How Nurses Can Address Nursys® Database Issues

Nurses generally know the Nursys® national database. If they don't learn about it in nursing school, then they learn about it when applying for their nursing license. Nurses don't have to avail themselves of the Nursys® database, but many do. And many nurses who don't need to use Nursys® for their state nursing license end up in the Nursys® database anyway.

Many nurses, though, have problems with Nursys® that can seriously threaten, delay, interrupt, or interfere with their nursing practice. If you have Nursys® issues, you need skilled and experienced professional license defense representation. Retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the representation you need to address your Nursys® issues.

The Nursys® Database

The Nursys® database doesn't license nurses. Nursys® is instead a national database to which state boards of nursing contribute licensing information. The founders and designers of the Nursys® database intend that Nursys® work in the following fashion. Nursing schools, nursing examination boards, and license discipline officials submit a nurse license application and discipline information to state nursing boards. Those state nursing boards make license decisions on that information. State nursing boards participating in the Nursys® database then submit new license and license change information to the Nursys® database. Nursys® database managers then post publicly available information in the Nursys® searchable database.

Nursys® Database Challenges

Note from the above description the possibility for significant errors, omissions, and problems of interpretation to arise in the Nursys® “how it works” procedure. The lengthy, technical, and elaborate Nursys® FAQ page alone illustrates the many potential Nursys® procedural and interpretive issues. That FAQ page reveals that jurisdictions join the Nursys® collaborative but delay their Nursys® implementation. Scammers misuse the Nursys® system or information. Identification issues arise. Inaccurate entries require updating and editing. Individual nurses can enroll in Nursys® or not enroll in Nursys®. Nursys® lists only some nursing licenses of some nurses. On and on the FAQs go, illustrating the complexity nurses encounter with the Nursys® system.

The Nursys® Database and the Nurse Licensure Compact

For better or worse, the Nursys® database does not include information from all U.S.-based boards of nursing. Nursys® acknowledges that its database includes only information submitted from “participating boards of nursing which Nursys® says includes “all states in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).” Many nurses are familiar with the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Compact promotes multistate licensure and facilitates the freer movement of nurses from state to state for nursing practice. The Compact does so by standardizing nursing license requirements among participating state boards of nursing. Nurses licensing in a Compact state can then generally obtain a multistate license to practice nursing in other states. The Nursys® database thus goes hand in hand with the Nurse Licensure Compact, facilitating national rather than state-by-state nursing practice.

Nursys® Database Non-Participation

What the Nursys® acknowledgment does not make so clear is that only thirty-nine U.S. states have adopted legislation authorizing their participation in the Nurse Licensure Compact. While thirty-nine states is a good number, those participating states do not include some of the most-populous U.S. states. California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Connecticut are not participating states. Nurses licensed in those states won't necessarily find their information in the Nursys® database, at least not from those state nursing boards. The fact that several of the largest U.S. states by population do not participate in Nursys® can severely complicate the system's reliability around licensure and license issues in those non-participating states. In its coverage alone, the Nursys® database is far from perfect.

Role and Purpose of the Nursys® Database

The Nursys® national database has several legitimate uses. Nursys® enables nurses to check their own licensing status and the status of their colleague nurses. Nursys® also enables hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices, home healthcare agencies, and other employers of nurses to confirm a nurse's licensure and license status. Nursys® also enables state nursing license boards and other interested persons and entities to see whether a nurse is licensed and, if so, where. Nursys® also enables any of the above-interested persons and entities to determine if a state board of nursing has disciplined a nurse and, if so, when and for what. The Nursys® database is thus a helpful tool in the regulation and regulatory enforcement of nursing practice nationwide. When operating properly, the Nursys® database has a laudable role and purpose.

