Receiving a letter from the Minnesota Board of Nursing is every nurse's worst nightmare. Often nurses who are reported to the Board of Nursing have been terminated from their nursing job or 'resigned in lieu of termination.' (Both are reportable by law). As if losing your job isn't bad enough, now you have to defend your nursing license, your livelihood, who you are!
While being represented by a lawyer is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. You have worked hard to become licensed as a nurse. I know. I am a nurse. Having legal representation will provide a nurse with the best possibility for a fair outcome. The Nursing Board is represented by an attorney from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, shouldn't you be?
The Minnesota Board of Nursing's mission statement reads:
"The mission of the Minnesota Board of Nursing is to protect the public's health and safety through regulation of nursing education, licensure and practice."
This may be a surprise to many nurses. The reality is the Nursing Board is charged with protecting the public from nurses who are not safe to provide patient care, not protecting the nurse.
Nurses are held in high public regard and we, as nurses, must do all we can to uphold that public trust. Nurses must help each other when deficiencies in practice are noted or when changes are noticed in a nurse's practice and physical appearance as that may indicate a substance abuse issue. We should confidentially encourage the nurse to seek help before the consequences become severe.
Nurses are human. We make mistakes, and we too can suffer from substance use disorders (addiction) just like anyone else. We can become overly sensitive to our patients' needs and end up crossing boundaries, or have a boss who just 'has it out for us.'
After over 30 years as an RN, I can say I have not ever met a nurse who didn't put his/her patients first, providing the best care possible even under adverse conditions.