Quote from DogWmn
Years ago, if you were a convicted drug felon - that was it, no more nursing for you. Now it seems in most states you go through some sort of program and wham back you go into nursing. Not sure if it's appropriate.
Why wouldn't it be appropriate? I don't think that's a fair assessment. Nobody would say that people with diabetes or depression shouldn't be a nurse. Heck, if that were true there wouldn't BE any nurses. Addiction and alcoholism is very prevalent in the healthcare community. These people are highly educated; why wouldn't hospitals take them on just because they had been treated successfully for addiction?
I went through rehab last year for severe depression and while I was there i met quite a few nurses and a few doctors who had consent orders for diverting drugs. We were all in a very intensive psych program and all of them were in at least 90 days, followed by a few months to a year in a sober living apartment. While there they have to work, volunteer, or go back to school 40hrs a week, submit to random drug/alcohol tests (at their expense, I might add), and participate in the program to the fullest. Every one of them were highly commited to the program and for several of them it was their last chance. THey are required to continue some kind of documented drug/alcohol program with drug testing 2-3 times a week for FIVE YEARS or more in order to keep their licensure.
The BON has very strict standards for these nurses. I would daresay that a nurse who goes through such a program is probably more educated in the process and disease of addiction than almost ANYONE else,nurses and doctors included. ANd in fact, they are more sober than the average person--they CANNOT drink or drug EVER because the repercussions can cost them everything and they know it. The consequences of relapse can be severe--loss of licensure and turned out of their sober living facility. Some of them will even be sent to jail for violating the terms of their probation.
I have a great nursing support group which has many former addict/alcoholics and I really admire them. It's a very difficult disease to beat and the relapse rate is high. I think that anyone who is able to overcome the disease of alcoholism or addiction and can maintain their sobriety is deserving of a second or even a third chance.