12-Step Coercion - page 16

the following presentation was given at the may 21, 2004 open forum of the north carolina board of nursing meeting:... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    Railroad, they haven't proved you've done anything. Doesn't sound like they reported anything to the state board. So you probably are o.k. They probably just fired you and that's the end of that. I'm sorry you have to go through that.
  2. by   Tweety
    Quote from serene992
    Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual program for people who have been in Hell and find a way out through working the 12 steps of the program. Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell whether they choose to practice it 24/7 or for one hour a week.
    The concept of the Higher Power in the program is the beginning of the healing process and the important key to living one day at a time, one moment at a time without using a mind altering substance. The original AA program has been acknowledged for being one of the most significant developments of the 20th century. From this simple program hundreds of other 12 step programs have developed. The many different addictions that have plagued man since the beginning of time finally have a simple, fool proof support group with a far better recovery and relapse prevention record than professional, high priced therapy programs. Countless lives of those addicted to mind altering substances/behaviors and those affected by loving them have a way of living joyous and free thanks to a group of alcoholic men and women who created the AA program.
    The court systems frequently sentence people with DUI's and drug convictions to attend AA meetings. This is a controversial issue also. By mandating attendance it does not mean that the person is going to identufy and admit to being an alcoholic/addict. What it does do is expose them to the presence of AA so that if and when the drinking/drugging leads to that moment in time when the person is on the brink of physical, emotional and/or spiritual death he/she might remember the AA meetings they attended and reach out for help.
    I feel that all nurses need exposure to the AA program to get an understanding of it's concepts. We are in intimate contact with the ravishes of the disease through our patients, families and yes folks even our peers. We are an important key in helping others learn the joy of living a sober life through knowing about what AA and it's 12 steps are about and where meetings are held in our communities.
    Let's be leaders of compassionate caring for those whose lives are a living hell due to alcoholism and addiction.
    Very excellent post. I think that AA is an excellent resource that we should offer our patients, along with other resources to help alcholics get sobers. Usually at our facility the social worker does all that stuff.

    But the AA position is supposed to be one of attraction rather than promotion. That the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. Gets kind of shady when courts order people to go when they have no desire to stop drinking, and it's a religious program.
  3. by   Lemonhead
    [QUOTE=Nurse Ratched]I have to say get a lawyer. Maybe it's naive of me, but I can't envision admitting to a drug problem I didn't have. I'd rather lose my license.