Common Nursys® Database Issues

The problem is that the Nursys® database, like any other human endeavor or system, doesn't always operate as its founders intended and its managers desire. The multi-layered complexities of the system alone create constant system issues. Nursing schools, examination boards, disciplinary divisions, state nursing boards, and the various departments and functions of the Nursys® organization itself must all provide accurate and timely inputs to the system. Nursing schools, employers, prospective employers, nurse licensing boards, and others must also be able to draw accurate and timely results from the system. These complexities produce frequent errors, omissions, and misinterpretations, as the following sections further illustrate.

Errors in Providing Accurate Information to Nursing Boards

State nursing boards depend on accurate information from nursing schools and examination boards for their accurate processing of license applications. State nursing boards further depend on accurate information from state licensing enforcement officials, disciplinary committees, and other administrative agencies handling nursing discipline issues. In any system, the system's output is only as good as the quality of its inputs. Garbage in, garbage out. When state nursing boards receive inaccurate information relating to a nurse's license application or license discipline, the state nursing board may well upload that inaccurate information to the Nursys® database. And those errors can have serious professional consequences.

Nursing Board Errors Uploading New Nursys® License Information

State nursing boards may, on the other hand, get perfectly good education, examination, or discipline information about a specific nurse's license. State nursing board administrators, though, must process that accurate provider information into accurate nursing board records for uploading into the Nursys® database. As anyone working with electronic and paper systems knows, data transmission, entry, and uploading aren't always perfect. The systems may work fine, but the data entry operators may not. Or the data entry may be fine, but the systems may not. Believe it or not, state nursing boards make mistakes in accurately representing the status of their nursing licenses. And when a participating state nursing board makes entry errors or errors uploading Nursys® database information, the Nursys® entry will not reflect accurate nurse license information. Those errors can cause serious professional harm.

Nursing Board Delays Uploading New Nursys® License Information

State nursing boards generally do not have continuous uploads of changes in nursing license status. You may obtain a new license, but your state nursing board may not upload that new license information to Nursys® soon enough for your need for accurate Nursys® license confirmation. Or you may reactivate your inactive license, but your state nursing board may not promptly update your license status from inactive to active in the Nursys® database. State board delays in uploading information can result in inaccurate disclosure of your accurate license status. And inaccurate licensing information can have serious employment and licensing consequences.

Employer Institution Errors Uploading Nursys® Information

As discussed further below, nurse employer institutions may enroll their nurses directly in the Nursys® database without state nursing board participation. The Nursys® database system even allows multiple employer representatives to bulk enroll Nursys® database information electronically. The Nursys® system thus doesn't restrict data entry to trained state nursing board managers. Untrained employer representatives whom the employer chooses may also enter Nursys® information. Employer errors are thus likely to be just as common or far more common than state nursing board errors. Lots of hands, trained and untrained, qualified and unqualified, can enter Nursys® database information, creating a system potentially fraught with errors.

Nursys® Database Search Errors

Individuals and entities searching and drawing information from the Nursys® database can also make errors. The Nursys® database may contain largely accurate information about your license status. But employers, nursing boards, and others must make accurate searches for that accurate Nursys® information. If, for instance, they use the wrong search identifier, perhaps a misspelled maiden or married name, or a nickname or other alias, then they may miss the accurate information that they need from the database. They may conclude that you do not have the license you hold. Or they may identify a different nurse as if it were you, leaving them with the misimpression that you do not hold a license you hold, that you hold a license in a different state that you did not disclose, or that you suffered license discipline that you did not in fact suffer.

Nursys® Database Search Result Interpretation Errors

Individuals and entities searching and drawing information from the Nursys® database can also make search result interpretation errors. Once again, the Nursys® database may contain largely or entirely accurate information about your license status. And employers, nursing boards, or others searching the database may obtain that accurate Nursys® information. But they may misinterpret the accurate information in the form it appears. If, for instance, the information shows a change in your license status from active to inactive or the reverse, they may misconstrue your inactive status as having related to your withdrawal from nursing practice, employment termination, medical leave, or even license discipline. Innocuous Nursys® entries can lead to harmful speculation or misinterpretation.

