Thursday, September 5, 2013

Losing a License

Sometimes you need a medical character to go through the wringer-- I mean really go through the wringer. One possible way to do this would be to have them lose their license.

But what could cause a medical person to lose a license?

Remember, each state has a governing board that manages all kinds of licenses-- not just those covering medical persons. There are licenses granted to plumbers, cosmetologists, and massage therapists so this could be a drastic turn of events for other types of professionals, too.

Doctors usually are managed by a separate entity than say nurses and other licensed persons-- usually it's called something like the Board of Healing Arts.

Here is a list of reasons a medical person could lose their license.

1. They operated outside their scope of practice. Scope of practice deals with what a licensed person can and can't do. It does differ from state to state. For instance, some nurses may be able to start an IV without a protocol in place. It means a dermatologist shouldn't be doing C-sections. It doesn't mean they can't do something like this in your novel but your character should face some consequences if they do-- which of course can add to the overall tension.

2. Drug or alcohol abuse. This would have to be long and protracted and the person would probably have to be non-compliant with drug treatment. It would not be an automatic loss.

3. Abusing patients. A nurse intentionally causing pain and suffering.

4. Stealing Drugs/Diversion of Drugs: Giving someone you know prescription drugs-- even if they are your own. This is more likely to be a problem if the drugs are narcotics than say naproxen sodium but it is highly frowned upon for a nurse to give their prescription drugs to anyone but themselves. Another thing under this would be adjusting a family member's medication without the consent of their physician. Like increasing pain medication or adjusting insulin dosages. Selling drugs is even worse as it could carry criminal prosecution as well.

5. Patient Abandonment: Leaving the hospital without proper notification. Not giving report on a patient.

6. Negligence: For a nurse, this could be something like a nurse not reporting a change in a patient's condition to the physician and the patient not getting the attention they needed and suffering a turn for the worse.

7. Providing a False Copy of License: This might be a case where a nurse has received a reprimand-- which could be printed on the license and she provides a copy that is restriction free (such as an older copy.) Even if the suspension is over-- this is a big no no.

8. Falsifying Patient Records. Something like recording a set of vital signs that you made up.

9. Unprofessional Conduct: This could be using foul language at work to hosting a pornographic website.

10. Violating Probation. If you're in trouble with the State Board of Nursing-- you better do everything they say otherwise it could end up in total revocation of your license.

To read further on these points-- check out this article