Among the violations that can cost a healthcare professional their license, mishandling of patient medications is one of the most serious. An Iowa home care nurse recently experienced the consequences of this issue firsthand when she was criminally charged for swiping 14 hydrocodone pills from a patient's home and consequently surrendered her license after agreeing to a plea deal with prosecutors.
According to reports, the home care nurse faced multiple charges in the wake of allegedly taking the pills from the home of a patient for whom she was a caretaker. The charges included two counts of dependent adult abuse, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a prescription drug, and theft. Under the terms of her plea agreement, the nurse pleaded guilty to one count of dependent adult abuse and one count of unlawful possession of a prescription drug, for which she was sentenced to one year of probation under a deferred judgment. The nurse may have her record expunged after fulfilling the terms of her probation.
In the wake of her conviction, the nurse also surrendered her nursing license to the Iowa Board of Nursing. She will be permitted to apply for reinstatement of the license after one year.
Can a Criminal Conviction Cost You Your License?
The above story illustrates the potential impact that being convicted of a crime can have on one's professional license. While a criminal conviction won't automatically jeopardize your license in many cases, it is more likely to happen when the crime is directly related to your profession and/or is considered a crime of moral turpitude. In the case of the Iowa nurse above, her actions constituted more than just mishandling of a controlled substance--it was also treated as an act of abuse, as evidenced by the additional charge of dependent adult abuse. This amounted to a serious violation because the nurse effectively did harm to the patient by stealing medicines that her patient needed. As a licensed nurse, this is an act that would inevitably draw scrutiny from almost any Board of Nursing in the country. Had this nurse not surrendered her license, there's a significant possibility her penalties could have been worse and further reaching.
Consequences of Criminal Convictions on Your Professional License
The fact is, the nurse in the story above was ultimately treated with leniency, both with the courts and with the Board of Nursing. When you're a licensed professional, and you're convicted of a crime, it can have implications beyond just the penalties of the crime itself. If your state licensing board deems the conviction as disqualifying you from practice, it could potentially mean the loss of your license and the end of your career. To minimize the damage and the threat to your professional future, you may need an experienced license defense attorney to intervene with your state licensing board--just as a criminal defense attorney helps to navigate criminal charges against you.
If you are a licensed nurse, physician, dentist, accountant, counselor, or other professional in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York, attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can work to minimize the damage to your career if your professional license is in jeopardy. To schedule a consultation, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.