Nursys® Database State Board Non-Participation Issues

Some of the biggest and most common issues around the Nursys® database are non-participation issues. As indicated above, only Nurse Licensure Compact states participate in direct state nursing board uploads of license information. Some of the nation's most-populous states do not provide nursing license information to Nursys®. The absence of that state information in the Nursys® database can lead employers, nursing boards, and others to draw false inferences and entertain harmful speculation about the license status of a nurse whose license a non-participating state issued. You may have a perfectly valid nursing license from a non-participating state, but individuals and entities believe that your information's absence from the Nursys® database means that you do not hold a license, are not qualified for nursing practice, and have misrepresented your status.

Nursys® Database Individual Participation Issues

Individual participation and non-participation issues are other common Nursys® issues. As briefly indicated above, you may be able to self-enroll your information in the Nursys® database, depending on your professional license status and other circumstances. Self-enrollment of large numbers of nurses from a non-participating state like New York or California can lead employers and others to draw negative inferences and entertain harmful speculation about your reason for not enrolling. On the other hand, your self-enrollment in Nursys® may lead to inaccurate information about your license status, either because of your own entry errors, changes in your status, or ways in which searching parties misinterpret your entry. Individual participation issues can lead to harmful consequences for your nursing license, employment, practice, and career.

Consequences of Nursys® Database Issues

The consequences of the above Nursys® database issues and other similar issues depend on your particular circumstances. But those consequences can be serious. Here are a few of the more-likely consequences of Nursys® database errors, omissions, and issues.

Nursing Education Issues

Surprisingly to some nurses, Nursys® database issues can affect their further nursing education. Nursing schools admit students based on nursing credentials. Those credentials can include nursing licensure, demonstrating continuing fitness for nursing practice, and the absence of nurse discipline. Registered nurse, graduate, and specialty nursing programs may even require substantial nursing practice under a valid state nursing license. When a nursing program to which you have applied is unable to properly verify your nursing license credentials because of Nursys® database issues, you could face denial of your program application or even revocation of your nursing program admission. When a nursing program discovers in your Nursys® profile inaccurate discipline information, you may likewise face denial of your application or revocation of your admission.

Nursing License Issues

To less surprise, Nursys® database issues can lead to state nursing board licensing issues. Inaccurate or incomplete Nursys® database information on your current nursing license or licenses on which you intend to depend for licensure in another state could lead to the denial of your license application. Inaccurate profile information may lead to unsuccessful searches for your license information, leading to the denial of your license application in another state. Inaccurate information on your license status, such as your activation of an inactive license, can likewise lead to the denial of your license application in another state. And inaccurate discipline information can lead another jurisdiction to deny you a license or to revoke or suspend a license you hold in that state. You may face serious licensing issues in other states because of Nursys® database issues.

Nursing Employment Issues

Nursys® database issues can also adversely affect your nursing employment. When you apply for employment at a hospital, clinic, or other location at which you intend to practice nursing requiring a license, your employer will likely have access to the Nursys® database to confirm your license status. Inaccurate information about whether you have a license, the status of your license, or the status of any license discipline may disqualify you from employment for which you should in fact qualify. You may not even know that an employer has passed you over for employment based on inaccurate Nursys® information. Prospective employers may commonly check Nursys® information well before making an offer of employment, even before offering an employment interview. You may have an opportunity to prove your license status to ensure that an employer does not unfairly pass you over for employment, but then again, you may not. Inaccurate Nursys® database information is a bane for nurses seeking employment.

Nursing Career Issues

You may face more than just employment issues if you have Nursys® database issues. You may also face career issues. Nurse licensure isn't solely about employment for nursing practice. Nurse licensure is a valuable credential for other nursing and healthcare career opportunities. You may lose a professional award, professional organization membership, professional organization office, or professional relationship with a mentor, peer, or other supporter if your Nursys® database fails to reflect your valid license status or, worse, inaccurately reflects no license, an inactive license, or license discipline. You may also lose teaching appointments, nonprofit board appointments, and other volunteer, service, and professional opportunities because of inaccurate Nursys® database information. Licenses make and break professional careers. Inaccurate license information can break a nursing career.

