nurse caught with drugs

  1. Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knew what would happen if you are caught taking or steeling drugs from the hospital you work at. I know of someone who this happened to. Will she be able to get a job in another hospital or is her career pretty much history. I am a nursing student and I am curious as to what happens in the case.:uhoh21:
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   CHATSDALE
    This is a criminal offence and she could face jail time...some hospitals will offer rehab for nurses who are drunk/stoned on job or they could be allowed to resign but if she was actually stealing from patients she would at the very minimum lose her license
    this has to be reported to the bon even if not to the police
  4. by   begalli
    I am familiar with a situation here in the Bay Area where the RN stole narcs from a pyxis. I'm not sure if this RN was actually stealing from a specific patient or if the RN took it out in a different way.

    The hospital let this nurse go. This RN was reported to the BON and entered the CA BON's diversion program. The RN did not lose their license, but had restrictions placed upon it. This person gained employment as a telephone triage nurse during the diversion. Basically, this person could not have any contact with patients or access to any medication.

    I'm not quite sure what this person is doing now. This was about 4 years ago.

    I don't think it necessarily and positively ends one's career as an RN. I would imagine that it's not an easy thing from which to recover one's reputation, but it can be done and hopefully result in a positive life change.
    Last edit by begalli on May 6, '05
  5. by   mdfog10
    Unfortunately, I have worked with at least 4 nurses (in my 15 yrs) that were found to be "diverting" drugs. The last time convinced me that I can be fooled by the cunning ways of addiction. One of my colleagues successfully went through the California Board of Registered Nursing's diversion program and returned to our unit. It took great courage to return to us and make amends. She now chooses to work with our most psychologically difficult patients. Addiction hits all people and professions. Doctors , however , have their own "code of silence" in many areas. My colleague at one time needed to go to a 12 step meeting and the only one available was a physician meeting. She practically had to sign her name in blood and sware to secreacy to get into the meeting.

    Find out what your state's board of registered nursing's policy is on drug use .
    Everyone is at risk (MDs, RNs, Respiratory Therapists, etc)

    take care and good luck
  6. by   barefootlady
    Addiction is so ugly and painful for everyone involved. I have a friend who became addicted after a horrible accident, she has never been able to return to work, but she says she is glad, she says the temptation would have been too much for her and she would have diverted drugs. She suffers from her injuries and from her addictions. It is not a pleasant sight and no amount of outpatient programs, 12 step programs or counseling have been able to completely help her. It is no joke when they say that 85% of addicts relaspe severely within the first 6 months and again within the first 4 to 5 years. My heart goes out to these people, yes, they made a choice, but we all make mistakes.
  7. by   Haunted
    I would think it would depend on what the drugs were, wouldn't you? How many times have you driven home, dropped your scrubs only to discover a plavix in it's wrapper, a tylenol, an alchy prep, a syringe for flush etc. ? Show of hands here.... I sure have. Am I going to turn myself in to my DON ?

    I actually placed a used MS vial in my scrub pocket after drawing it up and administering it during a particularly hectic situation and it STILL HAD MS LIQUID IN IT!!!! OH MY GOD!!!

    Would I get busted for this? Doubt it. I threw it in a dumpster. I am aware of nurses who have subbed NS for MS in a vial, don't know them personally but I bet there are systems in place for professionals who have addiction issues.
  8. by   TMPaul
    Quote from halfmoon
    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knew what would happen if you are caught taking or steeling drugs from the hospital you work at. I know of someone who this happened to. Will she be able to get a job in another hospital or is her career pretty much history. I am a nursing student and I am curious as to what happens in the case.:uhoh21:
    I know here in Tennessee it is both a violation of hospital policy, the TN Nurse Practice Act, AND a federal offense to divert drugs. We are obligated to report to the BON, local and/or state law officials, AND the ferderal DEA.
    YOW, makes most of us think before we act :uhoh21:

    Tina, MSN,RN,APRN-BC
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    I know more than one RN who completed the program and returned to nursing. Fine nurses!
    http://www.rn.ca.gov/div/div.htm

    The BRN's Diversion Program has proven to be an effective method of intervening in cases in which registered nurses are impaired by drugs, alcohol or mental illness. The Diversion Program is a voluntary and confidential program that provides public protection while also enabling the registered nurse to focus on recovery.

    For general information on this program, click: http://www.rn.ca.gov/div/whatisdiv.htm

    For answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the Diversion Program, click: http://www.rn.ca.gov/div/div-faqs.htm

    If you are interested in serving on a Diversion Evaluation Committee, click: http://www.rn.ca.gov/div/div-dec.htm

    If you are interested in Nurse Support Groups or in becoming a Nurse Support Group Facilitator/Co-Facilitator, click: http://www.rn.ca.gov/div/div-support.htm
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Stealing is a criminal offense and you'd have to deal with that first although it's been my experience that most drug 'diverters' are just let go w/ a report to the board.

    Texas has a TPAPN program - not sure about the initials but it's peer review substance abuse program. I knew a nurse on it:

    1. Your in it for 2 yrs. 2. You can't work nights cause it's statistical that you're more likely to abuse at night, apparently. 3. you can't handle narcs so everybody you work with has to know you're in the program, cause they have to pass your narcs for you. 4. you have to go to counseling and take a drug test weekly and randomly and you have to pay for it.

    I'm sure there are other stipulations but if you get through it, not only do you get to keep your license, but you are legally allowed to deny you were in the program: it's expunged (of course the board keeps records and you are only allowed 1 - 2nd chance).

    The girl I know who was in it: she quit nursing after 6 months - it was too difficult for her.

    ~faith.

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