The demand for nurses is growing almost as fast as fast track programs are producing them. At any rate, the need may not always be met by the burning desire of those individuals who have always wanted to be a nurse. Nursing still represents a field that is in high demand by a population wanting a rewarding profession that has a good wage. According to the Beureau or Labor and Statistics, nursing will be one of the top 10 areas of growth through 2022.(Rosseter, 2014) During that time, an estimated 525,000 nurses will retire and 526,800 new positions will be created, creating 1.05 million jobs. For many people, rather than looking at the salary of the job, nursing is a lifelong goal. After graduating from a nursing program and becoming licensed you are held accountable for what could be the fight of your life. If a nurse is responsible, and has no incidence, they may have a life-long profession.
When mistakes are made, especially if it results in the harm of a patient, limitations, also known as encumbrances, may be placed upon that license. Even with the high demand of nursing, once a nurses license has become encumbered, it can result in it difficulties in finding employment and expanding education. The Board of Nursing(BON) is the governing body that monitors nursing licensure. If a nurse violates laws or rules, the board may place restrictions, or encumbrances upon that nurse’s license which impact the ability to practice.(What you need to know about the nursing board, n.d.) These actions can include reprimand, limited or restricted practice, probation, suspended practice, and license revocation. Their focus is primarily on harm done to the public but the BON states their emphasis is on “unprofessional conduct, incompetent practice, unethical practice and criminal convictions.”
As a nurse you might find that you are living with stress that may or may not be stress related to work. This could be the reason for having a drink or two that is now results in alcoholism. There are numerous of work related injuries that may require pain medication necessary. After time off work, therapy and back to work the pain my still be present. Then off duty and trying to find that special part of you that is not a nurse life in the fast lane can end you up in not so friendly places. Any of these can lead to circumstances resulting in mistakes that can be interpreted as punishable offenses by the NOB.
Working in this profession you have to have heard of Florence Nightingale and her pledge. This pledge is the foundation to our livelihood. There are many others that have helped pave the way as we go forward and the forming of several governing agencies that set the standards we follow today. The ANA, Board of Nursing, NLN just to name a few.
The Florence Nightingale pledge is a modified version of the Hippocratic oath that is taken by physicians, written by Mrs Lystra E. Gretter, and a committee at Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit, Michigan. (Florence Nightingale Pledge, n.d.) This pledge was named for the founder of modern nursing. It is a pledge to act responsibly and to avoid putting a patient in harm’s way through acts such as administering harmful medications.
As I researched schools and talking with admission directors, one asked, “Has your license ever been encumbered?” Being that his question followed the inquiry about background check and if there was anything on my record. Being a Licensed Practical Nurse now for six years have never been asked that question. Many years before becoming a nurse I did have something on my record that has since been expunged from my record.
An encumbrance is to restrict or burden (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult. While this author may not have had an encumbered license in the past, I am acquainted with a few people who have encumbered licenses. These nurses all have had difficulties finding employment due to the discipline on their license. The Board of Nursing decides and determines if at all what you can or cannot do under the nurse practice act.
Many Physicians perceive the presence of any kind of restrictions on a nurses license as a level of unnecessary risk and liability.(A guide to understanding state restrictions on NP practice, n.d.) They may also view those nurses as being unprepared and a burden on their practice. These nurses may not be able to admit patients, administer certain drugs, or practice in certain geographic areas. These and other restrictions can interrupt the continuity of patient care when areas of restriction are encountered. These nurses are often also subject to extended scrutiny and review of their practice which can mean direct review of 10-20% of their cases.
While restricted they may find work, but they must go through extra hurdles to prove they are qualified and prepared. (Oregon Secretary of State Archives Division, n.d.) Additionally, these restrictions can be removed through either successful appeal or when the terms of the restriction are fulfilled. A career concern still remains as past restrictions make a candidate less appealing than one with a clean record. With the million new jobs projected to be created in the next 7 years, this burden may not prevent employment entirely but it may mean taking a less desirable role until a sufficient clean record can be established separating one from their time in restriction. As a result of these circumstances, every precaution should be taken to avoid becoming encumbered in the nursing profession to maintain ones ability to work, and more importantly, help heal people as part of this rewarding profession.