\To tell or not to tell about my restricted license, Urgent Help Please!!

  1. Hello everyone,

    I am very happy to find this Recovering Nurses thread. I have read several threads at it is nice to see that there is a place like this. I hope to be able to contribute and help others here in the future, if not now due to someone having similar questions as I. Currently, I do have some questions, and have not found many answers on the internet regarding some of them.

    I have two years of recovery (not including 15 years in recovery before I had a relapse). I only recieved a controlled substance restriction on my license as of last October, 2008.

    I have been doing some work where an RNlicense was not required for the last 2 years, but I am having a very difficulty financial time, not just due to that, but due to some things that occurred while I was using and while I was in my marriage.

    I have been in a nursing group connected with the board of nursing, although our leader just moved and I have to find a new group -- not easy because I have a seriously impaired car currently. That is another issue, for which this question currently is not the main focus!

    Over the last few years I have found the area I want to work in, and am trying to pursue it, and do not know if it will be possible after all as long as there is a restriction on my license.

    Currently I want to see if anyone has any thoughts or experiences with a few things related to my current job search.

    I applied to a job with XXX. For the position I applied for, which is basically a nurse line (involves teaching and referrals as well as triage) the ad for it says that an "un-restricted" RN license is required. I actually was mixed up about this before I applied, as there is another job which I qualify for that does not specifically state that an Un-restricted" RN license is required. In other words, when I first applied I didn't see that the position required an un-restricted license, but I'm not sure if that would have kept me applying because of some other information I understand, which I touch on below. (I will apply for the second job if I don't get the first, but have found that my abilities are actually more aligned with the nurse line position.)

    So, currently my status in the application process, is that I have had the online portion approved, I had telephone interview last week, and yesterday an in-person interview. I am pretty sure I have done well on all of these. They are supposed to tell me by the end of the week whether or not I have the position.

    I was ready to talk about my restricted license yesterday during the in-person interview, but did not. Now I do not have anyway to call back the two nurses who interviewed me, but I do have the number for the human resource person. I don't know if I will have any chance at all to work there because of my restriction, and am doubting it from what I have read. I am planning on writing a thank you note regarding the interview yesterday after I finish up with this. It will have to be sent to the HR person, as that is the only contact information that is given.

    I am wondering if I should call the HR person to talk about my mistake in not noticing the un-restricted license requirement, but also, asking if there is anyway to work around this, since I am strongly in recovery, have done well on examination for this position, and there are no controlled substances involved with this position anyway.
    I know that XXX states that they pride themselves on diversity hiring, and that includes people with disabilities, and from what I have read, the 1990 disability act includes rehabilitated addicts/alcoholics under this government protection, and so even if there is a company policy to not hire persons with a restricted license, this may mean that they are not actually complying with the American Disability Act (by not hiring a person who is rehabilitated for this position). I wonder, from what I have read if the reason why they are specifically stating that you must have an ''un-restricted" license in the first place is because they require us to get a license in two other states for which we would be taking calls.

    But even if that is the reason for not hiring persons with a restricted license for this position, does anyone know if it is actually possible to get a license in another state (CA and PA) if you have a controlled restriction on your license? I'm sure that it would at least take more time. But then again, the company by law, if I am understanding correctly, should make reasonable accomidations for a person with a disability.

    By the way, I do not have any legal issues, although I have some credit issues. In other words, I was not arrested when the narcotic diversion was discovered.

    I cannot afford a lawyer at this time.

    So, I am wondering if there is anyone else in recovery out there that works in a telemedicine (nurseline or triage phone) position that knows about these rules.

    I applied to XXXX for a similar position (they do not mention requiring an un-restricted license) but they sent an email back immediately saying that I did'nt qualify - because (I think)I did not spend the complete last 3 years in hospital acute care nursing or they looked up my license right away and saw the restriction.

    If anyone has any information or advice on or waiting to call them, it would be helpful. My fear of waiting to call is that they will see my restriction when they go over my information this week before making the hiring decision and automatically count me out - so I am thinking it might be better to tell them soon, like today but the problem is that i will only be able to bring it up with an HR person, since no contact information is given except to HR.

    Thank you so much for your thoughts.
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 28, '09
  2. Visit liandra profile page

    About liandra

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 14; Likes: 2


  3. by   liandra

    I've had all the preliminary interviews for a nurseline job that I really want. Only thing is that it is advertised as being for those with unrestricted licenses only. I have a controlled substance restriction on my license.

