Earlier this summer, a nurse was arrested for driving under the influence after police found her passed out in her car in a restaurant parking lot. This type of offense can have serious repercussions for any medical professionals including loss of licensure and disciplinary action, and possible limitations on any license reinstatement that may be granted.
Medical professionals are required to report DUI convictions to the licensing board or will face even harsher consequences.
The nurse who was arrested in the restaurant parking lot worked for Doctors Diet Program, who issued a statement regarding the arrest saying, “Our experience with Nurse Pitts has been that she has been a competent and caring health professional. However, our first commitment must be to our patients.
Nurse Pitts has been suspended from seeing patients pending our internal investigation. We take allegations of alcohol abuse very seriously. We intend to follow all guidelines issued by the Tennessee Health Related Boards. We are recommending to Nurse Pitts that she be evaluated by a health professional and follow their recommendation if any. We hope that at some point Nurse Pitts can return to the Doctors Diet Program family.”
Though this case occurred in Tennessee, what is important to note about this case is that Doctors Diet Program suspended the nurse after her arrest, and did not wait for a conviction. The action of the Board of Nursing (BON) maybe much the same, as you may face disciplinary action upon arrest for any crime. The arrest and its results will be recorded in your nursing file, even if you would seek to have a DUI expunged from your criminal record.
Odds are, the BON will revoke your license pending the outcome of your arrest, and may require you to attend alcohol treatment or education programs for reinstatement of your license. If you are arrested for a DUI will you are still in nursing school, it is possible that you will be unable to obtain your license and you may even be limited in your clinical studies, as some hospitals have strict DUI rules.
In New Hampshire, the threshold for application review by the Board of Nursing after being arrested for a DUI offense is that it occurred at least five years prior to your application. It is possible that your BON will require a probationary period in which work may be limited. As part of the conditions of your probation you may be required to submit to random urine tests, avoid certain substances that may include over-the-counter medications, and submit quarterly reports regarding your compliance during the probationary period.
When a medical professional is arrested for DUI, the consequences can have a far reaching affect, including having a significant impact on your family and your ability to work going forward. We recommend that you hire legal representation immediately upon your arrest and avoid making any statements to the disciplinary board or co-workers until you have done so.
If you are a nurse or medical professional that has been accused of DUI, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation to avoid conviction.