“I didn’t know,” is a common response when a nurse comes to my office for legal consultation and I’ve just informed them of something of which they were previously unaware. However, if they have erred on some issue, “I don’t know,” will not be a defense.
Here is a list of perhaps the 4 most frequent things that nurses will admit that they did not know.
- An educational teaching is a reprimand. If you are asked on your license renewal if you’ve ever been reprimanded, disciplined or terminated, you must respond with a, “yes.”
- Taking someone else’s prescription is practicing medicine without a license and giving one of your prescription pills to someone else is diversion. As nurses, we know what medications are used to treat what conditions. In my experience, I have dealt with nurses who took pain medications belonging to their spouse or a friend. When they were asked to do a drug screen, the result obviously came up positive for that medication. Even if you have a valid prescription for that medication in the past, it is still considered diversion. Let’s say you were prescribed pain medication after the removal of a wisdom tooth but took it later for another type of pain, that is considered practicing medicine without a license. Take only medications prescribed strictly for you, not for anyone else, and take them for ONLY that specific purpose and time, not later or for some other pain. If you have leftover medication, dispose of them properly at a prescription destruction location.
- If you were terminated from a position, you must include that information on all subsequent job applications. You cannot omit it for, if you do, it would be considered fraud and misrepresentation in obtaining a job. At the bottom of most applications, you will see a statement that you are affirming under the penalty of perjury that you have disclosed all of your nursing positions. Therefore, if you leave out one, that is fraud.
- I have heard from nurses who took CBD oil, had brownies or chocolate which they claimed contained THC saying that follow up urine drug screens came up positive. You are responsible for what goes into your body. If you don’t know the person who gives you a brownie or chocolate, play it safe. DON’T eat it.
Many nurses did not know these problems and find themselves before the Board. Now you know! Did you know these things before reading this? I would love to hear your comments below.
beth hawkes says
Great article, thank you. Can you explain how an educational teaching is a reprimand? Maybe I don’t understand what an educational teaching is. Thanks!
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
Thanks for the question. If you are in a self reporting state, and the question asks if you have been disciplined or reprimanded, at least in Indiana, they do consider an educational teaching as a reprimand. The Board wants to know about anything in your employment file. They feel that if you were given an educational teaching, then you had a knowledge deficit. Also, what I have seen in employment files with educational teaching, they are a nicer word for a reprimand. This does not include general education to a group.