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What are the Reasons for a Nursing License Suspension?

Most Common Reasons Nurses Have Their License Suspended

There are several circumstances which can result in a nursing license revocation, suspension, or any other limitation in South Carolina. Grounds for such revocation or suspension are outlined in the South Carolina Nurse Practice Act and could include situations where a nurse:

  • Has committed a felony; even if the nurse is not convicted, the Board may make an administrative decision to revoke/suspend/limit the license, including domestic violence charges.
  • Has violated a federal, state or local alcohol or drug law; the Board does not need a conviction to deem this as misconduct and can take a decision regarding revocation/suspension of the license without conviction.
  • Has engaged in nursing-related activities while being impaired by alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, or controlled substances and has not successfully completed rehabilitation.
  • Has participated in the fraudulent procurement of the license for oneself or another person; this will also include a situation where the nurse has allowed another person to use their license.
  • Has repeatedly and willfully followed a course of conduct which can be considered unethical or unprofessional due to which the nurse is no longer deemed competent to assume, perform or be entrusted with duties and responsibilities that are generally expected from a licensed nurse or a registered nurse.
  • Has had their license suspended or revoked in another state or some form of disciplinary action has been undertaken against them in another state; there is no requirement for a hearing of facts in such a case, and the decision to revoke/suspend may be based on the record of the nurse in another state.
  • Has violated a section of this chapter or any regulation of the Board.

You may be wondering what can cause a nurse to lose their license. Any one of the actions above can be a reason to lose a nursing license. Any nurse who is under investigation for actions outlined above can voluntarily surrender their license to the South Carolina Nursing Board. However, it is important to note that any nurse who voluntarily surrenders their license cannot practice nursing or present themselves as a registered nurse or licensed nurse until the Board takes a decision. This voluntary surrender may also be considered an admission of guilt and may be accompanied by certain conditions imposed by the Board on the acceptance of such surrender. These cases can get complicated which is why we always recommend speaking to a South Carolina nursing license defense attorney near you.

Frustrated nurse in the corridor.

What is South Carolina Nursing License Law?

In Columbia, South Carolina, the practice of nursing is controlled by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR). All nurses including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses,s and Advance Practice Registered Nurses must be licensed by LLR before pursuing any professional nursing activities. 

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It has generally been observed that employers are often reluctant to report violations of the Nurse Practice Act. The South Carolina Board of Nursing discourages this practice and is very vocal that employers should report any misconduct and violations on the part of their nurses. As per the Nurse Practice Act, an employer must report any misconduct to the State Board of Nursing within 15 business days from the discovery of the offense. Any supervisor who fails to report such misconduct in a timely manner could be subject to disciplinary action as well as civil sanctions. An employer who does not report the misconduct within the specified time can also face civil penalties per violation. Employers and nurse supervisors are thus bound to follow the South Carolina Nurse Practice Act.

Reasons Why Nurses Lose Their Nursing License

You may be wondering how a nurse can lose her license or the most common reason nurses have their license suspended. An important thing to remember is that anyone, whether it’s a patient, an employer, another medical professional, or a coworker, can file a complaint against you with the Nursing Board. If the complaint is because of any actions outlined above, there is a very high probability that your license will be revoked. However, there are often other allegations which are filed against nurses which could result in license suspension or revocation. These could include allegations of:

  • engaging in an inappropriate relationship with your patient;
  • making a medication error that results in dangerous and/or deadly consequences for the patient;
  • failing to properly document patient data;
  • sexual misconduct;
  • patient abuse;
  • failure to properly dispose of narcotics and other serious medications.

If you are informed that a complaint has been filed against you, the first thing you should do is consult a professional nursing license defense attorney. Do not, under any circumstances, ignore the complaint, as this could result in significant legal and financial charges against you. You have options if you have a reprimand on your South Carolina nursing license. However, it is also not recommended that you respond to those charges and undertake your defense on your own. You should discuss the circumstances of your case with a lawyer.

Consult with a Columbia, South Carolina Nursing License Defense Attorney Near You About Your Nursing License

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At Jeffcoat Criminal Defense Lawyers, we realize that just because a complaint has been filed against you does not mean you are guilty. You should also not assume that you will lose your nursing license simply because a complaint has been filed against you. You need to understand that there are many different situations under which the other party may have taken such an action. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings and miscommunication. You should not simply give up and assume it’s all over for you because it’s not.

It is imperative that you do not speak to the Nursing Board’s investigating officer without consulting a South Carolina professional license defense attorney first. Even if you are hundred percent sure you are not at fault, whatever you say to the investigator can and will be used against you. That is why you need a skilled license defense attorney who can present your defense for you. Your first consultation with us is free, and you should take advantage of this and talk to one of our attorneys so that you can present your side of the story to them.

Nurses work very hard to earn their license. If a complaint is filed against them, and if they know that they are not guilty or the circumstances were beyond their control, they should defend their right to continue to practice. There are often cases where the nurse is blamed for other people’s mistakes or where there is some misunderstanding as to why the nurse did what she did in a particular situation. You have the right to a fair defense, and you have the right to present to the court why you did what you did and why the accusations against you are not completely true. If a complaint has been filed against you, and if you are on the verge of losing your license, contact an experienced defense attorney today.


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Michael R. Jeffcoat is a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina with over 2 decades of experience, our aggressive criminal defense legal team can help you with misdemeanor and felony offenses. Mr. Jeffcoat strives to keep all his clients informed at all stages of their case.

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! NOTICE ! No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.

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