If you're licensed as a nurse, you don't have to be told that your credentials are hard-won. You have spent years in study and practical application, and your nurse's license itself indicates that you are worthy of the public trust. It comes as little surprise, then, that having your license suspended or revoked over allegations of misconduct can be highly disruptive and traumatic.
But that may be just the start of your problems. The true cost of losing your nurse's license can be far-reaching, extending well beyond the obvious personal and professional implications. Let's take a closer look at what the immediate and long-term costs might be.
Loss of Income and Earning Potential
The first and most obvious cost of losing your nurse's license is the loss of income. If you can no longer work as a nurse, you will have to find another source of employment, and that may not be easy. Depending on the severity of the offense that led to the loss of your license, you may also find it difficult to obtain other professional employment. As a result, your household income may take a significant hit, and you may have to make lifestyle changes as a result.
To break down an estimate of the loss of income...the average salary for a nurse in America in 2022 is $81,820 per year. If you lost your license 20 years before you would have retired, that amounts to more than $1.6 million in lost revenue. This amount may be offset by other employment you might obtain, of course, but if you remain in the healthcare sector, it is unlikely that you will be able to earn as much as you did as a nurse.
Damage to Your Reputation and Slowed Career Progress
Losing your nurse's license isn't necessarily permanent--and if you're brought under investigation, the Board of Nursing may also impose lesser penalties that allow you to keep your license. However, even if you keep your license or have it reinstated, the damage to your reputation can be hard to overcome.
Your colleagues, patients, and other members of the healthcare community may be aware of what happened, and it is possible that they will treat you differently as a result. You may find it more difficult to get hired for new positions or to advance in your career. In some cases, the effect on your reputation may be so severe that you are forced to leave the healthcare profession altogether.
Burden of Student Debt
Depending on the type of nursing degree you pursued, you likely spent anywhere between $10,000 and $108,000 on your nursing education--and if you were like most students, you took out some student loans to pay for school, expecting to cover your student loan payments when you found work as a nurse. When your nurse's license is revoked, and you're no longer allowed to work as a nurse, your student debt does not get forgiven; it must still be paid. This can be a major financial burden, especially if you are unable to find other employment. You may have to negotiate with your student loan lender for different repayment terms or deferment options, but ultimately, you will still be responsible for repaying your student loans in full.
As you can see, the true cost of losing your nurse's license is significant and can continue impacting you for years to come. If you are facing allegations of misconduct that could lead to the loss of your license, a skilled professional license defense attorney can help you navigate the investigation process, protect your rights, and minimize the long-term damage to your career.
Don't wait until the situation is dire to reach out for help. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to discuss your options.