    It's not that easy, and again, anyone that has never been through the horror of getting "caught" for something the truly did not to and accused, it can be a no win situation.
    People give false confessions all the time. Not only to nursing boards, but to the criminal justice system.
    What you guys that do not think you would ever do such a thing, need to understand, is when you are in the position, you are terrified, you are vulnerable and you are an easy target for those that have great expertise and experience in this area. They know the right things to say and the right things to "offer" to get a person to say something that they know in their heart, is not right or true. Happens all the time.
    When a nurse is approached, she will be told that if she doesn't admit to a "problem", she will be criminally prosecuted, she will be reported to national data bank and she will risk loss of licensure. But, if she "admits" to the problem, she can enter the confidential program and in several years, have a completely clear license. Now, think of the single mom or dad, the nurse that totally depends upon this license to LIVE day to day...it's not just that easy to say "I'd give up the license" because you have pressure coming at you from all ends..and none of it is "on your side"...you have an employer pointing, a state board, a county prosecutor, federal officials, etc...it is an EXTREMELY intimidating situation.
    I have said this countless times before, a very simple, common documentation ommission, absolutely, undoubtedly can lead to criminal charges. For instance...let's say you forgot to document the waste of 50 mg's Demerol...you have no proof of where it went. Although your urine is negative, they, as in the board and criminal justice system, is NOT charging you with a positive or negative urine, they are charging you with theft..and if you did not properly document where a drug went, then obviously (according to them) you must have stolen it. They have all of the proof they need in your ommission. You can't prove where it went, but they can prove that it did NOT go where it was supposed to. So, urines, etc are just a small peice of evidence that they use, but absolutely NOT necessary to "prove" that you have stolen a med. When you violate the nurse practice act by "willingly" providing false or ommitted info, you're as good as charged. And if you have several ommissions...because of a horribly busy and understaffed night--YOU will have to prove where that med went and you CAN'T.
    The State Boards do NOT have to proof ANYTHING beyond a shadow of a doubt..they only have to provide compelling evidence that you violated the act. It is VERY, EXTREMELY simple for them because they do not fall under the same Constitutional Laws that a criminal court does in regards to proving beyond a shadow of a doubt to a jury of peers or to a judge. They only have to provide enough evidence--as in a missing waste--to the panel of board members, that have very little legal training--and a decision is made.
    So, please, before you rush to judgement, put yourself in that situation. Imagine the pit in the stomach feeling of knowing you made a charting error, having no clue the extent that it can reach and being pressured by so many in power to admit to something--because in admitting, you, according to them, will be spared criminal charges and loss of licensure. And don't forget--if you are criminally charged and end up on the OIG list, you will be HARD pressed to find a career in ANY other field that requires state licensure. In other words--you have a "choice"--admit or risk loosing not only your license, but your freedom and your future....this is a VERY complex situation that people cannot even begin to understand until they've either been there themselves, are willing to believe in a nurse that says she's innocent after listening to the whole story and most importantly, believing that this absolutely CAN and DOES happen all the time to our peers.
  4. by   Lemonhead
    Railroad, I'm glad you didn't cave to their "offers". It's only after admitting to something they didn't do, that a person realizes the catastrophic mistake they may have made.
    First of all, don't discuss this situation with ANYONE other than an attorney. Do NOT talk to former fellow employees or ANYONE else associated with this facility..just keep in mind, that anything you say can be used against you--and anything you say, as innocent as it may be, can be twisted as well.
    I would definately contact an attorney. The hospital may end the action right then and there, as some do. But some also see it as a possible liability and report you to the board. Get an attorney that can start some dialogue with the hospital and find out exactly what is going on. You should not be left hanging like this. And, if it's reported the Board, they may close the case after talking to your attorney, or they may feel the need to prove a point and take you on as the daily scapegoat.
    Look out for #1 right now and protect yourself and your reputation--
    If this goes on, there are alot of actions that you can take to protect yourself and present a positive case..your attorney should be well versed in that. In the meantime, stick to your guns and protect yourself! Please keep us updated. Nurses need to hear more of these particular horror stories. There is one in Ohio right now that has waited almost 2 years for a board hearing to defend herself...nurses need to know this happens and how hard it can be to rebound from it. Thanks for sharing your story.
  5. by   Lemonhead
    And by the way..."giving up the license" does not stop the process....the criminal justice system will continue in pursuing charges, the state board will still report to national data banks and your resume, despite years of a spotless record, will become mud. It's not as if "giving up the license" paves the way for a new life. It's only the beginning of a downward spiral.
  6. by   zephyr
    Quote from Mschrisco
    Two aspects to an acknowledged drug problem: punishment and treatment.
    Punishment is mandatory. I believe treatment should be voluntary.)
    Mschrisco
    Participation in alternative programs(and receive treatment) IS voluntary.

    The nurse has a choice:
    alternative program and do as they say to prevent board discipline
    or
    board (disciplinary/"punishment") route, and have permanent license action. And still "do as they (the board) say" to ever have that license again.

    The nurses here who complain about having to go to meetings they don't want to go to have a choice to not go and lose the license.

    Meetings are a small price to pay.

    What kind of work do you do, Tommyperkins? You aren't a nurse are you?

    z~
  7. by   mscsrjhm
    Quote from zephyr
    Participation in alternative programs(and receive treatment) IS voluntary.

    The nurse has a choice:
    alternative program and do as they say to prevent board discipline
    or
    board (disciplinary/"punishment") route, and have permanent license action. And still "do as they (the board) say" to ever have that license again.

