Surrendered license, can I get it back?

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Dear Nurse Beth,

*Eight years ago I was going through a manic phase in what turned out to be bipolar that was not yet diagnosed properly. After 12 years of having a stellar record I diverted Neurontin and was fired from my hospital.

Two and a half years later I was asked to surrender my license and did so because I did not realize that I should have consulted an attorney and could have taken a different course of action. That was six and a half years ago. Currently I am on disability for my bipolar disorder and recurrent leukemia. I miss working as a nurse and my bipolar is stable. Is it too late for me to get back into nursing? Where do I start? Would I need to take the nursing boards again?

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Is it too Late,

It's good to hear you're  stable and wanting to work again. 

You voluntarily surrendered your license over 6 years ago.  You might be able to  petition your state BON or BRN to have it reinstated if you did not agree at the time to  a permanent surrender. Some states consider surrender to be permanent.

States vary as to the requirements for reinstatement. You may have to pay a fine, complete CEs, or retake the NCLEX, depending. There may be a probationary period if it is reinstated. Start by looking on your BON's website using the search term "reinstatement". The Petition for Reinstatement is a process and typically a set of documents must be gathered and completed.  

You should retain an attorney who has experience with your state's BON  to guide you. A good attorney could mean the difference between being reinstated or not. It is expensive but you have to look at how much money you'll be making if you get reinstated.

Contact the American Association of Nurse Attorneys to find an attorney. In your favor is that a significant amount of time has passed (which is good) and the incident was tied to a medical condition you had at the time.

There will most likely be a hearing at which you must show remorse, take responsibility for your actions, and show proof of rehabilitation. The onus is on you to show 

You may have also been put on the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Exclusion List, which means that even if your license is reinstated, you will have trouble getting hired by any employer that accepts Medicare funds. You would then have to get taken off of the OIG list.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Related: Criminal Infraction: Writing a Letter of Explanation to the BON