How to Protect Your Patients and Your CNA License

Article Categories: Legal and Ethics & Other

The revocation of their license is one of the harshest consequences in a CNA’s career. When you are stripped of your license, you’re technically not a CNA anymore and cannot work as one. Other than the headaches and heartaches you endured before the Board of Nursing (BON) arrived at this decision, the future becomes not so promising, too. Since it is a symbol of safe practice and trustworthiness, a nursing assistant who lost their license looks like they’ve let those good qualities go.

Once your CNA license is revoked, it will be hard to convince the certifying Board of Nursing that you did not mean to cause harm or damage, or that the unfortunate event does not reflect you as a person.

And they rarely reinstate licenses. Most of the time, the decision is final or you need the help of a lawyer. It’s also difficult to re-enter the nursing field due to your marred work history. It will be challenging to convince future employers that what happened was either an accident or single occurrence. “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,” doesn’t cut it.

The consequences do not end there. Your ego, source of income, and other opportunities are damaged as well.

Of course, no one wants to end up in this situation and it doesn’t have to happen to you! Be aware of the following behaviors that can lead to the revocation of your license:

Lying, cheating, falsifying documents, or omitting vital information when applying or reapplying for certification - Dishonesty and falsification are grave offenses that can strip you of your license in a flash. These offenses mean two things: 1) You do not meet the minimum requirement to safely practice as a CNA, and 2) you intentionally deceived the certifying body, the Board of Nursing, and disregarded patient safety. Examples of this offense are providing false training documentation, getting licensed illegally, or failing to disclose previous criminal charges or prior disciplinary actions in your application or recertification.

Performing procedures beyond your scope of practice - Even if you’ve seen it done so many times, you think you can perform a procedure with your eyes closed, do not do it unless you are certified to do so.

Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs - This precaution is for the obvious reason that patient safety is at stake when your brain is foggy because of mind-altering substances. Under the influence, your decision-making is faulty, so you are likely to make mistakes or cause accidents, prompting patient injury and potential legal problems for you and your employer.

Also, diversion, or stealing medications from a patient and using them yourself, is a serious offense. Be aware that you don't need to use illicit drugs to get into trouble. Mere possession of illegal substances can lead to the loss of your license as well as your job.

Mishandling patient information - "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" can apply to your interactions with patients, too. Whatever happens with a patient should not be discussed with anyone unless they are part of the team that provides their direct care—even if the patient is famous or known to the person.

Never take pictures of patients without their consent or share their photos or information over social media. When you do, you don’t just disregard the patient's right to privacy, you can cause them great inconvenience and damage to their reputation.

Patient abuse - Every now and then, we hear horrific stories of CNAs who abuse their patients. Abuse is never right, whether you’re a CNA or not. This type of wrongdoing will not only strip you of your license but also put you in jail for a very long time.

Criminal acts - Intentionally harming patients or stealing from them are just some examples of crimes committed while working as a CNA, and they are sure ways to end your career as one.

Negligence leading to patient critical harm or death - Patients’ lives must be protected at all times and if you fail in this regard as a nursing assistant, it's like throwing away your license for good. Not all negligence cases lead to this consequence, but it is a likely scenario if a patient's legal counsel has strong evidence of your oversight. So, always keep patient safety a priority.

Every CNA license comes with pride in the fact that nursing assistants do awesome work caring for patients. It is proof of competence and safe practice. Treasure your hard work, career, and commitment to patients, and protect your license!


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