Each year 7,000 nurses have some type of discipline placed on their license. My home State of Indiana has the highest number of nurses on probation. Other top contenders for that dubious title are Texas and Ohio. If you would like to see the discipline imposed in your State, check out the National Council of State Board of Nursing website (www.ncsbn.org) which captures all of the statistics on nurse license discipline.
If your license is placed on probation, the Board wants to watch you to ensure that you are safe to practice. There are some requirements such as keeping the Board apprised of your current address and phone number as well as reports from your supervisors. There may be other requirements such as having your employer sign the final order or having you take continuing education courses. There may even be fines. Some Boards restrict the type of environment in which you can practice or the shifts in which you can practice.
Some Board decisions may direct you to participate in counseling or in your State’s peer assistance program which helps those with addiction problems or who use controlled substances.
Remember, if any action is taken against your license, it will be a public record forever, even if the matter should eventually be dismissed.
To get off probation, a nurse must petition the Board to have the probation lifted after the nurse has met all of the requirements set forth in the probation. In a legal proceeding, under oath and recorded by a court reporter, the nurse must present all evidence and witnesses to show that she is safe to practice and that the conditions that led to her probation no longer exist. She also must demonstrate that she has complied with all the terms of the probation.
I suggest that if you are on probation, you keep all the documents that you submitted that show you were in compliance with probation. Send all documents certified and keep copies of everything.
You can still work on probation but must work harder to find a job. Rather than just submitting an application online, network to find out how to reach the decision maker directly. Probation is not the end of the world but, obviously, avoiding trouble is the best action.