It seems almost unthinkable when you consider the hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and basic humanity it takes to complete the rigorous training to become a nurse. But stories of nurses stealing from patients, in fact, are not uncommon. When nurses steal from patients, they're crossing a number of lines, including professional, ethical, and legal standards that the profession insists all members follow—and the punishment may be steep, including losing a nursing license.
All states require nurses to have licenses to protect the public from health and safety risks. But the causes of nurse misconduct can be complicated. Sometimes, professionals who break the rules are doing it for a cause that may include their own needs or addiction. In those cases, it's important to understand the reasons behind it, which may help your case.
Losing a Nursing License
When a nurse loses their license, they may be temporarily or permanently barred from working in the profession. This is obviously seriously disruptive and may be disastrous to nurses who depend on the income that medical professionals earn. It may have a long tail, too. Nurses who lose their licenses often cannot find work related to the medical field or education.
Stealing Property from Patients
If a nurse steals property from a patient and they're caught, they will likely be at risk of losing their nursing license. The crime would threaten the nurse's license on two counts: professional misconduct and criminal convictions.
A nurse who is accused of a crime may not know who made the complaint. It could be made by the patient, their family, a colleague, or anyone in the facility, including other patients.
Nurses can also lose their licenses for stealing drugs. “Drug diversion,” or stealing a patient's drugs for one's own use (or sale), is a serious crime. And being accused of theft of property, including medication, is a serious allegation that may put a nursing license in jeopardy. Whether a nurse is caught in the act or whether drug theft becomes evident through poor performance, lapses in concentration, or mistakes in treatment, the risk to a nursing career is clear and long-lasting.
Being accused of stealing from a patient is serious and may result in the suspension or permanent loss of your nursing license as well as a lengthy legal battle. If you are a nurse and have been the subject of an investigation of theft, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help.