NEW YORK NURSE: September 2008
Q.: Should I report a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction to the New York State Education Department at the time it happens or when my nursing license registration is due?
A.: You can report the DWI conviction when it occurs or you can wait until you renew your registration. What is crucial is that you respond honestly when completing the registration form. False information reported on a license registration puts the licensee at risk for professional misconduct charges. This is a serious matter that may affect your professional license and future employment, and could lead to a criminal record.
Being convicted of a DWI will initiate an investigation by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). A qualified attorney with expertise in administrative law and professional license defense can best advise you through the investigation. You may also consider requesting admission to the Professional Assistance Program (PAP) and should reach out to NYSNA’s Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) Program.
The PAP can protect your license from disciplinary action, assist you in safe return to practice, and support your recovery. Participation in the PAP is confidential and there is no public record.
SPAN is a voluntary, confidential program created specifically to help nurses who have been affected by alcohol and other drugs. The program is free and available to every New York State licensed nurse, and staff members can explain the disciplinary process, assist with PAP application, and offer advocacy and peer support. The SPAN helpline is a resource for information, education, and referrals to treatment and legal assistance. For information call the helpline at 800-457-7261 or 800-724-6976, ext 250.
This is a sample of the questions NYSNA’s experts answer each day. The advice given is specific for the situation described and may not be applicable generally. If you have questions about your own work setting, it is recommended that you contact your NYSNA Nursing Representative or the Education, Practice, and Research Program, 11 Cornell Road, Latham, New York 12110-1499 or call 800-724-NYRN, ext. 282.