prior to her conviction, she was a casual status employee who picked up other nurse’s shifts at the facility but, after serving time, the hospital board rehired her as a nurse. When she was in prison, her license was placed on suspension. Once the nurse was released from prison, the Montana Board of Nursing felt she was safe to practice and she was able to renew her license. Would you want someone with a conviction of child pornography taking care of you, your child or a family member?
Certainly, her illicit activities did not interfere with her ability to practice nursing but it does bring up a question that is the target of my writing here: should a nurse be allowed to practice after he/she has been convicted of a criminal matter?
What about a person with drinking problems who chose to get behind the wheel of a car, crashed into another vehicle and killed the occupants? The person was imprisoned for manslaughter and decided after their prison sentence that they wanted to be a nurse after being rehabilitated and serving their time. Should a person who has committed manslaughter be allowed to be a nurse?
These are the types of ethical issue that boards across the country deal with every day, I certainly do not have any answers. While I do believe that everyone deserves a second chance, each situation is unique.
The more direct issue here is whether that person is safe to practice as a nurse. With the growing nursing shortage, hospitals are dealing with difficult questions and issues such as these. Should the Nursing Board give the nurse a license and let the employer determine if they should be hired? I would not be surprised to learn that all of my readers have a different opinion on them as well.
Like many areas in nursing, this is just one of those matters in which there may not be uniformity on how to approach such problems. However, I do believe we need to get a consensus on these kinds of issues to unite as a profession.
I’m hesitant to ask but, nevertheless, I will … what are your thoughts about these difficult ethical issues? Please leave a comment below.
Lorie Brown discusses the 5 Fatal Mistakes that Nurses make when they appear before the Nursing Board or talk to investigators without legal representation. The Fatal Mistakes include oversharing, not knowing how to object, what evidence you need to present, not knowing or understanding the ramifications of any settlement you agree to, and how to possibly mitigate discipline on your nursing license.
Lorie Brown, R.N., M.N., J.D. interviews Kathleen Russell, J.D., M.N., R.N., Senior Policy Advisor, Nursing Regulation of the National Counsel of State Boards of Nursing. Some of the topics include their mission and members, their new Welcome to the Nursing Profession Booklet and video, the nurses’ license and discipline database, Nursys.com, and the e-Notify service as well as the continuing education courses they provide on www.LearningExt.com.
The e-Notify service will notify you in advance when your license(s) need to be renewed and if any disciplinary action has been filed against your license(s). This is a great option for any nurses that are licensed in multiple states.
They also discuss the full practice authority initiative for Advance Practice Nurses – nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists – at the website: www.NursingAmerica.org.
Ms. Russell also introduces their brand new website at www.NCSBN.org and invites all nurses to check out all of their resources.
Lastly, they discuss their article on National Nursing Guidelines for Medical Marijuana that was published in the Journal of Nursing Regulation.
09/14/2018 Edit: Find the New Nurse Welcome Booklet at https://www.ncsbn.org/12096.htm.
I was shocked and dismayed to hear of a lawsuit by a black nurse against Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan. This nurse apparently overheard a patient tell another nurse to not let “that Black bitch” take care of him.
This is shocking. As nurses, we are taught to be non-judgmental and take care of everyone. Unfortunately, not all of our patients are necessarily the same when it comes to being non-judgmental about those who provide their care.
It is one thing for a patient to request that a particular nurse not take care of them because they had concerns about the care provided by that nurse. However, it is another thing to request a nurse to not take care of you presumably due only to the color of their skin.
A nurse has a duty to ALL patients on a unit. In this matter, the nurse was not allowed to take care of that patient or any other patient in that room.
Now, should something happen to that particular patient, despite his skin color not matching hers, she still has a legal duty to take of him.
I don’t know what will happen with this lawsuit but I am curious to learn.
It is sad that her hospital would blindly accept a patient’s request like this, simply based on the color of her skin without telling the patient that ALL of the nurses are properly trained and ALL are capable of providing the proper and precise care.
Have you ever had a situation like this occur? If you were a manager, what would you do in this situation?
I’d love to read your comments below.