How Long Does Disciplinary Action Stay on a Nurse’s License?

This article was originally published on, authored by Lorie Brown, June 6, 2024.

Nursing is a profession built on trust, compassion, and rigorous standards. When a nurse faces disciplinary action, it can have significant repercussions, both professionally and personally. One common concern is how long this disciplinary action remains on a nurse’s license. Understanding this is crucial for nurses aiming to navigate their careers post-disciplinary action.

Types of Disciplinary Actions

Before delving into the duration disciplinary actions remain on a nurse’s license, it’s essential to understand the types of disciplinary actions that can be imposed. These can vary but generally include:

  1. Reprimand or Censure: A formal action like a slap on the wrist that is a matter of public record but does not restrict the nurse’s practice.
  2. Probation: The nurse can continue to work but under specific conditions and supervision.
  3. Suspension: The nurse is temporarily prohibited from practicing.
  4. Revocation: The nurse’s license is taken away, and they can no longer practice nursing.
  5. Fines: Monetary penalties that may accompany other forms of discipline.
  6. Remedial Education: Requirement to complete additional education or training.

Duration of Disciplinary Actions on a License

The length of time a disciplinary action remains on a nurse’s license can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the severity of the offense, state regulations, and the specific circumstances of the case. Here’s a closer look at the general guidelines:

  1. Reprimands: Typically, a reprimand remains on the nurse’s record permanently but may become less significant over time. Some states may allow a reprimand to be expunged after a certain period, provided there are no further violations.
  2. Probation: Probation periods can last anywhere from one to several years. Once probation is successfully completed, the disciplinary action is often noted as “completed” but remains on the nurse’s permanent record.
  3. Suspension: The length of a suspension can vary widely. Even after the suspension period is over and the nurse is reinstated, the fact that a suspension occurred is generally a permanent part of the record.
  4. Revocation: If a license is revoked, it’s a permanent mark. However, some states allow nurses to reapply for licensure after a certain period (often several years), but the original revocation will still be part of their historical record.
  5. Fines and Remedial Education: These actions are typically tied to other forms of discipline, and their impact on the nurse’s record can depend on whether they are accompanied by probation, suspension, or other measures.

State Variations

It’s important to note that regulations and practices vary from state to state. For instance, for example:

  • California: Disciplinary actions are generally public and can be accessed through the California Board of Registered Nursing’s online verification system. Actions like revocation, suspension, and probation are permanent entries.
  • Texas: The Texas Board of Nursing maintains disciplinary records permanently on their online verification system.
  • Florida: In Florida, disciplinary actions are also permanent public records. The Florida Board of Nursing provides detailed records of any disciplinary action taken.
  • Kentucky: In Kentucky, public records of a nursing board matter of a reprimand may be expunged under limited circumstances.

Expungement and Sealing of Records

In some states, there is a process for expunging or sealing disciplinary records, though this is often limited to less severe actions. This process generally involves a formal request and demonstration of rehabilitation and compliance with nursing standards since the action.

Impact on Employment

Even when disciplinary actions remain on a nurse’s license, it’s important to recognize that their impact can diminish over time, particularly if the nurse demonstrates ongoing professionalism and adherence to standards. Employers may consider the context and time elapsed since the action when making hiring decisions. In addition, it is important to add whatever mitigating factors you can to the Settlement Agreement so it is reflected in the Final Order so people who look at it see the totality of you as a nurse not just this particular situation.

Moving Forward After Disciplinary Action

For nurses who have faced disciplinary action, there are several steps to take to move forward positively:

  1. Compliance: Adhere strictly to any conditions set forth by the nursing board. Follow them as if your life depends on it, your career does!
  2. Education: Engage in continuing education to stay current and demonstrate commitment to the profession.
  3. Professionalism: Maintain high standards of practice and professional behavior.
  4. Support: Seek support from professional organizations, mentors, or peer support groups to navigate the period post-disciplinary action.



Disciplinary action on a nurse’s license can be a challenging hurdle, but understanding its duration and implications can help in navigating the aftermath. While such actions often remain on record permanently, their impact can be mitigated through ongoing professionalism, compliance, and a commitment to maintaining high standards of nursing care. Each state’s regulations will have specific nuances, so it’s vital for nurses to be familiar with their local board of nursing’s policies. By staying informed and proactive, nurses can continue to build a rewarding career even after facing disciplinary actions.


#Legal #License

Share this article:


Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We have answers. (It's why we're here.)

What kinds of activities might trigger a disciplinary action by a licensing board or regulatory agency? 

The fact is anyone can file a complaint against you with the state board for any reason—even your own employer—and it doesn’t have to be solely connected to your professional duties. All complaints need to be taken seriously, no matter how trivial or unfounded they may appear. 

How does a shared limit policy work?

A shared limit policy is issued in the name of your professional business or company. The policy provides professional liability insurance coverage for the business entity named on the certificate of insurance and any of the employees of the business entity, provided they are a ratable profession within our program. Coverage is also provided for locum tenens professionals with whom the business entity has contracted for services the locum tenens performs for the business entity.

The business, and all eligible employees and sub-contractors you regularly employ, will be considered when determining your practice’s premium calculation and share the same coverage limits you select for the business.

We have a shared limit policy. Are employees covered if they practice outside our office?

The policy covers your employees outside the office as long as they are performing covered professional services on behalf of your business.

If your employees are moonlighting, either for pay or as a volunteer, they should carry an individual professional liability insurance policy to cover those services. Otherwise, they might not be covered for claims that arise out of these activities.

There are plenty more where those came from.

See more FAQs

More learning right here

Check out these related articles.

A systematic approach to ethical decision-making for nurses

This is sponsored content provided by Nurses Service Organization (NSO). Through AORN’s partnership with NSO, AORN members can save 10% on nurses’ malpractice insurance for three consecutive years with NSO’s Risk Management Discount. Receive a quick quote today.

A systematic approach to ethical decision-making for nurses

Throughout their careers, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other nursing professionals will encounter challenging situations at work that present ethical dilemmas. Deciding what to do in these situations can cause significant stress, as the appropriate course of action can vary depending on each unique set of circumstances. This article reviews a model that nursing professionals can use as a guide to help them gain a better understanding of conflicting issues and navigate ethical dilemmas.

Reducing legal risks in retirement

Retirement. The word conjures up an image of relaxation and a leisurely lifestyle. But for many nursing professionals, the picture is one of a life nearly as busy as when they were working full-time. Many retirees choose to volunteer, whether it’s responding to disasters, working at a pop-up clinic in an underserved area, answering questions for members of the community, or something else. 

Reducing legal risks in retirement

Retirement. The word conjures up an image of relaxation and a leisurely lifestyle. But for many nursing professionals, the picture is one of a life nearly as busy as when they were working full-time. Many retirees choose to volunteer, whether it’s responding to disasters, working at a pop-up clinic in an underserved area, answering questions for members of the community, or something else.