8 ways you can lose your nursing license

New nurses are nervous about making mistakes at work. Not paying attention during a procedure or misreading the doctor’s orders can be enough to get you fired.

Nurses practicing for years are also prone to making mistakes that can lead to their licenses being revoked. The reason can be as simple as not wearing the proper attire.

Losing your temper with a patient or providing poor care can end a nursing career so it pays to know what you can do to protect your license and keep it from being revoked. Here are eight common reasons why a nursing license is revoked:


1. Falsifying records

Falsifying records, such as patient medical histories or doctor orders, is a surefire way to get your nursing license revoked. All documentation must be accurate and up to date so that patients can receive the best care possible. If you are found guilty of falsifying records not only could you lose your license, but you could also face criminal charges.


2. Wrong practicing

Practicing without a valid nursing license is illegal and will result in disciplinary action by the state board of nursing. Depending on the severity of the offense, this could range from receiving a warning letter to immediate suspension of your license. In the United States, some states may require you to pay back all the money you earned while practicing without a license.


3. Drug abuse/misuse

State boards of nursing have zero tolerance when it comes to drug abuse or misuse by nurses. Whether you are found guilty of using drugs or alcohol on the job, failing a random drug test or even stealing drugs from patients, you could face serious consequences. This includes the loss of your nursing license.


4. Neglecting professional duties

All nurses must always adhere to their professional duties and responsibilities. Some of these include providing proper patient care, adhering to all safety standards, maintaining professional boundaries with patients and maintaining accurate and complete medical records.

Failing to do so could lead to disciplinary action from the state board of nursing. In some cases, this could mean suspension or revocation of your license. An attorney for nurses will be able to help in this regard.


5. Disclosing patient information

Nurses must protect the privacy and confidentiality of their patient’s health information. If you are found guilty of disclosing this information without permission, it could lead to suspension or revocation of your nursing license.


6. Unprofessional conduct

Nurses need to maintain professional behavior at all times. If you are accused of engaging in unprofessional conduct, such as arguing with co-workers or disrespecting patients, you could face disciplinary action from the state board of nursing.


7. Engaging in illegal activity

No matter where you work, engaging in illegal activity will result in disciplinary action including losing your nursing license if caught. This includes activities such as fraud or theft, both of which are considered serious crimes in most states.


8. Failure to comply with continuing education requirements

Most states require nurses to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education (CE) credits every year to maintain their licenses. If you fail to do this, your license could be revoked.

In the U.S., some states may require you to pay back all the money you earned while practicing without the proper CE credits. Make sure to hire an attorney expert in such legal matters


By being aware of these ways to lose a nursing license, nurses can take steps to prevent them from occurring. They can ensure that you remain within the confines of the law and stay on track toward achieving success as a nurse. 

Whether or not the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected the interest of young people to pursue a nursing career is still unclear. In the United Kingdom, a total of 29,440 student nurses were accepted onto a programme in 2022, which is a decrease from 32,705 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the application process for a temporary nursing license in Nevada, USA has been fast-tracked to ease the current shortage of pediatric nurses. A nurse already licensed in another state can obtained a temporary Nevada license from the Nevada State Board of Nursing within a couple of hours.

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