The Stakes of a Nursys® Database Issue

Nursys® database issues can have collateral consequences, too, raising the stakes for how you manage to handle your Nursys® database issue. A nursing career isn't all about licenses, professional standing, and professional employment. A nursing career is also about the personal, family, and community benefits that flow from productive nursing practice. Don't underestimate the potential impact of a Nursys® database issue. Instead, get the skilled and experienced professional license defense representation you need for the best outcome to your Nursys® database issue. Do your best to minimize your risk of encountering these other stakes in your Nursys® dispute.

Loss of Nursing Practice Income

Obviously, nursing practice earns the nurse an income. Losing your nursing income because of a Nursys® database issue can bring serious personal and family impacts. Your nursing income may be critical to your personal and family circumstances, paying for food, healthcare, housing, student loans, and the needs of a spouse, children, and other dependents. Loss of income can also damage your credit leading to acceleration of loans, forfeiture of mortgages, eviction from residences, and bankruptcy.

Loss of Nursing Relationships

The nursing practice also forms, promotes, and preserves relationships. A professional's relationships with co-workers and other professional peers can be among the best relationships over the course of a lifetime. Losing your nursing practice because of a Nursys® database issue can mean losing your professional nursing relationships.

Loss of Community Relationships

The nursing practice also forms, promotes, and improves community relationships. Nurses enjoy substantial community standing in their neighborhood, their children's school, their faith community, and their other social, recreational, and charitable circles. Losing your nursing practice because of a Nursys® database issue can mean losing community standing and relationships. It can also affect relationships within your extended family and even within your marriage and home.

Hazards of Handling Your Own Nursys® Database Issues

If you face these potential professional and personal impacts because of a Nursys® database issue, then you know you should get the professional license defense representation you need to promptly and effectively address and resolve your issue. Going it alone can be a significant hazard. As a nurse, you have valuable healthcare knowledge and skills. You likely do not have the substantial legal knowledge, administrative procedural experience, and advocacy skills. Even if you do have sound knowledge of administrative licensing law and procedures, self-representation can be problematic, as you lack the objectivity and perhaps also the time, reputation, and resources for the best outcome of your Nursys® database issues.

Qualified Assistance With Nursys® Database Issues

When you retain a skilled and experienced professional license defense attorney, you get the legal knowledge, administrative procedural experience, and advocacy skills you need to effectively address your Nursys® database issue. A premier license defense attorney team can bring to bear on your Nursys® database issue the resources your license defense needs, the reputation to impress Nursys® and licensing officials, and the investigation, documentation, procedural, and advocacy skills effective resolution of your matter requires. Don't retain an unqualified local criminal defense lawyer. Criminal court proceedings differ from administrative license proceedings. You need a qualified professional license defense attorney team to communicate, advocate, negotiate, and, if need be, litigate with the involved officials.

Nursys® Database Contacts and Corrections

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing manages the Nursys® database. The National Council offers an online Missing Record Inquiry form to correct Nursys® omissions. The National Council also offers a Contact Nursys online form. Those online forms may lead to Nursys® management responses, corrections, and other appropriate relief, depending on the resources, skill, authority, and commitment of the personnel who review those online submissions. Online form submissions, though, often do not produce the timely, accurate, and effective response serious licensing issues require. Get professional license defense attorney help if your inquiries to Nursys® do not produce the relief you need and deserve to address your Nursys® database issues.

