These are stressful times for nurses. Some nurses may turn to alcohol to help alleviate some of their stress. While there is nothing wrong with having a drink or two to decompress after a difficult shift, you may put your career in jeopardy if you choose to get behind the wheel after imbibing.
You are held to a high standard
DUI arrests happen to people from all walks of life. Many people will plead to a lesser charge or fight the charges in court. Regardless of the outcome, most will simply move on with their lives. However, as trusted medical professionals, nurses are held to a higher standard than most members of the public and face greater potential consequences than criminal punishment.
A charge of drunk driving can put your nursing license at risk. The California Board of Registered Nursing requires you to disclose most criminal convictions when renewing your license, including pleas of “no contest.” A DUI conviction does not mean you will automatically lose your license. The Board may recommend some form of disciplinary action or take no action at all.
Getting in front of the problem
The prospect of losing your nursing license or facing professional discipline is stressful. However, ignoring the issue will not make it go away. Failing to report a required offense to the nursing board will often result in bigger issues than being upfront in the first place. If you have questions regarding whether an offense is reportable, you should turn to a trusted professional for answers.
A DUI charge is not the end of the world
In times of great stress, it is not always easy to think clearly. A single mistake should not erase everything you have worked so hard to achieve.
Remember that you have rights when you are accused of a crime. Exploring and understanding your legal options and put you in a better position to defend your livelihood.