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How nurses can lose their license in ways unrelated to work

Familiar ways that nurses (and other medical professionals, for that matter) can lose their license are often related to their work. For example, falsifying records and neglecting patients are common causes of license suspension or revocation. However, these work behaviors and errors are not the only forms of misconduct you need to avoid.

Even your life outside of work can have consequences on your ability to practice nursing. The following activities can result in disciplinary action from your employer and/or the state of New York.


If you are addicted to a controlled substance, you may be at risk of losing your nursing license. First, your use of the drug is illegal, which can lead to criminal drug charges. Second, your dependence on the drug can affect the quality of your work. You may be more prone to make errors or treat patients unprofessionally when the effects of the drug wear off. You likely will be able to retain your license if you complete a treatment program.

Criminal activity

An arrest, charges or a conviction for any type of criminal behavior qualifies you for an investigation and discipline. Common actions include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Assaulting someone
  • Shoplifting
  • Any form of internet fraud

Moonlighting in the adult entertainment industry can also lead to trouble. Even if the work is not illegal, it falls under unprofessional conduct.

Child support

Do you owe a considerable amount of child support to your ex? If you have an accumulation of four or more months of nonpayment, you may not be able to keep or renew your nursing license.  

What about mental illness?

If you are worried that disclosing a mental health issue can harm your employment, that is not necessarily true. Hiding it may, as not seeking appropriate treatment and support can cause you to commit acts deserving of losing your job. The best thing to do in this situation is to get the professional help and accommodations you need.

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