Nursys® Database Appeals

While the National Council does not otherwise publicize a Nursys® appeal process, the National Council does maintain an administrative appeal procedure for organization matters. That procedure allows nurses facing National Council issues to retain an attorney representative to help the nurse appeal to the National Council board. The National council board may offer a settlement conference to resolve the issue. Alternatively, the board may appoint a hearing officer or panel for an administrative hearing at which the nurse and retained defense attorney may appear to advocate for administrative relief. While the procedure focuses on disciplinary complaints, the National Council is likely to entertain a Nursys® appeal in that administrative forum or a similar administrative forum.

State Licensing Board Appeals

If your Nursys® database issue has its origin with inaccurate or incomplete state nursing board information or requires other relief from your state nursing board, then you will more assuredly have state administrative appeals available to you and your retained attorney. State nursing boards are government agencies. Government agencies owe individuals due process of law when affecting their substantial property rights or liberty interests. Your nursing license and practice are likely substantial property rights and liberty interests under applicable constitutional law. A skilled and experienced professional license defense attorney team can help you invoke your state nursing board's appeal procedures to address and correct your Nursys® database issue. In the event your state nursing board does not provide appropriate relief, you may also have an appeal to state court.

Staying Out of the Nursys® Database

Many nurses self-enroll their licensure in the Nursys® database. Your nursing school, nursing peers, nursing employer, or prospective employers may urge you to do so. Consider carefully whether you would benefit from doing so. Once you self-enroll, you will need to ensure that your Nursys® profile contains accurate, up-to-date licensing and professional information. Errors in your self-enrollment or omissions to update your information can create self-inflicted problems. You may decide to stay out of the Nursys® database for these or other good reasons.

Addressing Employer Nursys® Enrollment

Employers of nurses may also enroll their nurses in the Nursys® database. Employer institutions simply create their own Nursys® account. Those institutions with a Nursys® account may then authorize multiple nurse managers to enroll nurses in the Nursys® database. The system even allows employers to bulk enroll multiple nurses into the system electronically, all at once. You can imagine the prospect for errors from that liberty for an employer to have multiple managers entering nurse information directly into the Nursys® database in bulk batches. When you take nursing employment, consider inquiring about your new employer's Nursys® enrollment practice. If you discern that you'd better not have your license information in the Nursys® system because of the update, omission, and error issues, then ask your employer not to enroll you. Direct them to this information or your retained professional license defense attorney if they question your reasons.

Getting Out of the Nursys® Database

The National Council does not publicize an online or other administrative procedure for a nurse to remove all profile information from the Nursys® database. Once you're in, you may be in for good unless you can obtain special administrative relief. If your online form submissions or other efforts to remove your name from the Nursys® database prove unavailing, retain professional license defense attorney representation to pursue that request for you. Attorneys have the standing, and other means to gain the attention of administrators. National professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team also have the national network, relationships, and reputation to reach corporate general counsel or outside retained counsel for alternative special relief.

Employer Institution Nursys® Database Withdrawals

If your employer institution entered your Nursys® information in the database rather than a state nursing board, your employer institution may be able to withdraw or minimize that information to reduce your chance of facing Nursys® issues or to resolve your current Nursys® issue. Contact your employer institution's Nursys® manager with that request. Retain qualified professional license defense attorney representation if you are unable to identify your employer institution's appropriate official or your employer questions your need for Nursys® relief.

Premier License Representation Available

Your best move is to retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the representation you need to address your Nursys® issues. They are available no matter the level of your nursing license, your license issue, or your state location. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has helped hundreds of professionals nationwide, including nurses facing serious licensing issues. The Lento Law Firm Team's license defense professionals have the premier skills and substantial experience you need to address your Nursys® database issue and other nursing license issues.

Don't retain an unqualified local criminal defense lawyer or civil litigator who lacks knowledge of administrative procedures, the Nursys® database, and professional licensing matters. Instead, hire professional license defense professionals who know what to do and how to do it most effectively. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the qualified representation you need for the best possible outcome to your Nursys® issues. Don't let Nursys® issues delay or disrupt your nursing practice. Your nursing career is worth protecting.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
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