What Nurse Practitioners Need to Know Before Agreeing to License Restrictions

Attorney Alex Fisher recently had the opportunity to visit with Erin Tolbert, the creator of MidlevelU, an online resource for health care providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and discuss how nurse practitioners are regulated as a profession. The original article and video, published on MidlevelU, can be found here. Although Erin and Alex discuss restrictions in the context of nurse practitioners, the same advice applies to other health care providers, including physicians and physician assistants.

If you’ve been notified of pending disciplinary action against you as a nurse practitioner, agreeing to a simple restriction on your license rather than a more formal disciplinary hearing may seem like the obvious best choice to diffuse the situation. Perhaps the Board of Nursing puts an agreement on the table that allows you to practice provided that your charts are simply reviewed by a physician. Not too shabby given the alternative, right?

A restriction on your license to practice is a stipulation, usually given as a result of disciplinary action, that limits your scope of practice. A restriction may be a prescribing restriction or an oversight mandate, for example. What many nurse practitioners don’t know is that even the smallest restriction placed on your NP license can send your career into a tailspin.

There are times when agreeing to restrictions on your license as part of disciplinary action is going to be your best bet. But, agreeing to restrictions on your license should never be taken lightly or done without legal counsel as it can have some serious implications.

Restrictions placed on your license could, and often do, trigger administrative action from other organizations such as the DEA. As a result, your DEA license may be revoked. Restrictions may also result in decertification essentially making you ineligible to practice. As a result of changes to your certification and prescribing status, you may lose hospital privileges and ultimately your job.

Restrictions placed on your nurse practitioner license can ruin your ability to practice. Always seek legal council if you face disciplinary action, regardless of the offer put on the table by your board of oversight. You may be able to get a better deal or approach the matter in a way that allows you to keep your career.

 The following clip provides insight on the positives and negatives of agreeing to restrictions on your license.