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LilRedRN1973 11,965 Views

Joined Sep 11, '03. LilRedRN1973 is a Registered Nurse. He has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ICU, psych, corrections'. Posts: 1,165 (14% Liked) Likes: 454

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  • Mar 26

    So when I went into treatment, I did not fit the clinical diagnosis for alcoholism. I didn't meet the criteria of an alcoholic but certainly hit every single one of them for an addiction. So for the past 23 months, I've been saying "I'm an addict. I could easily turn into an alcoholic by switching addictions or the alcohol would lead me back into my drug of choice (opiates)." I tried NA meetings in the beginning and they didn't work for me so I attend AA meetings and love them. I attend mostly AA meetings that are open to ALL addicts/alcoholics, etc. But for those who weren't, I always identified myself as an alcoholic. At some, I got the feeling I wasn't all that welcome to be there because I was an ADDICT, not an alcoholic, etc. And as time went on, I did start to feel as though I was almost "misrepresenting" myself or there under false pretenses, which went against the principles of a program of rigorous honesty.

    Well, I've started to get all twisted and resentful about this over the past few weeks. I started to take a good look at myself and started talking about it at my Aftercare that I attend once a week (I continue to attend although I was released after a year by the Board because I love, love, love this group and feel it's integral to my sobriety). I also brought it to my nurse support group, my LADC, and my sponsor. Then, I prayed about it and sat with myself, thinking long and hard. I started to write. And write. And wrote some more. I pulled out my autobiography from Intensive Outpatient and noticed that there was hardly any of my experiences with alcohol written in there; only my recent past with my pill use. I started to make a list, beginning with my first drink at age 17. As I wrote, I realized there was behavior in there that didn't fit with a non-alcoholic. I won't go into details but suffice it to say, I was baffled as to why it was left out of my autobiography or why I had denied it for the past 23 months. Where was it hiding and why?

    So I still don't fit the CLINICAL diagnosis.....but I certainly fit every other outline of any other alcoholic out there. I was just too damn hung up on the clinical matrix of the whole thing to look outside the box. And you know what? I'm relieved! And freed! Yes, I'm an alcoholic!!! I don't have to "fight" anymore. Somehow, somewhere, I was fighting....subconsciously, I think. It was leaving the door open. Because you see, if I wasn't an alcoholic and just an addict, then years down the road, when I had left the monitoring program and the Board of Nursing in the dust, I could be sitting around the dinner table with my family (who doesn't quite get the "why can't you drink if you just had a problem with pills" thing) and they would think nothing of my having a glass of wine. That glass of wine would turn into 2, which would turn into 4 and then the bottle. Looking over my history with alcohol, I do not have a very good track record of controlling my use (trying to and failing, yes....controlling, no). I think this disease is so f'ing cunning, powerful, and baffling, that it was waiting for that day. I do. I think my denying that part of me, it was leaving that door open just a tiny bit. My husband, of course, is completely confused and left scratching his head "You're happy that you are also an alcoholic? Uh, okay."

    I think it stems from my mom and dad. My mom was an addict and my dad an alcoholic. My mom quit her drugs and moved on. She got on with her life and was able to quit. My dad, not so much. He continues to drink to this day and is in complete denial about his drinking. So in my twisted little mind, I equated addict = good, alcoholic = bad. I remember times where I would be pulling a bottle of vodka out of the freezer because it had been a hard night at work, then freaking out because "I was just like my dad" and dumping the entire thing down the drain. I was always thinking about not "becoming my dad". But when the pills popped up, it was okay because A)they were prescribed to me B)I was in pain C)I was a nurse and so that made it acceptable.

    This past week has been a HUGE week for me....this realization has given me such newfound respect for the disease of addiction. I've had respect for it all along but not like this. The fact that I could have been in such denial about the alcoholic part of my disease for this long (I will celebrate 2 years June 30th, God willing) is simply amazing to me. I cannot even begin to count the times I've uttered the statement, "I'm not an alcoholic, but I could be". I've always readily admitted the addict part of me but could not bring myself to believe the alcoholic part. And now, I'm ready to shout it from the rooftops. Well, not quite the rooftops, but you get the idea. I just had to share with others who might understand the significance this has had on my recovery. It's big. Really big. And I'm grateful. Really grateful. It's wonderful to be here today and I'm glad to be a recovering alcoholic/addict!