    The nurses here who complain about having to go to meetings they don't want to go to have a choice to not go and lose the license.

    Meetings are a small price to pay.

    What kind of work do you do, Tommyperkins? You aren't a nurse are you?

    z~
    To get technical, they do not have a choice if they want to keep their license. I do not believe in forced treatment. Punishment/monitoring is enough for some people. Those for whom it isn't enough, then they would have the choice-Fix it somehow, or lose your license. To fix it, some might chose AA, counseling, or spending some time away from society (I could do some 'fixing' with solitare camping for a couple of weeks.)
    However, NO, they do not have a choice.
    Mschrisco
  8. by   mamabear
    Quote from zoeboboey
    i've been a member for 18 years and according to the 12 traditions "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. the rest are suggestions only, things that have helped members get sober and stay sober, they are strongly encouraged, but certainly not enforced.
    i, too, have been a member for 18 years. if anyone interested would read the beginning of the 5th chapter of "alcoholics anonymous", aka the big book, they would learn that "... these are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery". i've known several rns who, as part of keeping their licenses (after committing drug-related offenses on the job), are mandated to attend a certain number of aa/na meetings, and are given an attendance slip which is to be signed (first name only, of course) by the chairperson of the meeting. the notion of a higher power is a power greater than myself who can restore me to sanity. if you've ever been ensnared by any chemical addiction for any length of time, you know what insanity is:doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. i'm sure i'll sliced and diced for my stance , but it literally saved my life.
  9. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from zephyr

    What kind of work do you do, Tommyperkins? You aren't a nurse are you?

    z~
    No, I'm not a nurse. Does that make me ineligible to express my opinion here?
  10. by   leslie :-D
    whether one agrees with aa/na or not is a moot point. why not consider it as part of the punishment?
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from mamabear
    i, too, have been a member for 18 years. if anyone interested would read the beginning of the 5th chapter of "alcoholics anonymous", aka the big book, they would learn that "... these are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery". i've known several rns who, as part of keeping their licenses (after committing drug-related offenses on the job), are mandated to attend a certain number of aa/na meetings, and are given an attendance slip which is to be signed (first name only, of course) by the chairperson of the meeting. the notion of a higher power is a power greater than myself who can restore me to sanity. if you've ever been ensnared by any chemical addiction for any length of time, you know what insanity is:doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. i'm sure i'll sliced and diced for my stance , but it literally saved my life.

    congrats!!! i think those who have been sincerely ensared by chemical addiction have an easier time with aa/na. it's those who aren't addicts, but get thrown into the system because a narcotic count/waste error, or those who are opposed to the religious aspect who are having the problem. why throw someone who made a count error and has a clean drug screen into aa/na for five years?

    when people's live's are in danger perhaps the "beyond a shadow of a doubt" isn't the best idea, but treatment should be a little more individualized.

    yes, we all know it's suggested, and you only have to choose a higher power which could be anything, but that's not the point. the point was choice, some people and programs believe the power comes from within. didn't work for you and that's fine.
  12. by   Tweety
    Quote from zephyr
    Participation in alternative programs(and receive treatment) IS voluntary.

    The nurse has a choice:
    alternative program and do as they say to prevent board discipline
    or
    board (disciplinary/"punishment") route, and have permanent license action. And still "do as they (the board) say" to ever have that license again.

    The nurses here who complain about having to go to meetings they don't want to go to have a choice to not go and lose the license.

    Meetings are a small price to pay.

    z~
    True they can accept the treatment offered or loose their license. Most of them go along with whatever it takes to keep their license. But the point is that to force people into the religous programs of AA/NA is illegal.
  13. by   mamabear
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    True they can accept the treatment offered or loose their license. Most of them go along with whatever it takes to keep their license. But the point is that to force people into the religous programs of AA/NA is illegal.
    Dear me The preamble that is read at the beginning of all AA meetings in the NW Indiana area states: "AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organizations, or institutions; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses or opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober, and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." :angryfire

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