The State Board of Nursing in Pennsylvania has compiled a list of crimes that are “directly related” to the nursing profession.
Here are three of those crimes along with an explanation as to how the Board views a criminal conviction.
1. Drugs or alcohol
Because of ready access to drugs of all kinds, a nurse has the opportunity to take drugs for personal use or to distribute them to others. The State Board of Nursing regards the possession and use of drugs including controlled substances to adversely affect his or her ability to provide safe and effective nursing care.
2. Fraud or theft
A nurse is privy to confidential information and access to a patient’s financial information and valuables, whether in a hospital, nursing facility or private home. The Board believes that where fraud or theft happens once, the potential exists for a repeat offense requiring the need for strict disciplinary action.
3. Lying, falsification and deception
Nurses must accurately record information in medical records, billing records, plans of care and pharmacy records. They must also correct any errors they make as they care for patients. Board regulations prohibit a nurse from falsifying information in patient records or related documents since such activities put patients and other healthcare professionals at risk.
A nurse with a criminal conviction is still eligible for due process before the State Board of Nursing determines disciplinary action. Discipline does not necessarily mean suspension or revocation of a nursing license. Seeking legal guidance before attending any Board hearing or signing any agreement will help to ensure the protection of the nurse’s rights.