  • Mar 26

    In my state, she would be given the opportunity to report herself to the Board of Nursing, which would allow her to be put on a monitoring contract. This enables her to have a "clean record" with no disciplinary action taken against her license once she is finished with the contract. If a nurse does not report herself, that option is no longer there and they would be put on probation. Still have to do all the same things in the monitoring program but there would always be a report of disciplinary action. For example, a colleage of mine was put onto a probation contract wherease I reported myself. If you look up my name on the Board of Nursing website, there is no disciplinary action noted. If you look up his, it says "YES" in big red letters for disciplinary action and that will always be there.

    That being said, each state is different. In my state, the Board handles all the disclipinary action and the monitoring. Some states utilize a separate entity, such as Texas. I went through treatment, intensive outpatient, then a year of Aftercare. I also did individual counseling, attend a nurse support group once a week, and call in daily for random drug/alcohol testing (and am tested about once a month).

    I am surprised she was still over the legal limit (she shouldn't have had ANY alcohol in her system prior to going to work) when she went to work....she must have consumed a fair amount of alcohol. I would ask where her judgement was being a nurse and drinking prior to going to work. I did much worse but then again, I was active in my disease and my brain was not working clearly = ) Now that I'm in recovery, I would never make those same decisions. Being put into the monitoring program has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was introduced to AA and the program of recovery, which has enabled me to be free from depression for the first time in my life (without the aid of medication). I sleep better, I lose my temper less, and I'm a better wife, mother, nurse, and all around person. I know not everyone feels that way about their state's monitoring program but I feel blessed that they were there to push me into discovering my issues with alcohol and other substances (pills especially). I hope everything turns out well for your daughter.

  • Feb 18

    It takes a lot to actually have your license revoked in my state. I was found unconscious at work due to a pain medication addiction, turned myself in and am on a 5 year contract with the Board. I didn't work for about 8 months after getting clean/sober because I was in rehab, then intensive outpatient, then counseling, plus attending daily AA meetings. I gratefully have been employed for 3 1/2 years at the same facility and my license is only in danger of being revoked should I decide I want to drink, do drugs, or don't follow my contract. A colleage of mine was also on contract for being in recovery from methamphetamines; he had to test positive TWICE before they revoked his license. He has to wait 5 years to reapply. Another colleage of mine was diverting from the VA and was charged federally since it was a goverment building. She has multiple charges, has been clean/sober for almost 7 years and has been working as a nurse for the past 5 years. I could go on and on but none of us have had our licenses revoked and it would take not being compliant with our contract.

    I did see the disciplinary hearings for the Board as part of my contract and was shocked at the amount of nurses they had brought before the board for numerous offenses such as refusing to give an order for a medications (a drip that was only supposed to be administered in a unit, not on the floor; she was acting accordingly and her nurse supervisor turned on her). It turned out the nurse supervisor falsified all kinds of documents to try and get this newer nurse in serious trouble. The attorney for the nurse being investigated was awesome and was able to prove that the nursing supervisor falsified time records, blood glucose readings, etc. The newer nurse was absolved of any guilt and an investigation was opened on the nurse supervisor. Another was a case of leaving a bair hugger on a patient and causing third degree burns. She didn't use it properly and was subequently found guilty with her license revoked. There were others but those are the ones that stand out. It was eye opening to attend the disciplinary hearings and see how nurses throw one another under the bus. Scary, in fact.

  • Nov 18 '16

    I left the ICU and ended up in an outpatient psychiatric clinic for 5 years. I LOVED it. I loved the "normal" hours, Monday through Friday. I loved having an hour for lunch. I loved having my own office with a window and a plant with supplies that were there the next day exactly where I left them. I loved not having to fight other nurses for computers to do my charting. I loved the interaction I had with the patients. I loved actually having the time to do patient education and other nursing tasks without being pulled in a million directions.

