Former drug addicts becoming nurses? - page 2

A relative of mine struggled with drug addiction for years. She was in and out of rehab in another state. Now she's suddenly pregnant, married, and going to nursing school, having moved back to her... Read More

  1. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from Emergent
    About 10 years.

    To the person who called me names, I'm bringing this up as a general subject, with my relative as an example. This wasn't just a little partying, this woman was in rehab at least 3 times for addiction and abuse of hard drugs.

    Is nursing, with its frequent handling of controlled substances, a good career choice for a recovering drug addict? Alcohol seems to be a different beast in my mind, but I may be wrong.

    I'm wondering if there's any hard data on this subject, or only emotive speculation?
    You would have to do some research on your own to discover if the topic has been studied. Otherwise, you will only have antidotal evidence from AN forum.

    But I agree with the others who have stated that nurses aren't angels. As I have stated before: we reflect the general population.

    Only your relative will be able to determine whether nursing is a good career option for HER. You can't do that, and neither can any of us.

    I am hoping that she will remain in recovery, as it is what is best for her and her family.
  2. by   Emergent
    To everyone calling me judgemental, you are sounding like you all are making snap judgements yourselves.

    I'll leave this thread, which maybe can become an interesting discussion instead of devolving into a personal analysis of myself and my motives.

    My argument against is that a new marriage, baby, and nursing school is a lot pressure all at once to someone with a not very long period of recovery and multiple relapses.

    Of course the argument for is hope, and the possibility of human redemption.
  3. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from Emergent
    To everyone calling me judgemental, you are sounding like you all are making snap judgements yourselves.

    I'll leave this thread, which maybe can become an interesting discussion instead of devolving into a personal analysis of myself and my motives.

    My argument against is that a new marriage, baby, and nursing school is a lot pressure all at once to someone with a not very long period of recovery and multiple relapses.

    Of course the argument for is hope, and the possibility of human redemption.
    I do get your concern that she might be biting off a lot. My first thought is that if she is in a supportive marriage, she can probably handle a lot. If she isn't, then it won't be fun to watch the fallout. But despite your concerns just try to be happy for all the positive changes in her life. It's all you can do at the moment. Try not to create negative energy by worrying about her too much. My best to you both.
  4. by   pixierose
    Quote from Emergent
    To everyone calling me judgemental, you are sounding like you all are making snap judgements yourselves.

    I'll leave this thread, which maybe can become an interesting discussion instead of devolving into a personal analysis of myself and my motives.

    My argument against is that a new marriage, baby, and nursing school is a lot pressure all at once to someone with a not very long period of recovery and multiple relapses.

    Of course the argument for is hope, and the possibility of human redemption.
    I get your argument.

    I just don't think it *should* be an argument.

    It can't be easy going through recovery. There's so much stigma. I think that's why your OP rubbed me a bit wrong. If she's going to become a nursing student, I can't imagine what she would feel like stumbling on to this thread. It would suck.

    I think, if you're going to bring this up on a public forum, then you should talk to her 1:1.
  5. by   hppygr8ful
    Ok chiming in. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic. I have been sober for 17 years. I have to say that nursing has been exceptionally good for my recovery. Yes it's stressful as is being a wife and a mother (I am all of these) but today because of the principles of my recovery I am stronger that ever.

    When a person truly embraces sobriety everything in their life changes for the better but we are always on the ledge of relapse. There are no guarantee's in life. If she has a criminal record related to her addictions she may well start our her career under a monitoring program which gives you all kind of reasons not to pick up and use.

    No person who has found recovery is ever "Recovered" we are always recovering. Only 15% of all people who seek recovery achieve lasting sobriety. What an addict in recovery needs is someone to share their experience, strength and hope with. Naysayers standing in the wings waiting for the person to fail should not be part of their life.

    BTW there are nursing jobs that do not require on the pass or even access narcotics.

    I wish both you are your relative well.

    Hppy
  6. by   Munch
    It can go either way. At my current job a nurse was caught diverting narcotics and they put her in a diversion program. After rehab and jumping through BON and admin hoops she came back to work. She didn't last 2 hours..she was found in the bathroom unconscious with a carpuject of morphine and a needle in her arm. Luckily she didn't die. I am sure her intentions were good but being around the narcotics was too much temptation for her.

    Another nurse at my previous employer same situation. Diverting narcotics for her own personal use. After rehab and all the red tape with the BON and administration she came back to work. She has been clean ever since and is thriving. Last I heard she was pregnant with her second child, had a nice apartment in Manhattan and had plans to go back to school to be a NP. I'm so happy for her.

