Over the past 20 years, I’ve represented more than 300healthcare providers before the various licensing boards. I’ve seen nurses accused of practicing medicine without a license for misunderstanding the dosage, nurses accused of neglect for failing to answer another nurse’s patient’s alarm like when the other nurse said she would answer it, and nurses accused of abuse for removing a patient’s hand off a foley catheter as the patient was trying to yank it out.…[entire article ]
Guest post by Caroline Porter Thomas
Hello & Thank you for reading!
A special thanks also to Lorie, for having me.
My name is Caroline Porter Thomas and I’m so excited that you are reading this! I believe that you can truly be happy in your career as a nurse, but, it does take a little work.
The nursing job can be very physically and mentally challenging. Most of the time you are working short handed and there will be multiple times that you will have to handle people directing anger towards you, when things are out of your hands.
Although there are many nurses experiencing burnout, there are tons of ways that you could be really happy as a nurse!
Here is a list of 10 things that I do to stay super excited about my job!
- One of the very first things that I would recommend is beginning your day with being thankful, by writing down 5 things that you are grateful for. When we are grateful for the things around us, we feel wealthy, and when we feel wealthy, we are happier 🙂
- Another thing that I recommend is to always be on the lookout for ways to grow… become curious and interested in everything. Ask anyone and everyone questions!! About everything, new discoveries, new procedures, their personal lives… ect.
- Stay busy in your body, but clear in your head… as you walk say THANK YOU!!!
- Avoid nurses that complain… nothing good can come from complaining and it will just bring you down… so you can do 2 things to get out of the situation. 1st say to that person playfully “If you didn’t have this to complain about, then you would find something else ;)” or 2. My personal favorite, act ditzy… Really? I didn’t notice… the complainer will get tired of you and find someone else who gets it (hehe)!
- Never ever compare your assignment with someone else. This is a personal journey and you are given the assignment that you are supposed to have.
- Plan on ways to fill your body with proper nutrients and hydration!
- Find your Creator in the hospital… if you look for love you will find it!
- Turn harsh voices into funny sounds to erase the emotional impact and help you laugh about it!!!
- Look for ways to spread love to your patients! Look each of them in the eye with a welcoming smile! Give appropriate and kind physical gestures, such as a gentle touch on the shoulder!
- Find ways to go the extra mile. If a co-worker asks you to start an IV, Document it as well and check to see if they are on IV fluids and then start it for them! Little things like that will make you feel better and help everyone else around you as well!
Bonus 😉 Most importantly… do not take yourself too seriously! Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake, be easy and fun to talk to and don’t be afraid to ask a stupid question!
I hope this has added some value to your life!!
With Much Love,
– Caroline Porter Thomas
Many nurses incorrectly believe that the only nurses who end up before the Licensing Board are impaired. This is simply not true.
An impaired nurse is someone who uses alcohol or a controlled substance on a regular basis and to the extent that it interferes with their work. And here’s a sad fact, many of these nurses don’t know that they have a problem.
Yes, there are a fair number of impaired nurses and, surprisingly, the incident of impaired nurses is the same as the general public even though nurses have increased access to controlled substances.
I have had nurses forge prescriptions or call in a prescription for a friend or loved one. I’ve had some steal other nurse’s Pyxis code to obtain narcotics. Others “cheat” the monitoring programs while still using. Some nurses also try to obtain materials that neutralize the controlled substance or dilute their urine so it will not show on a urine drug screen.
I believe that alcohol and drug use somehow creates a chemical reaction in the mid-brain that is so powerful that it creates an intense desire for the substance that cannot be sated. This intense desire causes someone to act in ways that he/she would not normally act so as to feed the craving and achieve the desired chemical reaction in the mid-brain.
In Indiana, where I live, I have represented many nurses who were accused of stealing controlled substances from a hospital. In fact, there are software programs out there that will track to see if a nurse administers narcotics more frequently than other nurses on the unit.
There even is software that can track every time a nurse fails to co-sign a waste. Therefore, your employer is watching you.
I think most nurses would never do this as we are trustworthy, caring people. I think is so sad though that the addiction can be so powerful that it overcomes the impaired nurse’s inhibition and they will do anything to get that substance.
If you are using any controlled substance other than for acute situations go to an addictionologist who can evaluate you and do an assessment on you to determine your propensity for addiction. It is better if you don’t use controlled substances except for limited circumstances such as when you need them after surgery or an acute injury.
Unfortunately, many doctors are so quickly to resort to prescriptions. Most states have a Peer Assistance Program. If you do have an addiction or use problem, the best way to protect your license is to get help. The nurses who have gone through the recovery program have learned skills to deal with problems and seem to be happier and more fulfilled in their jobs and in their lives.
You play the role of the nurturing caretaker and fearless problem-solver in your everyday life. Whether it’s with your children, your coworkers, or your friends, people often turn to you for both advice and for comfort. You’regret at putting the needs of others above your own…[entire article ]
I frequently get panic calls saying “HELP! I just got a letter that I have to appear before the Board.”
The first thing that I would suggest is to take a deep breath and read this.
There are two types of communications you may get from the Board. The first is an investigation letter and the second is actual charges against your license.
If you receive an investigation letter giving you twenty days to respond, it is important that you respond carefully because what you put in your response could be used against you. My best advice is to hire an attorney with experience before the Board who can help you craft your response in a light most favorable for you.
Most nurses I have represented who had responded themselves are very well meaning and good intentioned but usually they put things in the letter that can hurt them. If you do choose to respond yourself, note that the Board wants to know that you are safe to practice. So, include any information that, indeed, will show the Board that you are safe to practice. Feel free to provide documents if you need.
If you get charges before the Board, this is something altogether different. To get charges means that the State is pretty sure that they can prove their case. The Board can do any one or a combination of the following:
- Give you a reprimand which basically is a slap on the wrist saying “don’t do that again.”
- Put your license on probation with the Board giving specific terms with which you must comply in order to maintain your license while on probation.
- Suspend your license meaning that you will not be able to practice as a nurse.
- Revoke your license.
- Fine you and/or require you to take continuing education.
A hearing is a legal proceeding and you will be required to legally present your case to the Board. Witnesses will be sworn in with a court reporter to record the proceedings including everything that you say.
The State will call witnesses against you to prove their case and you will have the right to cross examine them.
Another option is that you may be able to settle your case rather than have to present it to the Board. If it is possible to negotiate a good settlement, it is preferable to leaving your fate in the hands of all the Board members
I know being called before the Board is a scary and very difficult situation. Every nurse I have represented has said “I never thought I’d get called before the Board.” Also, every nurse I have represented has gotten through this process and has since moved on with their life.
You have an emotional investment in the outcome of the case whereas an attorney does not. That means the attorney can better pursue your legal rights in your best interest.
I hope this never happens to you but, if it does, you know now what to expect.