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What happens to your nursing career when you get a DUI?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | DUI |

Being a nurse is one of the most demanding yet rewarding jobs in Washington. Choosing such a career path gives you great responsibility in caring for others. However, if you are charged with driving under the influence, there are consequences you can face.

Nurses and DUI charges

Drunk driving can happen to anyone, but if you are a nurse, an arrest on these charges can upend your life and compromise your career. However, if it is your first offense, it probably won’t mean that you will lose your nursing license. Various factors may determine what happens to your career even with a first offense, such as your blood alcohol concentration level or whether a fatal injury resulted.

What to expect with a DUI as a nurse

Washington is one of the states that requires all healthcare professionals to report unprofessional conduct. This includes DUI charges whether you are a nurse, doctor or any other medical professional. As a nurse, you are required to report your arrest to the state’s nursing board. It’s best if you do this yourself; another medical professional reporting your charges may reflect negatively on you. The board wants to ensure that you are able to safely work with patients who depend on you. If it determines that you are a danger to patients, you may be placed on probation or suspension or face other disciplinary measures.

Depending on your situation, the nursing board might recommend that you get evaluated by a substance use disorder counselor who can make recommendations. If the counselor believes you have an alcohol problem, they can recommend you enter a treatment program. Obliging and getting help can benefit your life and your career as a nurse.

Nurses aren’t perfect, but a DUI can adversely affect your career and life. Honesty is still the best policy when it comes to your professional future.