One small oversight is all it takes to put your nursing license — and your entire career — in danger. So, what can you do to protect yourself?
Follow this guide:
1. Don’t disregard protocol.
The protocols used by your facility are there to protect both nurses and patients, so make sure that you understand exactly what they are in any given situation.
2. Don’t be intimidated.
You may find yourself pushed to cut corners or do something unethical. Whether that demand comes from a co-worker, a supervisor or a doctor, you have to take a stand for what you know to be the ethical, moral and legal. Hold your ground if you know that you’re right.
3. Don’t rely on others.
When something is your responsibility, make sure that you attend to it. No matter how genuine your co-workers may seem when they offer to take on something for you, you can’t assume that anyone cares as much about your license and your future as you do.
4. Don’t forget that you’re being watched.
These days, there are cameras everywhere. More than one nurse has lost their license after being caught on camera doing something that was morally questionable or outright illegal. Always assume that you’re under scrutiny and behave accordingly.
5. Don’t be overly free on social media.
One nurse with anti-vaccination views was fired after posting on social media. She thought she was among like-minded friends and never expected to be turned in for violating patient confidentiality. Keep your social media pages private and watch what you say.
6. Don’t ignore a letter from the state board.
Finally, if a complaint is filed against you, don’t take it lightly. Recognize that your career is already at risk and contact an attorney with experience handling professional license investigations and hearings for your own protection.