Will a DWI cause me to lose my nurse’s license?

A conviction for driving while intoxicated can have professional implications for anyone. Medical professionals, who are usually held to a high standard of personal conduct, can face particularly severe penalties.

Will a DWI conviction cause you to lose your nurse’s license in Minnesota?

Reasons the board may discipline a nurse

The Minnesota Board of Nursing administers nursing license approvals and renewals. The board may suspend, limit, deny, revoke or condition the nursing license and registration of any person on several grounds that could be relevant to a DWI conviction:

  • Conviction of a felony or gross misdemeanor related to the practice of nursing
  • Inability to perform professional or practical nursing safely due to use of alcohol, drugs or chemicals
  • Engaging in unprofessional conduct
  • Engaging in unethical conduct

Discretion of the board

There is no automatic suspension of a nurse’s license due to a DWI conviction in Minnesota. However, the board has the discretion to take action if it believes that the behavior that led to the DWI conviction violates a rule. For example, if you receive a DWI, the board may ask you about your alcohol use and require you to complete a treatment program if it determines that you can not safely do your job because of a substance abuse problem. Failure to disclose information about your substance abuse issue or to complete a required program could result in loss of license.

While a DWI conviction will not automatically cost you your nursing license, it can have serious consequences for your career. It is important to be aware of the regulations imposed by the nursing board and your employer.