USA Today: Dangerous Nurses Can Keep Practicing In Other States

Posted on Jul 20, 2010
Is it possible that the nurse that is treating you or a loved one has a record of negligence, drug use, stealing, or medical malpractice? According to a report in USA Today this week, it certainly is. While doctors are well-tracked as they move across the country or practice in different states, nurse licensing differences between states sometimes makes it difficult to track dangerous nursing – and easy for nurses with poor track records to find new jobs across state lines.

Take the case of North Carolina nurse Craig Peske. This man was recently charged with six counts of drug possession in relation to his nursing job – after stealing drugs while on the job in a different state had already gotten him fired. In another case, North Carolina nurse Stephen Woodfin was barred from practicing in this state because of substance abuse, but moved to Texas to continue being a nurse anesthetist.

While the Nurse Licensure Compact makes it easier for nursing to move across state lines and for hospitals with nurse shortages to hire new prospects, the same Compact makes it somewhat easier for trouble nurses to leave one state and get hired in a new one. Half of all states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact, though not all list nurse disciplinary actions online.

Many blame the state-based system of licensing nurses – citing the many times nurses who are disciplined or who have been found negligent often do not suffer consequences in states they are visiting or often are not found out when they move to a different state to work.

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