Nurses Diverting Drugs? - page 4

How big is this problem really? Is it bigger than we think? I am graduating in May and started a 3 week preceptorship on Saturday. My preceptor told me that they had 2 RNs last month that just got... Read More

  1. by   LLDPaRN
    Like Ohio, the PA SBON puts out a newsletter (can't remember if it's quarterly or semi-annually) and at the end there is a rather extensive list of those who have had some action against their license. It always amazes (and saddens) me how many of those actions are related to drug or alcohol abuse (either directly or indirectly).

    Like Heather said above, Pyxis helps, but if an addict wants to steal drugs to get their fix, I suspect they will find a way, even if there is an automated system. I thankfully have never had experience with this problem personally and hope I never will!

    Laurie
    Not so newly minted MSN
  2. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by New CCU RN
    I would think it would make it at least a little harder for a nurse to divert then... I mean.. it is pretty easy to target who is taking the med, right?
    Absolutely. But it doesn't change how difficult it is to get the drug. It just signs your name to it. Which, in the throws of addiction, no addict really cares about.
  3. by   New CCU RN
    Gotcha, I guess that makes sense.... really it is a very sad thing. I feel very bad for anyone who suffers with such an addiction.
  4. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    , When I was an LPN, I worked w/ an RN who was found unconscious in the bathroom with a syringe still in her arm and several multi-dose vials of MSO4 in her pocket. One LPN had suspected her for a long time and had spoken to our DON, but was blown off.

    This RN was also offered rehab, no weekends, no nocs, etc. She refused. It was several years later when I finally saw her name in The State Board newsletter. She was listed under the "license revoked, drug related" section.
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Most nurses I know who have diverted drugs have had chronic pain issues vs addiction to narcs, and this is sad.

    Those with chronic conditions or are post injury are seen as a 'risk'. I have been injured (OJI plus MVA)required surgery, and was in considerable pain for years, so I am sensitive to this as I have had to overcome multiple obstacles to return to work.

    If a nurse takes a RX analgesic.. say for legitimate bouts of arthritis pain... and admits to it or shows up on preemployment drug screen, in my area they likely will have great difficulty getting a job today. Now they may NEED a job, and can DO the job, yet don't dare create a paper trail leading to suspicion and potential losses, so they may in time consider finding painkillers illegally so they can work and bring $$ to their family...

    This has been the situation in half a dozen nurses I know who have been caught diverting. They were IMO good nurses in chronic pain who didn't dare admit it... and diverted extra doses their way to control their OWN pain...which was a bad decision on their part of course.

    Pain control is paramount today to our patients...but a nurse or doctor in pain seems to be a different animal.

    So why couldn't their pain be treated honestly and upfront? Well...if the system allowed them to I feel they would have done so....at least in the situations I encountered.

    I'm glad to hear some facilities WILL work with a nurse or doc in this situation but in my area it doesn't often happen. The general rule here is injured staff are discarded/forced out and nurses and docs who need pain control don't deserve to stay in the medical profession. Those attitudes are out there and are unfortunate, IMO.
  6. by   jfpruitt
    Well, I can't believe all this discussion about RN's and diversion and it was happening right under my nose. I am currently doing my preceptorship at the local VA. My RN that is my instructor was just busted on Friday for diversion!!!!!!!!! He was escorted out by the nurse manager and the police. What a wake up call for me. He really hadn't started working with me yet on giving out patient meds, and maybe now I see why. He was probably afraid I would catch on if I was beside him the whole day.
  7. by   FutureNurse2005
    This topic is a sad one to have to deal with, but I appreciate all the thoughts and stories! Before reading this thread, I never would have thought much about it!

    Thanks for opening my eyes to something so serious!
  8. by   TMPaul
    I am the Employee Health NP for the hospital and can tell you first hand from having to do reasonable suspicion drug screens.. It's a big problem that's just getting bigger. In most states (check your nurse practice act) you ARE obligated to report to the nursing board and can be held liable if you knew of a problem and DID NOT report.
  9. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Hey, drug abuse and addiction IS a sensitive topic, I am GLAD to see it. I'm a recovering alkie and had I not been so scared of what different drugs could do I'd probably be one of the diverters.

