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The Dilemma of Multiple Licenses

Can I receive a reprimand on my license out of state?

Career Nurse Attorney Article Magazine   posted

Specializes in Medical Legal Consultant.

Dear Lorie: I have a license in Indiana for which I have received a reprimand. I just got a complaint filed in Ohio where I also have a license. Can Ohio also take action against my license?

The Dilemma of Multiple Licenses
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Dear License Dilemma,

If you have multiple licenses, you are subject to multiple actions against it for the same thing.

It’s as if you have a suspended driver’s license in Indiana for driving under the influence. Ohio would not want you driving in their state so Ohio has a right to know about the status of your driver’s license. The same is true with your nursing license as Ohio has a right to know about your Indiana nursing license status and possibly could take action on your Buckeye State license in response to issues attached to your Hoosier license.

Some think that by refusing to renew their license in another state, no action will be taken. This is incorrect. Actions even can be taken against an expired license because the public has a right to know that action was taken against you in another state.

Should you choose to reactivate that license, that state for that license wants to have a record of actions in any other state. Once an action is taken against your license, no matter where, it is on your record forever and available to the public for all to see at http://www.nursys.com.

It can also take many years for action to be taken against a nurse’s license. The American Association of Nurse Attorneys has published a position paper on the statute of limitations and retained jurisdiction. The paper’s purpose is to create awareness and, hopefully, states will do something about how long it takes for charges to be filed against your license. When it takes so long for actions to be filed, it can be difficult to remember what happened years ago, memory fades and witnesses become unavailable.

The paper also discusses retained jurisdiction, the state’s ability to file charges against your license when you no longer have a license.

The paper is a valuable reference but, unfortunately, should you have multiple licenses, I call it the “domino effect” because action can be taken against all of those licenses.


Lorie A. Brown is a Nurse Attorney representing nurses before the licensing board and founder of EmpoweredNurses. org. Empowering Nurses at the bedside and in business. Are you an Empowered Nurse? Take the quiz at areyouanempowerednurse.com

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HarleyvQuinn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Military, ER/Trauma, Psych, Post-Partum, Med-Surg.

I honestly wonder if these problems, which really seem to be caused by the fragmentation created by a state-run system for regulating licensure, would be corrected if there was one national license and one national standard by which we practiced. Each state could still have their own board to divide the workload, but it would eliminate problems that California is having right now while improving the ability of our workforce to respond to areas facing shortages. Not to mention less red tape for everyone.


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