LilRedRN1973 9,953 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)
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.
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.
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.
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 job....how'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
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 :-)
It's terrifying in the beginning but in reality, I was terrified to get OFF contract as well. There was definite separation anxiety at the end. I look back and realize how fast 5 years really went....but at the start, 5 years sounded like an eternity. You will be fine.....
Last week, I found I had to have more extensive dental work including oral surgery and some root canals, a friend and fellow AA'er committed suicide (son of my first sponsor), a long time client at our work decided to end his life by walking in front of a train, my mother's birthday passed (she died last year and it's still hard), I totaled my car, and work was horrendous. But because of everything I've learned through the rooms of AA, my sponsor, and all those who love and support me, I didn't think about going back out or picking up. This is the miracle of sobriety and one of the many reasons why I love this life. No matter what. No matter what. I just keep repeating that to myself. I have no means of transportation to get to work and this dental work is going to cost about $8000 (insurance will cover about $1500). We are still behind in our mortgage about $9000 and someone I care about took his own life because he just couldn't "get it". All of that and it's still "no matter what". I'm taking things one moment at a time right now and spending a lot of time talking, talking, talking. Because it lessens the fear. So I had to come here and talk some more. Thanks for letting me share
I'm Melanie from Nevada, sobriety date 6/30/08. Developed a nasty addiction to pain meds and recently came to the conclusion I was also an alcoholic....only took 2 years (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly). My coworkers found me unconscious on our unit and I was strongly urged by my facility to report myself. I did but when she pulled out my DEA report and showed me the massive amounts of pain meds I was getting and then recommended some NA meetings, I was "appalled" and told her I didn't have a problem, placed my license on inactive status, and proceeded to leave her office.
Was in a huge amount of denial at first and it took quite a few months after that (I busied myself, working at Lowe's mixing paint, thinking it was the best time of my life...lol) to realize I had truly lost control of my life. Entered into an inpatient rehab facility on June 30, 2008 and called up my BON from inside, asking if it was too late to be a part of their monitoring program. They sent me the paperwork and the rest is history! I got my license back in March of 2009 and while I was waiting, worked in a dialysis center as a tech, which got my foot in the door. They held an RN position for me and the day my BON granted me a restricted license, the dialysis place changed my title from "Tech" to "RN".
While it was an okay job, it was not the healthiest place to work and the 14 hour days were killing me. I'm now at an amazing place to work, especially for my sobriety. I work at an outpatient psychiatric facility run by the state. I work Monday through Friday, 7 to 4, with an hour for lunch. No holidays, weekends, or overtime! And best of all, in my interview, I was very upfront about my recovery and that is what got me the job. I had no psych experience prior to that and they were looking for an experience psych nurse. There were several other nurses interviewing, all of whom had previous experience. My supervisor told me what got me hired over them was my honesty and the attitude I had about recovery, which he felt would help a lot of our clientele.
I have been here about 14 months now and recently got a $6000/year promotion (something which in itself is a miracle, because in our state, NOBODY is getting promotions....we are broke, broke, broke). My Higher Power brought me here and I'm grateful everyday for a chance to go to a job I love. I never would have stepped foot in the world of psych nursing prior to my addiction rearing its ugly head but am supremely happy I am here now. I wouldn't go back to the world of the ICU if someone paid me twice what I make now. My contract with the BON is 5 years and I will finish up in 2014. I am forever grateful to the BON for helping save me from myself and introducing me to the world of AA and recovery. :bowingpur
It was one of my options and I quickly turned it down because for me and me only, I would have been replacing my dependence on pain pills to dependence on suboxone. From what I have seen working in the psychiatric field for the past 5 years and many, many addicts, when they have been offered suboxone, it doesn't encourage them to find other ways to manage their sobriety. They aren't much interested in meetings, a sponsor, etc. This is just from my experience. I think it has its place, short term but long term use just wasn't for me and I didn't want to even start down that path. I was taking close to 40 Norco's a day and endured a nasty 7-10 days of withdrawal but then it was over and I was clear of any pills, medications or the need to take anything. And that was when I buckled down and started a 12 step program in order to ride myself of the obsession/craving.
I know our BON does NOT allow it at all. They are very much opposed to the use of just about anything while on contract.
My first job after getting my license reinstated was at a dialysis clinic. Unfortunately, 14 1/2 hour days and working with a very difficult coworker who insisted on leaving me as the supervising RN (a BIG no-no in my monitoring contact with the Board) had me looking for a new position within a few months of working there. I'm now happy to say I found my "niche" at an outpatient mental health medication clinic. We do not handle any meds and the prescribers don't even write for narcotics. I love working with the mentally ill and especially those who are dual diagnosis and struggle with their alcoholism/addiction. I feel as though my addiction, losing my license, and going from ICU to psych nursing was all part of God's plan. I'm right where I'm supposed to be! I work Mon-Fri, 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch. I never work holidays but get paid for them and have a pension with great benefits. But I wouldn't ever had looked at this type of nursing before I admitted my powerlessness over people, places, and things. There are jobs out there for nurses in recovery and I recently discovered that it was my RECOVERY that helped me get this job! They were looking for an RN with psych experience, which I have none, but went with me because of my understanding about recovery and all I had been through over the past year. I was hired on my 1 year sobriety birthday! Apply everywhere and take as many interviews as possible...the practice will be good for you. I became really proficient at how I brought up my restrictions and in a way, it helped relieve me of the remaining shame and guilt I was feeling over my addiction. My story was received fairly well and most potential employers were pretty understanding. A few even shared with me that they were in recovery as well! One lady who interviewed me had 23 years of sobriety from cocaine. Don't sell yourself short and remember, you were a sick nurse who is now healthy and in recovery. Be proud of what you have accomplished and the hard work you've put in with your sobriety.
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