    Telling on them is doing them a favor so don't hold back; the sooner they are found out the better.

    These people taking narcs aren't doing it because they are theives, they are doing it cuz they have a compulsion and a mental obsession that without intervention will go on til they are dead, in jail, or in a mental institution. They live with the guilt and the fear of what they are doing every day. But without the drugs they fear they will die.

    Some are in abusive relationships and are doing it for their mate, again feeling that they have no choice. If they don't do it they fear they may be killed.

    I think it's hard not to judge nurses who are in this position, but you would not BELIEVE how many of us nurses end up in AA or NA. Nurses are so often giving every ounce of themselves away that they have no clue how to take care of themselves! Many CAN be rehabilitated and then "serve their time" by helping other addicted persons with their own experience. I just LOVE being able to do that for people.
  10. by   canadiannurse21
    Until this post, I never even heard of drug diversion before--i've heard of actually stealing drugs, but not diverting. Its sad, and it goes against all of the principles we nurses are supposed to be representing. Cheers goes out to all of those who actually do:roll
  11. by   canadiannurse21
    "I think it's hard not to judge nurses who are in this position, but you would not BELIEVE how many of us nurses end up in AA or NA. Nurses are so often giving every ounce of themselves away that they have no clue how to take care of themselves! Many CAN be rehabilitated and then "serve their time" by helping other addicted persons with their own experience. I just LOVE being able to do that for people."---------Zooboboey

    That is sooo true, alot of nurses I know are excellent on the floor, and have so many terrible heartbreaking problems outside of work. Some nurses say they feel like they give and give but never receive (love that is).
  12. by   giggles66
    Hi! Everyone:


    I am not trying to pass judgement, accuse anyone of anything or trying to cause a stirr. I am just asking questions,giving my oppion and asking for feedback.

    As a Pre-Nursing Major and I have posted several times to ask questions about the different area of nursing that are of interest to me. I came across the question about Nurses Diverting Drugs?. I was wondering if this topic is discussed in nursing school at any length? And if it is not Why? And no any of you think it should be? When I had considerd going to school for LPN the topic was mentioned during the pre-admission interview but not at length. I just do not understand and I cannot believe that any nursing student who worked so hard at getting into nursing school or a nurse would even consider doing such a thing. I am working so hard with my pre-requitsites for nursing school that I would not risk my nursing license for anybody or anything. I live in the city and there is drugs on almost every street corner and I live in an apt building with a bunch of "cokeheads" I cannot stand it. Unfortunetly because of my financial situation I have to stay put for now. I feel very sad for any nurse who either comes into the profession already addicted or who becomes addicted once they are working in it. Does anyone think that if the issue of drug abuse among nurses is stressed more in nursing school that it may help future nurses from becoming addicted? IS there a requirement for nursing schools to do drug tests of their applicants?. I am not saying this to weed out anyone potenally good nurses, but it will allow the student to try and rehabilitate themself with the promise of entering nursing clean and sober without risking the lives of patients and their license. I know there are facilities that have drug testing for their employees and the repercussions for drug use varies by each work place, but what are the rehabilitation options for nurses once they are found out to be diverting drugs?

    Carmen
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Carmen, I really appreciate these questions! I think all these topics ought to be covered -- drug diversion, ethical behavior, yes, but beyond that. What about, how to take care of the caregiver, ME? How to prevent burnout. How to find healthy emotional support. How to help one another instead of being the first one to finish an assignment? What are the signs/symptoms of burnout, addiction, mental illness (chiefly depression) in the nurse herself? I graduated from nursing school in 1981 -- the premise was, give your all to the patients, give your all to the hospital, give your all and drop everything for the doctor. What about what we owe OURSELVES?

    Any nursing instructors or students here who could tell us if these topics are covered in nursing school nowadays?

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