    Its a toss of a coin I guess. I wish your relative luck and hope she stays on the wagon. That is the most important thing because unless she is sober everything else will crumble. As for being a nurse with addiction problems of course it can be done. Being in nursing school and pregnant might actually be good for her sobriety. It might motivate her to be clean, being a good mother and a good nurse is a tangible goal and something to be clean for.
  7. by   Tenebrae
    I'm an addict. MY drug of choice was temazepam.

    Working in palliative care, I've never once felt tempted to misappropriate drugs from the work place. And I never would. I have a career that I love and I'll be dammed if I'm going to let addiction ruin it.


    What actually tempted the hell out of me in the last few weeks was the death of my brother in law from pancreatic cancer. Expected but still a massive kick in the guts. Guess who got allocated the job of taking all the injectable meds, midazolam, oxycocodone back to the pharmacy. Yip. And all along the way I was thinking "They'd never know if a few boxes were missing, no one would ever know"... I didnt, although when given two large supermarket bags containing the same it was very tempting.

    I think anyone can change. Where there is life, there is hope.

    I do think though its important to acknowledge our own journey as nurses, and to acknowledge the things that could potentially curtail and crash our careers. I have several strategies in place in my private and professional life to maintain about 10 years clean time.
  8. by   vanilla bean
    Quote from Emergent
    To everyone calling me judgemental, you are sounding like you all are making snap judgements yourselves.

    I'll leave this thread, which maybe can become an interesting discussion instead of devolving into a personal analysis of myself and my motives.

    My argument against is that a new marriage, baby, and nursing school is a lot pressure all at once to someone with a not very long period of recovery and multiple relapses.

    Of course the argument for is hope, and the possibility of human redemption.
    Oh, c'mon Emergent, stay engaged. I had the same initial thoughts as a few other posters in terms of thinking you were being a bit judgmental based on your OP, but maybe if several of us were getting that vibe, it could prove an opportunity for you to further assess your point of view about the situation. Whether we're way off base or not, a little reflection about the topic can't exactly be a bad thing, can it? By the way, we have no way *but* to make a "snap judgement" one way or the other because we are reacting to the limited information that you posted without knowing anything about the dynamics of your interpersonal relationship with this other person.

    I hope you're checking back in and reading subsequent posts; we've had the privileged opportunity of reading posts shared by recovering addicts from our own little family here that may help to put your mind at ease or give you hope for the future success of your relative.

    Don't bristle and walk away because you disagree with what some of us have thought in reaction to your post, you're made of stronger stuff than that.
  9. by   inthecosmos
    None of us can predict the future. We can make assumptions about the future based on trajectories from the past. Addiction is difficult to overcome, but even more difficult when you have no one on your side. Your comments can come off as harsh as they project she will fail and you're "concerned" over her career. If she does relapse, that's ultimately her decision. If you show support and encouragement you can help change her trajectory.

    Best of luck to her. May she be fruitful in her endeavors.
  10. by   LibbyJo
    While i think it's none of your business, I know lots of nurses who are also recovering people. They are fine, doing fine, and occasionally have safeguards or restrictions with the meds they can pass. It's no big deal, really.

    Addiction has a stigma. It shouldn't, because anyone can be an addict. All ages, races, socio-economic statuses. t's a disease, and recovery is possible. It sounds like judgement from you because you are focusing solely on her addiction. But have you considered her character? Maybe she wants to give back in some way. Maybe she's interested in drug and alcohol nursing which involves little to no narcotics. Or mental health nursing because she's empathetic which is a good quality to have.

    Every state in the country has a program run by the state board of nursing that specifically assists people who are nurses that also have the disease of addiction. They get a chance to recover and work even with *gasp* addiction. If it's okay with your state board, why do you have a problem with it?
  11. by   inthecosmos
    Quote from LibbyJo
    Addiction has a stigma. It shouldn't, because anyone can be an addict. All ages, races, socio-economic statuses. t's a disease, and recovery is possible.
    THIS!
  12. by   ctdfmags
    Quote from EGspirit
    If you don't love her enough to have hope for her, then just stay out of her way. .
    LOVE THIS
  13. by   thoughtful21
    Quote from vanilla bean
    ...it could prove an opportunity for you to further assess your point of view about the situation...we've had the privileged opportunity of reading posts shared by recovering addicts from our own little family here that may help to put your mind at ease or give you hope for the future success of your relative.
    The stigma against mental health and addiction runs deep in our society. I think many people have underlying prejudices without fully realizing it.
    This thread has been very good. Thanks everyone for posting!

close