Those who enter the nursing profession are more than just caring, compassionate, professionals. They are often active members of their communities. They may become politically active and help push for positive changes within their communities.
But some may worry about whether these actions or the process of speaking out about political beliefs could have a negative impact on their nursing license. Before getting involved, they may wonder if such action would put their job at risk.
Can I lose my license?
State nursing boards are responsible for overseeing nursing licenses within the state. They evaluate applications, conduct investigations, and wield consequences in the event a nurse does not meet the board’s expectations. A violation of these expectations, which generally include the expectation that nurses follow the code of ethics for their profession, can result in fines, suspension or even the revocation of one’s nursing license in that state.
In most cases, the Code of Ethics for Nurses supports a nurses’ ability to speak out about human rights and disparities. This is outlined within Provision 8. This generally encourages nurses to help build partnerships and advocate for legislative change that promotes health. However, any public comments that the board would view as misleading or providing disinformation about medical care could result in an investigation and potential discipline.
So my job is safe, right?
Even if your license is not at risk, it is still possible that connecting political beliefs to your profession could have a negative impact on your job. It is likely that, as a nurse, you signed an employment contract with a hospital or private practice. This agreement may have provisions that address advocacy and could require a separation between one’s professional and personal connection to such political efforts.