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The Iowa Board of Nursing (Board) receives numerous telephone calls from individual nurses as well as employers requesting clarification of the abandonment issue. Though the Board rules do not define the term “abandonment,” the Board has investigated and disciplined nurses in the past for issues surrounding the concept of abandonment as it relates to the nurse’s duty to the patient.The Iowa Board of Nursing rule that relates to this issue, Iowa Administrative Code 4.6(4)”h”, states that it is unethical conduct if you fail to report to, or leave, a nursing assignment without properly notifying appropriate supervisory personnel and ensure the safety and welfare of the patient or client.

Callers also inquire if it is considered abandonment to resign from a position and give less notice than required by the facility. While this is a standard to which most professionals adhere, the Board is concerned with patient safety and will not consider it to be abandonment as long as the licensee notifies appropriate supervisory personnel and ensures the safety and welfare of the patient or client.