    I am now a nursing supervisor in a prison and while it's not the bedside, it is the prison hospital. What I love about the actual job (not the higher management and coworkers...that's another story) is taking care of the inmates and being able to practice nursing without rude family members questioning why grandma had to wait 5 min for her water or Uncle Bob's pain meds took too long to be given, etc. I love not having patient satisfaction polls and surveys. I love not having to cowtow to the patient and kiss their rear end for fear they will report me for not "doing my job" when in fact, I AM doing my job to the best of my ability but without enough staff, sometimes things take a little longer than I would like.

    I don't enjoy the people, however. My theory is that because they are all paid a ton of money (we all make well over $80k/year for a very easy, cush job), they have turned into spoiled brats. I'm stuck on the movie set of Mean Girls, I swear. I think they have forgotten what it's like to work their tails off for a lot less money and be treated poorly. The inmates are extremely grateful for the care and for the most part, my actual job is enjoyable. I don't regret leaving the hospital setting for one second. Ever.

  • Aug 15 '16

    Dialysis, psych and corrections. All are contract friendly in my state. At the prison where I currently work, IF you can get on day shift, the Department of Corrections is a good place to work. It also pays extremely well, around $80k a year. Dialysis is the way I went, for a few months anyway. Then I ended up in the state run outpatient psychiatric clinic. It was an excellent place to spend my time on contract. My supervisor had been on contract years and years prior so he was very empathetic to nurses on contract and in fact, had 4 of us working there.

  • Jul 11 '16

    I have not posted here in a LONG time (several years, I'm guessing) and I don't even know if there any familiar names on the board anymore but I wanted to put it out there to those just getting started that it CAN be done. I entered into my monitoring contract with the state of NV in July 2008, got my license back in March 2009 and as of May 21st, I am done with the board! I was granted full licensure back and no discipline will remain on my record. I am coming up on 6 years of sobriety on June 30th and was just offered a job as a nursing supervisor; I happily accepted. I learned so much being on contract and wouldn't have changed a thing. I am very grateful for the support and accountability the board provided for me and will always be thankful to them for giving me a better life than I could have imagined. Completion of a 5 year contract feels fabulous and I can't believe how fast it went after that first year or two.

  • Jul 10 '16

    I received my license back in March 2009 and had a job that day. But here is why: while completing all my requirements for my state's BON (we have a committee that actually deals with all the disciplined nurses called the Professional Evaluation Group; the BON doesn't deal directly with us), I applied for a job as a dialysis tech. I was upfront with them and explained why, when I had been licensed as an RN, I was applying for a job as a tech. They were understanding and in fact, held a nursing position for me while I was trained and worked as a tech. The day the BON gave their approval for my (restricted) license to be granted, I was moved from tech position to RN. I stayed there for about 3 months and ended up getting a job with an outpatient psychiatric facility affiliated with the state. It is a desk RN job where I spend 30 min seeing a client and then they go in with the psychiatrist. It has been a very good job for me over the past 5 years, working Monday through Friday with office hours. I am leaving tomorrow and transferring to the Department of Corrections as a nursing supervisor but I can say that I've seen numerous RN's within our nurse support group all get employment without too much trouble. The only time they really had difficulty was if they insisted in working in a hospital setting - it became a little harder with all our restrictions (no nights, no overtime, no narcotics for the first year, no being unsupervised at any time, no home health/ER/critical care jobs). But if they were willing to step outside what they knew (most of us came from a critical care/ER background), jobs were not too difficult to get.

  • Jul 10 '16

    I work at an outpatient psychiatric medication clinic. The name is kind of deceiving as we really don't give out medications; we only do haldol, prolixin, and risperdal consta injections. The clients come in and we do a 15-20 minute screening with them, then they meet with the doctor, who gives them prescriptions and they take those over to the pharmacy. We don't prescribe pain medication but do prescribe benzos. It's a state job so I have amazing benefits (although my insurance premiums did just double from $44 to $88 for me and the kids) and my schedule is great....I work Monday through Friday, 7am to 4pm with an hour for lunch. We have 13 paid holidays and I don't ever have to fight to get Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. off. I love being able to sit down with the clients one on one and talk with them, do treatment plans, etc. I am also blessed in that I work with alcoholics and addicts on a daily basis as most of our population are dual diagnosis (about 65%). It helps me in my sobriety.

