Can a nurse be Disciplined in every state


Hello All,

I have a question and i am looking forward to facts, opinions, and all comments. I do not know this answer so I am putting it out to all you fine nurses. Here we go:

If a nurse held a license in a state years ago (like a travel nurse) then let it lapse (due to only needed the license while being a traveling nurse.) Then years later was disciplined for like a DUI or positive drug screen, then completed a states program and now the nurse has been working for several years as possible middle/ upper management.

Can any or all states BON where the nurse once held an active license(s) bring charges or discipline to the nurse? Keeping mind, the nurses license were inactive or lapse at the time of discipline.

Think of it this way: If having a license to drive, practice or even teach is a privilege.

If a person got a DUI in there current residing state, then every state they have previously lived and had the privilege to drive came to them to fulfill that states consequences for getting a DUI.

That does not happen!!!

How can the BON do it or don't they? If they do, Is it because they are the keeper and the states have given them power with no oversight? Or is it done because of NURSYS?

Just food for thought and to get a conversation going!!!

Thanks for your comments and questions in advance.

On the up side

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

Yes. I believe there is a fairly active poster on here who can share her story about this.

When you go to reinstate your nursing license, you will be asked about criminal charges and disciplinary actions to your nursing license. You can't lie because both of these will show up on your background check. This may trigger similar disciplinary action in the state you are trying to get re-licensed in.

Whether it's fair or not is kinda moot. A nursing license isn't a driver's license so they are not bound to operate under those guidelines.


81 Posts

Has 11 years experience.

YES! Two states I held a license in when I got charged with a DUI gave me discipline (I subsequently surrendered in both.) My state of residence where I was charged with the DUI (never convicted now dismissed under a first offender program) gave me 2 years of probation which I successfully completed and worked off. I now hold an unencumbered license in my state (yaaaaa!). I just applied for endorsement to Hawaii now that I have an "unencumbered" and free&clear license in my state. Soooooo, should be easy and I should expect to be granted an unencumbered free &clear license via endorsement in Hawaii right???? WRONG...

...a BON can do whatever they want. They can give me probation in their state as I had been formerly disciplined in another state. Again: A BON CAN DO WHAT EVER THEY WANT. Fair no. Will I survive and thrive: Heck YES! I am beyond the horrendous shame they want us to slink away with and internalize for the rest of our lives. Someone will always hire us probationers. I don't look to nursing to give me a dream job.

This experience will not keep me from living. Also, I am beginning to see that there is a lot more than nursing out there. It is a big and beautiful world.

I will keep you all posted and let you know if my new state decides I require more "discipline"........eternal punishment for 3 glasses of wine while on-call never seeing a patient nor entering a facility night of arrest-over 3 years old never convicted of a DUI 100% dismissed=punishment for life from the BONs....

Love and peace, Paidmydues (& then some)

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

Was hoping you would share your story here. Good luck with whatever happens! :)


58 Posts

Specializes in ER/ICU. Has 10+ years experience.

From what I am hearing, if you have go through and complete a recovery program in one state and want to get a license in another even if it's 10 years down the road there is a good chance you will have to complete the recovery/monitoring program again..... Does that include starting from the beginning again? Would you have to repeat an IOP, have a narcotic restriction, hours and OT restrictions etc? Sounds to me that you really never pay your dues and are always guilty. Talk about not being able to redeem yourself. People with violent criminal offenses aren't punished for the same thing for the rest of their lives. Where does it end?


81 Posts

Has 11 years experience.

YES RN2364: In CA this is true. They make you do it all over again. Expensive. Endless punishment. Stay away from CA and TX. Love and (((((hugs)))))


58 Posts

Specializes in ER/ICU. Has 10+ years experience.

As much as I want to believe it's about recovery I can't help but think that a lot of it is about MONEY! I would like to think that the Nursing Boards in various states actually care about the welfare of the public as well as the welfare of nurses. The more I read and the longer I participate in this process my heart gets heavier and heavier as I realize it's more about money than it is safety and recovery. Sorry for the rant folks. Feeling discouraged!


789 Posts

I think part of the issue with this would be whether you hold an active license in a state or try to reinstate an expired license.

For example, if I hold an active license in Michigan, but my New York and Pennsylvania license have lapsed, I do not believe Pennsylvania or New York would bring charges or discipline the nurse UNLESS they apply for reinstatement of their inactive license. Then I definitely think they would review the charges in the current state and act according to their guidelines and nurse practice act in each state.

Any current license held or application for a new license in any of the 50 states would be scrutinized for discipline or stipulations including work restrictions up to revocation.

Charges in any state can cause issues with a license in another. Even charges from the past, prior to obtaining initial licensure can come back to haunt you.


4 Posts

Nurses, nurses and nurses, I tried to hire a nurse in recovery w/ narcotic restriction and I was told that they would hire her but if anything went wrong, and they meant anything, I would "be termed" from my job as well and they put that in writing. Oh, big part of this I supervise/manage all the medical in a substance use treatment center. Now, that is oxymoron!!!! Needless to say, I felt sick really sick to my stomach, I work in a treatment center I could not offer support to another recovery nurse. That was just another time where other talk out of both sides of there &^%^%&*(&*( mouth.

So, here's another question. How can some of the recovery community be about changing the negative stigma if they do not practice what they preach? I kinda feel the same way as RN3264, heavy heart :blackeye:. This is where my hope pops in and takes over and never give up.

