Quote from MrNurse(x2)
Healthcare workers are in a unique environment where they are constantly around opioids and yet can not be prescribed them, lest they be found out by the BON and be reprimanded. Those who may have pain issues are the only stories I have heard of in my long career. One nurse with renal CA and another with traumatic knee injury that was being misdiagnosed. Those Percocet was what made their shifts physically bearable. Really doesn't matter what you think about prn opioid use, it is illegal, read your nurse practice act, that is in never, not when you are off, when you leave your shift, never. Put that up against what happens to your profession when caught, it is arguably worse to go before the board. Repeat offenders should probably be prosecuted, but first time offenders should probably be given a pass.
I'm now practicing in the fifth state of my career, and I've never heard anyone in any of those states suggest that there was a problem with nurses being legitimately prescribed opioids, or any other controlled substance, for a legitimate medical need. Obviously, working
impaired is always an issue, regardless of the legitimacy of the rx.
Just now, out of curiosity, I skimmed over the NPA and the BON regulations for my current state and the state I consider my permanent "home" state (where I have spent most of my career), and see no mention at all of anything about nurses and prescribed medications other than lengthy sections about nurses with substance dependency
issues. The closest thing I found was a statement in my home state's NPA that the Board can discipline or revoke the license of any nurse who "uses any drug to a degree that interferes with his or her fitness to practice nursing" (without differentiating whether the medication is legitimately rx'd vs. being used illicitly).
I've been prescribed opioids a few times over the years for short-term use after surgical procedures or injuries, and no one has ever suggested that that might conflict with my licensure.
heard people comment on this site that Florida, specifically, has a rule against any opioids for nurses, ever (although I have no first hand knowledge of that). I've never heard of that being the case in any other state.
And what is your logic for "first time offenders should probably be given a pass"? As someone else noted, if a person on the street stole a controlled substance from a pharmacy, that person would be prosecuted. Why should it be any different for healthcare professionals?