Missouri Nursing Discipline Explained

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has tremendous experience in her legal career representing nurses facing professional discipline. Attorney Sanger understands that nurses play an invaluable role in our healthcare.  Rather, they are the liaison between patient and physician. Not only do they assist doctors with monitoring patients, taking vital signs, and delivering medication, nurses also provide emotion support for patients. In that regard, nurses are more than assistants to physicians. A well-trained and caring nurse can help ease the emotional pain, uncertainty, and discomfort of a patient, and the patient’s family. Nurses seem to know innately when a smile can put a patient at ease or a reassuring touch will ultimately disarm a patient.

Despite all of the benefit nurses provide to their patients, it must be understood that nurses are fallible human beings like the rest of us. Nurses can become overwhelmed by stress. They are just as likely as anyone else to mistakes, oversights, misinterpretation, and other failures like substance abuse even if they are the most vigilant, scrupulous, attentive, and professional nurse. Simply put, things happen.

Nurses who fall on hard times should take care of not allowing a bad day spin or couple of days spin out of control. A lot can happen in a short time frame. It is important that you maintain perspective. Nurses owe a duty to their patients to give them the best care possible. Any failure to meet that standard could result in professional discipline. Consequently, if your personal or professional life is taking its toll on your performance, you must seek assistance. Talk with your nursing manager, human resources department, or head physician and discuss with those stakeholders the issues with which you face. Speak with resources provided by the nursing board. There is no need to go it alone.

The Missouri Board of Nursing (“the Board”) can take disciplinary action on your license if you violate the Missouri Nursing Act. The Act permits the Board to initiate disciplinary action if a nurse:

  • abuses substances, alcohol, or both to the extent that their ability to perform the tasks attendant to nursing is compromised;
  • perpetrates a fraud or deceit upon a patient or the public at large;
  • is convicted of a crime or pleads nolo contendre that calls into question the nurse’s ability to perform the job functions, is a crime of moral turpitude or is a crime of deceit; and
  • Is grossly incompetent or repeatedly negligent.

These are the most common infractions committed by nurses. The Act contains additional grounds for discipline.

The Board has the discretion to mete a punishment for a violation of the Act. The Board can consider the nature of the allegations, the nurse’s record of professional discipline, the severity of the infraction, and any other factor the Board deems to be relevant.

The Board has available to it four categories of disciplinary action. They are censure, probation, suspension, and revocation. Censure is the least severe punishment. Censure is a public reprimand that the Board retains in your personnel file as a record of discipline. Censure serves as a reminder to correct the action the Board ruled violated the Act. The Board may place a nurse on probation for a period. A nurse can practice but is subject to conditions on the license for a specified length of time. Suspension and revocation are the most serious punishments. A suspension cannot last longer than three years. However, revocation may be permanent. A nurse is permitted to reapply for reinstatement after one year after a nursing license was revoked.

Aggressive Representation To Protect Your Nursing License

Nursing is more than a job; it is a calling. Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger understands the sacrifices as a nurse makes. She will vigorously advocate for you if you face professional discipline or are under investigation. Call Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule an appointment.