In response to questions and comments by those of you who have replied:
Sorry if I confused you somewhat regarding the conveniently "forgot" part.......what I believe I said was that the Nurse who is diverting for her own use (or to sell), conveniently "forgets" to chart that the narcotic was "given" on the patient's med sheet, thinking wrongfully that because she/he didn't chart it as "given", no one will notice or care. (The drug is floating around in the Nurse's brain instead.)
To answer "JNJ" and the question: "What prompted you to post this?"
For whatever reason, recently I have received private e-mails from members of allnurses.com who are new members who have posted, and who read one of my entries over a year ago when I shared about my own personal journey into the hell of addiction as a medical professional. The most frequently asked question was: "How do Nurses divert drugs anyway?" A legitimate question and one no one likes to ask.
On August the 8th of this year I will celebrate 8 years of continued total abstinence from any addictive drug (including alcohol since that was where it all began for me in the first place), and it's a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I was most fortunate to have an employer who understood this as a "dis-ease" and saw to it that I got the help I desperately needed at that time. My employer effected an intervention that resulted in my being restored to sound mind, body, and spirit. I self-reported to my Board of Nursing and entered the Diversion Program that was available. I reached out to all and whatever help was available and as a result of all of that help, from many many people......professional and non-professionals alike........I am living a new way of life I never dreamed could be possible. I never lost my license, I never faced criminal charges, although the possibility was very real at the time. The statistics we have available for a Nurse recovering from narcotic addiction are grim indeed, and we rarely hear about the "successes." I continue to practise my profession today without restrictions because I believed in the hope that was held out to me and RAN for that help!!
Narcotic addiction for Nurses who are practising in the profession is a huge problem that continues to be "swept" under the carpet because hospitals do NOT want that kind of "publicity" (and rightfully so) and prefer to "get rid of" the problem in many instances by firing the Nurse, or bringing criminal charges, as opposed to recoginizing addiction for what it is: a cunning, baffling, and powerful dis-ease that destroys good people, who deserve the best in treatment if they would only reach out for it when it is offerred.
Much progress has been made on the part of employers, but we have a long way to go toward embracing our suffering colleagues as the caring professionals they truly are and doing it with the intent of helping them recover.
I was not a "bad" person who needed to become "good" again, I was a very, very sick human being, who needed to get well.........and I have, and am so grateful for all of the help I received when I needed it the most.
I welcome any questions about my personal experience and if you so choose you can e-mail me privately at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank-you for your comments as I continually learn more, the further I travel down this road we call "recovery."
Bonnie Creighton,RN, Minnesota