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Advice for nurses facing the BON

I was really lucky I found this site years ago. I have had a very close and personal relationship with the BON in my state for a number of years. I lost my license in 2002 for non compliance with the Health Practitioners Intervention Program which at the time was VMI. I had initially been but in treatment in 2001 for a drug addiction in which I was stealing and using narcotics while working in Pittsburgh. I self reported to my home BON and did whatever they asked to keep my license. All for the wrong reasons and because I identified my entire identity with my profession. I could not imagine what I would do if I were not able to go back to work as a nurse. I was allowed to go back to work in a doctors office but relapsed a couple months after. I ended up in jail from Feb 2003-July 2004 for 10 counts of prescription fraud in 3 counties. I got out of jail in July 2003 and was sent to an outside treatment facility for an additional 10 months. Once released I immediately signed up for the Health Practitioners Intervention Program and began the long process of earning the privilege of practicing nursing and that is exactly what it is, a privilege. I had to do ALOT and jump through a number of hoops but I got my license back in 2006. I went back to nursing a year later but this time with a felony charge on my record and probation with the BON for 5 years, not to mention the 3 years probation with the county. I found a job working in a pediatric office but quickly realized that working in an acute care facility was out of the question. I would never work in a hospital again. I was crushed. When I realized all the options I no longer had I returned to school to get another degree in health admin and policy. I had decided I wanted to work here in DC with health policy and legislation since I had been a nurse for over 10 years and had worked in a number of diverse roles. In September 2009 I left HPIP and decided to give my license up. I was working two jobs and in school full time and could no longer justify all the paperwork, etc for a career I was no longer planning to practice. I had to go back in front of the BON for the 3rd time to explain my decision. Interestingly enough I got a job teaching LPNs and medical assistants which I really enjoyed, but about a year later I regretted my decision to give up my license when approached (yes, approached) by for a number of jobs that did'nt require any clinical work but for which I needed an active license.

I am two semesters away from graduating and plan to go back to HPIP and petition for the 2nd time to get my license back. So, for those of you facing the possibility of losing your license or not being able to get one from the beginning it is possible and DO NOT lose hope. The BON's primary purpose is to protect and safeguard the public interest and patient safety. I do not believe that the BON in any state wants to block any nurse from getting back his/her license who is willing to do the work, pay back their debt to society and clean up their act. It may take some time but most states keep nurses under a 5 year probation. They determine their work enviornment and monitor them through their employers with monthly evaluations, drug screens and treatment if necessary.(of coarse this depends on your situation which may have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol) Any nurse who has gotten his/her license back has certainly earned it. I have a friend who lost her license 15 years ago and recently got her license back. She thought it was a lost cause so gave up the possibility that she would ever practice again but she found the BON to be receptive and got her license back in December.

I have helped a number of nurses navigate the process of either getting their license back or just keeping it who have contacted me through my numerous posts on and am willing to do the same for anyone who is in a precarious position in relation to their nursing license. Anyone is welcome to contact me at Sometimes all any of us needs is a little support and the hope that if someone like myself could get her license back after all of that, it is possible for anyone who is willing to do whatever is asked of the BON and the community.

Leslie K. Machuzak

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5 Responses to “Advice for nurses facing the BON”

  1. MarycurrentRN Says:

    Wow Leslie. Thanks for sharing your past! and now focusing on the future. Does it get easier to tell your story after a while? Thank you for your honesty, and stay strong.

  2. joe Says:

    thanks for sharing your experience. WE nurses rock

  3. Kathy Reinheimer Says:

    Leslie I you are remarkable in what you have accomplished. I am currently in the VRP and feel like I will never obtain a nursing job with this record, and you give me hope. Thanks!

  4. Kabrina Says:

    Leslie,, I emailed you.. I hope that you reply.. your story hit me hard.. we need to talk..

  5. Johnny Says:

    This article was written by my older sister. Sadly she committed suicide 3 years ago. I miss her very much everyday and when I read this it makes me feel so sad. She tried so hard to get her life back on track yet addiction was more powerful than my sister.

    Leslie Machuzak was only 41 when she hung herself.

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