Common Misconceptions About Professional Licensure

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    Common Misconceptions About Professional Licensure

    Author: Brous, Edie

    AJN, American Journal of Nursing. 112(10):55-59, October 2012.


    In addition to successfully completing an accredited nursing program of study and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (known as NCLEX), to maintain a license in good standing a nurse must meet other requirements as determined by the individual state or territory. These requirements typically include good moral character, continuing clinical competence or continuing education, the absence of a criminal record, English proficiency, and compliance with specific provisions of the state's nursing laws.

    Many states have a specific statute, called a nurse practice act, that defines such things as the composition of the nursing board and the scope of its authority, the scope of nurses' practice, definitions of professionalism and professional misconduct, conditions for nursing-program accreditation, minimum requirements for obtaining licensure in that jurisdiction, and specific rules and regulations for maintaining licenses in good standing, and the process involved in investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action. Some states don't have a specific nurse practice act but embed the requirements in health, education, or business laws....

    Nurses are held responsible by boards of nursing for being familiar with the rules and regulations that govern their practice, and all nurses are advised to periodically review the laws and regulations, as well as any professional guidelines, advisory opinions, newsletters, practice alerts, or other nursing board publications for all states or territories in which they are licensed. Misinformation about licensure is common in the absence of such information.


    • MISCONCEPTION 1: NURSING BOARDS ARE NURSING ADVOCATES
    • MISCONCEPTION 2: PRIVATE CONDUCT ISN'T RELEVANT TO ONE'S PERFORMANCE IN A PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY
    • MISCONCEPTION 3: DISCIPLINARY ACTION TAKEN BY A STATE PERTAINS ONLY TO THAT STATE
    • MISCONCEPTION 4: LICENSURE IS A RIGHT



    *** AN MEMBERS: don't miss this AJN article.

    Article expands on each misconception point, all common themes the AN Admin Team sees here at Allnurses and attempts to reeducate our members. BON #1 priority is protection of state citizens. Licensure is a privilege granted under states rights; has stricter requirements and responsibilites than state granted drivers license. This includes MORALS CLAUSE --private conduct greatly impacts obtaining and maintaining license. Action taken by BON in one state is reportable to ALL states BON.

    Karen
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 6, '12
    Sisyphus, VivaLasViejas, VickyRN, and 6 others like this.
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    An observation/ question: What would consist of "good moral character?" Obviously, the absence of a criminal record, drug addiction, and breaching confidentiality can and will result in disciplinary action if the BON is aware. However, this is also a grey area, and very vague. "Good moral character" may be defined differently, depending on your perspective.
    Miss Lizzie, citylights89, barbyann, and 2 others like this.
  5. 3
    Way back in the day, "good moral character" meant that a nurse went to church every Sunday, was never found unchaperoned in the company of a gentleman, and did not take 'spirits' or any other intoxicant. I'd say things have changed a bit since then; still, I keep in mind that defining "good moral character" is easier when we realize that it's not whom we see, it's who sees US when it comes to the way we conduct our personal lives.

    Living in a small city, it's been my experience that patients remember their nurses far more often than nurses remember patients, and I've bumped into countless folks in public who recognized me as one of the nurses who cared for them at some time. What would it do to their confidence in nurses if they saw me reeling down the street, drunk and hanging off some guy's arm? Or standing out in the rain in front of the local greasy spoon, screaming at my husband? So while "good moral character" may be a pretty nebulous concept, most people know it when they see it.
    LTCNS, TiddlDwink, and joanna73 like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from joanna73
    An observation/ question: What would consist of "good moral character?"

    PA Commonwealth court has defined “moral turpitude” as anything done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty or good morals. moretti v.state board of pharmacy, 277 a.2d 516 (pa. cmwlth. 1971)

    My previous thread: PA License Renewal: Are you guilty of a crime of "Moral Turpitude ...provides PA BON article.

    ...the state board of nursing has adopted and applied this definition in cases before it where the licensee is charged with having been convicted, pleading guilty, entering a plea of nolo contendere,or being found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude."

    many licensees are also unaware that there are provisions in the practice acts for discipline of a license where the licensee has committed fraud or deceit in the practice of nursing or dietetics-nutrition, or in securing his or her admission to nursing practice or nursing school; or licensure as a dietitian-nutritionist. prosecuting attorneys for the department of state are increasingly utilizing this concept of fraud and deceit when filing formal charges against licensees. hence to the point, as you are aware, you are asked certain questions when you renew your license. “since your last renewal, have you been convicted, pleaded guilty, or entered a plea of nolo contendere, or received probation without verdict to any crime, felony or misdemeanor, including any dui/dwi or drug law violations, or are any criminal charge spending and unresolved in any state or jurisdiction?” ...

    ... a few say, “my lawyer said the charges were dropped.” unless you have something in writing that says the charges were dropped, report it on the renewal form and explain that you think the charges were dropped. then attempt to obtain the documentation from your attorney or from the court in which the criminal matter occurred....
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 6, '12
    joanna73 likes this.
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    and the concept is extremely open to extreme abuse....
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Way back in the day, "good moral character" meant that a nurse went to church every Sunday, was never found unchaperoned in the company of a gentleman, and did not take 'spirits' or any other intoxicant. I'd say things have changed a bit since then; still, I keep in mind that defining "good moral character" is easier when we realize that it's not whom we see, it's who sees US when it comes to the way we conduct our personal lives.

    Living in a small city, it's been my experience that patients remember their nurses far more often than nurses remember patients, and I've bumped into countless folks in public who recognized me as one of the nurses who cared for them at some time. What would it do to their confidence in nurses if they saw me reeling down the street, drunk and hanging off some guy's arm? Or standing out in the rain in front of the local greasy spoon, screaming at my husband? So while "good moral character" may be a pretty nebulous concept, most people know it when they see it.
    barbyann, VivaLasViejas, and joanna73 like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from morte
    and the concept is extremely open to extreme abuse....
    Good point.
    barbyann likes this.
  9. 7
    The concept is subjective to a degree but I well recall our thread about the hospice nurse who involved herself in a sexual relationship with a dying man while the man's wife was at work and an appalling number of responses from nurses along the lines of "you don't choose who you're going to fall in love with" etc. Some actually blamed the wife. Hopefully this will enlighten some who are unfamiliar with the concept of moral behavior and nursing practice.
    GrnTea, VivaLasViejas, sckimrn, and 4 others like this.
  10. 0
    I think the "I know it when I see it" rule applies here.
  11. 0
    Quote from nursel56
    The concept is subjective to a degree but I well recall our thread about the hospice nurse who involved herself in a sexual relationship with a dying man while the man's wife was at work and an appalling number of responses from nurses along the lines of "you don't choose who you're going to fall in love with" etc. Some actually blamed the wife. Hopefully this will enlighten some who are unfamiliar with the concept of moral behavior and nursing practice.
    Where can I find this thread...
    I am not finding it with the search bar.
  12. 0
    I remember that thread! I wonder if it got deleted. I thought it might have been false or something, just to get a lot of views or responses.


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