    I had absolutely no psychiatric nursing experience when going on this interview and in fact, was doing dialysis...another common job for nurses in recovery and on restriction. I could not keep doing the dialysis. One of the staff was having major meltdowns and I was being put at risk of violating my contract, not to mention the 14 hour days (ugh). And everyday was like Groundhog day, the movie. Nothing ever really changed. I really didn't enjoy the kidney stuff in nursing school and didn't like it any better when doing dialysis....loved the patients, but that was about it. I had started working at the dialysis place as a tech prior to getting my license back and about 3 months after my license was reinstated, I noticed some openings with the state. My husband has been with the state since 2001 and is really happy working for them. I decided what the heck and put in some applications, thinking I could work in the prison (they hire nurses on contract and our Board approves those positions). Well, they didn't call but several other places did and they all happened to be from Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health, which is the big state run facility here.

    When I interviewed for the medication clinic, the supervisor asked right off the bat why I went from the ICU to dialysis. I was upfront and said that I had lost my nursing license due to my addiction, entered into rehab, and was a year sober. I went on to tell him that although I had no psychiatric experience, I could empthaize with the clientele at the clinic because I understood the compulsions and obsessions they had. I had several interviews with him and 2 other experienced nurses at the clinic and on my 1 year sobriety birthday, I received a phone call, letting me know I had gotten the job over another, more experienced psych RN! I was told later that it was my addiction that got me the's that for my Higher Power working?!

    I've been there almost a year (July) and love going to work each and every single day. I did take almost a $10/hr cut in pay as well as an extended commute (the dialysis place was about 5 minutes from my home; my current job is about 35 minutes away), but I wake up and look forward to my day at the clinic, which is huge for me; couldn't say that about the dialysis place or my old job in the intensive care unit! So yes, there are jobs out there and some of them are better than the ones you might have had BEFORE surrendering the license

  • Jul 9 '16

    I ended up in dialysis without experience by getting a job there as a tech first. I was waiting for the BON to grant me my license back (albeit with restrictions) and while waiting, applied and was hired as a tech. They were fully aware of my situation and actually held a nursing position for me during the months I was waiting to apply for my license back. In my state, you are not allowed to work as an RN while going through your rehab, 90 in 90, IOP, aftercare, counseling, etc. You must have all of that first before you apply to get your license back after surrendering it. This takes about 5-8 months. So I surrendered it in July 2008 and received it back in March 2009. I started work as a dialysis tech in December and this allowed me to make a decent living (about $16/hr) while learning about dialysis. The DAY the BON met and granted me privilege of working as an RN again, the dialysis clinic switched me from tech to RN. So I had a job from day one of my contract.

    And you say who will hire you, being in recovery, etc? I have been at my current job for 5 years (psychiatric clinic) and my supervisor hired me, knowing my 1 year sobriety birthday was around the corner. I am very grateful he gave me that opportunity because Monday, I start my new job as a nursing supervisor (that comes with a paycheck of $90k/year, more than I ever would have made working in the hospital as an ICU nurse, which I now know is NOT the appropriate place for me....ever). I would not have had the opportunity to even apply for that job if I didn't have the 5 years of psych experience that I do as a result of my supervisor taking a "chance" on me. And my new job knows all about the fact I was on contract with the board, my hx, my recovery, etc. and they still hired me. I did not have to tell them as my record has been "wiped clean" so to speak since I have completed my monitoring agreement with the board but I wouldn't have felt right NOT telling them.

    There will be employers who will consider you for employment....they are far and few between but when you find them, they are worth it. I would NOT want to work in any place that didn't have at least some sort of understanding about the disease of addiction and the knowledge that it does not make us bad people. I consider myself a safer, more prudent nurse now because of the 5 years I spent on contract, the 6 years I have in recovery thus far, etc. Good luck :-)