To Dirtyhippiegirl, Thanks for responding and my story is no different than anyone else. Tried a drug, felt normal, got caught, now have the privilege of 3 mental health DX, nicotine dependency, cocaine and ADHD, survivor of severe domestic abuse, did time with a regulatory board, narcotic restriction, peed in cup and the lab got a cheap peep show (not really, the lab was fantastic) used all my retirement funds, everything was repo'd car ,house, etc. almost homeless, student loan defaulted, fed my dog before me then i learned about food banks and charity care, lost grandpa to a drunk driver, brother died 3 years later and had to ask for help to have him cremated.

reinstated, worked in substance use treatment centers, suspended license due to paper work error, i take partial ownership. lost apartment and moved in with mother. moved to another state due money or lack of money, (sister moved us). Licensed unrestricted in that state, voluntarily entered into there state program and successfully completed. have had 2 jobs in 5 years both in management of treatment centers, got a loan for a car still reside with mother, never relapsed or returned to use of cocaine, the "i will take your healthy attitude monster" died because HOPE was stronger and some am I. I feel the pain of others when they are numb with the hope they will feel again and work through the numbness and grief process. My story is no different, we are nurses and are strong and continue to get stronger even 15 years later.

Although, i continue to hide my recovery (my secret life) because of the negative thoughts some health care professionals still have with substance use drivers. I work on shame and guilt even today. This was theraputic, thanks dirtyhippiegirl

Here the guts of the question, I was a traveling nurse before any issues and held 7RN licenses.

Now, one by one each state I have held a license in, though the licenses are not active, nor were they active when I was first diciplined nor am I seeking to reinstate, the BON's want some sort of hearing or discipline or both or MONEY.

So when does it end, from me not soon enough. There has got to be some sort of hidden law that forbids nurses from repeatedly being reprimanded for the SAME issues that have been resolved and remain resolved. Where is that law?

Thanks to all of you for remaining on this site to give others hope and respect. Your the best

on the upside


58 Posts

Specializes in ER/ICU. Has 10+ years experience.

That's all part of the problem enuf _already. If I want to move to Kentucky in 10 years and work there as an RN I have to start all over with a monitoring program even if there haven't been any incidents in 10 years. That's like saying I commit bank robbery in CA and go to jail for 5 years. Get out and have no other arrests. 10 years down the road and I want to move to Florida. Before I do that do I need to spend 5 years in Florida's prison before I can move? It's essentially being punished over and over and over.....

i would love love to hear other points of views... Opinions..... Experiences in this matters

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.

Honestly I thought the initial reason for disciplinary records transferring to different states were for criminal issues...specifically thinking of Charles Cullen who killed patients lost his license crossed state lines and started all over again because state 2 only checked educational not disciplinary background sufficiently. I know that's an issue with some states with NLC that not all states do the same level of background check.

I could see if there was a standard treatment for nurses in recovery say a 5 year program. If you lived in FL and needed to move to CT to be closer to family for whatever reason you would be credited for successful completion of years 1&2 in FL and then transfer the recovery program in CT for years 3-5. Notwithstanding those in denial that are not compliant and relapse the minute they turn in a sample (and sadly there are humans that prefer the life of an addict).

Honestly until I started reading here I had no idea that if a nurse completed their recovery contract in state one and it was equivalent to the contract of state two without issue or evidence of relapse the second state would not count the completed disciple and honor that the contract was successfully completed. They'd just double the fines, discipline and recovery plan.

Just wow.

It would be one thing if you had a DUI man slaughter in FL then had a DUI manslaughter in CT and owed time & fines to each state but, to me, single incident = single punishment.

But then again I think logic not bureaucracy.

With the exception of highly egregious, caused harm or death to others (such as shot up with heroin in the bathroom then injected patients with heroin and KCl). That's a but different.

One crime = one punishment


81 Posts

Has 11 years experience.

Yes friends it was a gradual realization for me that, after finishing probation in my home state and my license is unencumbered, I will not necessarily receive my unencumbered license in another. I have decided that if HI wants me to serve more probation I will appeal. It will be my pleasure to quietly stand before the board and again quietly advocate for myself. I shall help the members of the board see that there are real, live, normal, healthy, vibrant nurses behind their decisions.

...and on to Hawaii. I will be starting a massage therapy program in Hilo on Sept. 1st! I will be living on a senior hippy commune. If need be, I have a return ticket for next summer. I will work at the sweet community hospital that got me thru probation and rent a room in my friend's home for several months and then hi-tail it back to HI. After 2 years I am valuable to them now. Last night shift I started out in ED, went to M/S and ended up admitting patients for day-surgery. DIVERSIFY IN PROBATION!!!!

If I must accept probation in HI, I have already targeted several nursing homes and treatment centers (treatment centers can hire us at 2 years + of recovery). I will appeal to the board for homecare priviliges. The technique that worked for me was to focus on and personally hand my resume into the hands of a busy DON at a SNF and call them every 2 weeks or so. That is how I got my first 2 jobs in probation. Finally I got a very nice job in a rural community hospital where I very comfortably worked off my probation.

Yes, and I am one of those who lost everything and have come back. YOU CAN TOO!!! Private message me and I will give you a pep talk. I believe in us!

My dear tribe, do not loose hope. We will get through all of this to the other side. PLAN: Hawaii, India in Feb., 2017, then perhaps New Zealand Nov., 2017.

The world is sooooo big and you all

Paid. (((((hugs)))))