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How can I surrender my nursing license in Massachusetts?

Boston, MA |
Filed under: Employment

I am under investigation for alleged violations of the Mass nurse practice act related to drug administration. Nursing was always a means to an end not a passion. I can't afford legal representation before the BON, I want to know if I can simply surrender my license now, still very early in the investigation. How can I surrender my license now? I want to move on to a culinary career path, like I should have all along, with surrender impede me?

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Attorney answers 3


I believe you can contact the board.

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You can surrender your license. Under the regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, 244 CMR 7.04(5),

"The Board may request the surrender of a license to practice nursing in
Massachusetts or APN authorization, or both, or accept the unsolicited surrender of
such license or authorization, or both. The Board may also request the surrender of the
right of a nurse licensed by the Board to renew such license or accept the unsolicited
surrender of such right to renew. A nurse’s surrender of a license to engage in the
practice of nursing in Massachusetts or APN authorization, or both, terminates the
nurse’s right to practice nursing in Massachusetts or such authorization, or both, and to
represent himself or herself by title or other designation as a Licensed Practical Nurse
or Registered Nurse, or as authorized to engage in advanced practice nursing, or both.
Surrender of the right to renew a license to practice nursing in Massachusetts
terminates the nurse’s right to renew such license."

It's impossible to say whethre such a surrender will impede you in any chosen career path in the future. If asked a lawful question on any job application as to whether you have ever been accused of the type of alleged misconduct which fits the facts of your case, you will have to answer in the affirmative. If asked whether you have ever lost, or surrendered in lieu of impending loss or discipline, any professional license or certification, you will have to answer in the affirmative as well. And while drug concerns wouldn't seem to be high on the list for culinary positions, you might change careers in the future to a field where such issues are much more important.

I'd say that unless you feel that you were caught dead to rights without any chance of winning your case, you should fight it with or without an attorney. The investigation and hearing(s) probably wouldn't take much of your time. If you have absolutely no chance of winning, then the mere fact of surrender doesn't seem like it would be worse to report than having lost your license after a completed investigation. The allegd misconduct and not the fact of a surrender would seem to be the biggest problem for future employment. Again, though, no one can possibly forecast every potential impact to your future employment.

If your alleged misconduct has a potentially criminal aspect, be sure not to make any statements that can be used against you, either during a surrender or otherwise. My advice, if you do attempt to surrender your license, is to not do so while making grand, factually specific statements of regret where you admit doing wrong; submit the bare minimum of information, that you wish to simply surrender your license.

My advice is to consult with an attorney. Hiring one for your board proceeding might be cheaper than you think, and even a free consult will leave you with more information than you have now. I know that Keith Langer, who frequents this board, does some nursing board practice. Good luck.

Jeffrey K. Varszegi

Jeffrey K. Varszegi


Got my wires crossed there, sorry. Keith Langer does administrative law and may have some nursing board experience, but I also know that Robert D. Lewin often posts here regarding nursing issues. Good luck.


Without more information about the charges, both substantively and procedurally, no one can really say. In most cases, surrendering a license while a charge is pending is deemed the same as being disciplined.

If you ever want to go back to nursing, this would probably create a problem for you. Think carefully about whether you are being penny wise and pound foolish in foregoing comeptant legal counsel.

Evaluating any legal question requires a detailed knowledge of the specific facts involved. Since a short question will rarely contain all the relevant facts, the answer here should be considered a general comment for your consideration and not legal advice.

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