While you enjoy helping others, your nursing career also gives you job security. Specifically, if you have chosen to serve elderly patients, you work in an in-demand field. In fact, elder care nurses and care aides are among the fastest-growing occupations in the country.
Even though you strive to do a good job every time you go to work, you may eventually face an accusation of elder abuse. How you respond is apt to make a considerable difference in your professional life. That is, you may face a variety of consequences after an elder abuse arrest or conviction.
A criminal record
Arguably, the most significant consequence of elder abuse is a criminal record. If prosecutors prove you have violated the California Penal Code, you may have to spend some time behind bars, pay an expensive fine or both. Regrettably, even if a judge or jury acquits you, your arrest may remain part of the public record for the rest of your life.
A loss of licensure
Whether you are a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, certified nursing assistant or other caregiving professional, you likely need a license to do your work. If someone accuses you of elder abuse, you can expect the licensing body to conduct a thorough investigation. Unfortunately, if the organization finds proof of elder abuse, you may lose your license temporarily or permanently. Even if you manage to keep it, you may face additional scrutiny for the remainder of your career.
A damaged reputation
As a nurse, you understand your reputation is tremendously valuable. Regrettably, even a single accusation of elder abuse may damage your standing in the medical community, making it difficult for you to find future employment. Even worse, if your story ends up in the newspapers or online, you may also have difficulty participating in civic life.
The State of California and the nursing profession both take accusations of elder abuse seriously. Still, you cannot let an accusation destroy your career. To defend yourself effectively, you must combat all potential consequences of an elder abuse charge.