What kind of lawyer can answer my questions?

  1. I am applying for a license by endorsement in a state that requests mental health disclosure as follows:

    "Within the past five years, have you been or are you currently being treated, or on medicationfor, any mental or emotional illness which may impair or interfere with your ability to practicesafely and in a competent and professional manner?"

    These are my questions:

    Does one have to disclose this information if they have been stable on medication for the last five years, and have never been unfit to practice due to a mental illness?

    What are the consequences of withholding this information if the condition comes out in the future?

    Will employers be able to access this personal medical information through the BON?

    Is the BON likely to deny an application with a disclosure?

    I have looked through the allnurses archives and found conflicting information, and I would like to consult a lawyer. Stigma can be a serious problem in the nursing world, and a disclosure follows a person for the rest of their career, so I need to be sure I am doing the right thing. My inclination is to provide the information, but I don't want to regret it. What kind of lawyer should I be looking for?
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  2. Visit 1blueheron profile page

    About 1blueheron

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 4
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    15 Comments

  3. by   chare
    Quote from 1blueheron
    I am applying for a license by endorsement in a state that requests mental health disclosure as follows:

    "Within the past five years, have you been or are you currently being treated, or on medication for, any mental or emotional illness which may impair or interfere with your ability to practice safely and in a competent and professional manner?
    [...]
    I would think that if you have been stable on your treatment plan then no, you shouldn't have to report this. However, as this can greatly impact you future license, consulting an attorney would be wise. If you are unable to locate an attorney in your area with experience in dealing with your state's board of nursing, you might find The American Association of Nurse Attorneys helpful.

    Best wishes.
  4. by   1blueheron
    Thank you, chare, I will check it out.
  5. by   Randomnurse3
    Your medical records are private unless you are being investigated and then you still have to sign a waiver to release them to the board of nursing. You do not have to disclose this information unless you choose to. However please be aware if you choose to disclose the medication it could cause interference with obtaining a license. If you have been stable for five years there is no reason why you should disclose it.
  6. by   ChryssyD
    The answer to your question is in the phrasing of the Board's query: "...which may impair or interfere with your ability to practice safely and in a competent and professional manner." If you believe that your illness will not impact your practice, you can honestly answer this question with a "no."

    At the end of the day, the Board has no right to know your medical history. For heaven's sake, don't tell them anything they don't need to know. They are not your friend--they are simply looking for reasons to reject or monitor you, in the name of "public safety." Bollocks. They're afraid of lawsuits. Treat them like the cowards they are--give them as little information as possible, because they can't handle the truth.
  7. by   elkpark
    Be aware that, if you withhold information they are asking for and it later comes out at some point that you withheld the information, that by itself is grounds for them to take your license. The BONs do not look kindly upon being lied to, whether by commission or omission.
  8. by   1blueheron
    Thank you traumagyrl and ChryssyD. I was hoping that self-reporting is voluntary but I got nervous when I saw posts about the "world of hurt" a person would be in if their illness came to light later on. I have no illusions about the benevolence of the BON and would strongly prefer to keep my sensitive medical information confidential.
  9. by   1blueheron
    Yes, elkpark, that is what I am afraid of. I don't expect any problems but who knows what will happen in the future?

    Do you know if potential employers can access this information? The application says:

    All information submitted with this application is considered public information unless required by state or federal law to remain confidential. Licensee information, including mailing address, is available on the Division's website at Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.
  10. by   Randomnurse3
    Noone can access your medical history without your approval! No need to raise any red flags with the board.
  11. by   Alex Egan
    Be aware that answering yes may lead to you being placed on a sanctioned license, such as no night shift, requires direct supervision, no home care. I have herd of some being placed on the same monitoring programs as nurses caught diverting. When you answer yes, the BON is going to have to do SOMETHING, they can't just ignore it. You may run into trouble and they have to be able to say "see we did something to make sure this nurse was safe".
  12. by   canoehead
    I doubt the board would approve of my response. I would say "no" on the grounds that its none of their business. I passed the nursing program, passed the NCLEX and I've worked for x amount of years, and done a good job. If your health doesn't interfere with your nursing, its none of their beeswax.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    I disclosed my bipolar I diagnosis on my renewal application a few years ago because it actually has impaired my ability to practice. However, I've never gotten any pushback from the BON and I still have an unencumbered license. Maybe it's because I haven't practiced as a nurse in four years and am on disability. I've continued to renew my license though, *just in case* I decide to try to work again, which is highly unlikely given my memory issues and inability to manage rapidly changing priorities. I'll have to let it lapse next time because I won't have met the 900-hours-in-five-years work requirement. But if I had it to do all over again, I'd still disclose, because getting caught lying to the BON is one of the worst things that can happen to a nurse.
  14. by   DextersDisciple
    To echo what most have already said, I always answer "no" since my ability to work has never been compromised.

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