    My interview was Tuesday, and i am supposed to hear by Friday whether or not I have the job. All the interviews and co"mputer test have gone very well, and least I do not think I have judged that wrong.

    The problem is, what if they look up tomorrow and finally notice that I have a restricted license, so just send me an email and say, "sorry, you don't get the job." I think that is usually how this company notifies about these things, and they do this by a non-returnable email. If t'this happens, well, it will mean I don't even have a chance to discuss why they should hire me anyway.

    i was able to obtain one of the interviewers email addresses. Does anyone think I should go ahead and write her a note tonight, so that she will see it first thing in the morning before the decision on who they are hiring is made? They are hiring 14 people, but apparently they have had more than enough applicants.

    I know in the end I just need to let go and let god, but right now I'm in a bit of a dilema on what to do. i guess I'm going towards the idea of at least emailing one of the interviewers, who is the supervisor or such of the nurseline, and give her an explaination about my license, or perhaps I could say something along the lines of, please call me before you make your final decision? I don't want them to think I am withholding this info on purpose, it happened that I was mistaken and didn't realize that the ad called for an unrestricted license, as it seems that it should not be an issue for this type of job -- expect it may have more to do with needing to get licensed in additional states.

    I sure will apprecitate if someone could give me some feedback tonight, but if not, I understand!
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 28, '09
  4. by   sirI
    Threads merged for continuity.
  5. by   elkpark
    It's my understanding (although I have no first-hand experience) that you can't apply for endorsement in another state with a restricted license, so, you're right, that may well be the issue with the job since it doesn't involve actually handling narcotics, etc.

    However, they're going to find out about your license restriction if this gets to the point of verifying your licensure, and I would think there's a good chance that the company may view having failed to mention your license restriction yourself prior to this point in the process as a level of dishonesty that may disqualify you in their eyes as an applicant. I do have some experience with hiring people with "backgrounds," and, IMHO, one's best bet in that circumstance is to be v. direct and honest about one's history, restrictions, etc., right up front. I would be honest with them ASAP, if it were me.

    Best wishes for your journey.
  6. by   liandra
    Thank you so much for your reply. It's so hard to know what to do -- as I felt that when I had told before too quickly I didn't get beyond the first interview because that is all they could see. And, it seems some people must look up the license before they even call anyone in to the interview, as I don't get calls for interviews like I used to. I wrote an email last night and asked to speak to someone today before they made their decision, but only got the email back this afternoon that I did not get the position. I am applying for another position with this company that does not mention a nonrestricted license and I have written a note in the cover letter about my restriction. i perhaps go into to many details in every correspondence I write and in personal interviews too, so who knows what will happen, my self esteem is pretty low and I am about to be homeless, seriously. I have an online job answering health questions that is good for my self esteem, as i get so much positive feedback for all the extra information I give - this is one reason I thought an information giving position would be so good for me (I write much better and without error when I'm writing back to customers/clients!) But I guess that is not in the plans for me!

    I know you are a busy person and I apprecitate so much that someone that has experience hiring wrote me back. Here is the letter I sent with my most recent interview. I probably should have had it critiqued before I sent it, but if you don't mind taking a look at it and if you can maybe give me an idea on if you think I may sound too obnoxious or what in particular I should have left out I'll appreciate it. I guess there are more places to apply to, but I'm starting to run out!

    Thank you again for your reply, it means so much to me at a time like this. Here is the letter I already sent:

    Dear xxxxxxxxx Hiring Managers, and anyone else involved in hiring,

    I have recently applied for several positions. I have noticed, by your position descriptions, that I don't qualify for any of them except for the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, currently, for which I am now applying.

    What I noticed that I did not discern originally is that you specify that RN's may apply only if they have unrestricted licenses to( the other positions for which I have applied.) I do not know if that is why I did not qualify, but I did want to talk to someone at xxxx about this, once I saw that this was a requirement. I also did not think it would be an issue since there is no controlled substances involved in a telephone role, as long as an individual is completely rehabilitated of course.

    I do have a controlled substance restriction on my license. Please be aware that this is from an incident occurring almost 4 years ago, I am rehabilitated, and in fact am so more aware of these issues in others, which can actually be a very helpful characteristic to have in certain positions. Did you know that from to 4 to 20% of RN's have a substance abuse problem! ( I will find the statistic if you like, I read this recently). This means many are not rehabilitated, and are therefore out in the workforce, and are not working at full capacity. Wouldn't you rather have the nurse that is rehabilitated working for you, than the one who is not?

    It is an unfortunate occupational hazard of our profession, and nurses are much harder on their own that the other professions, at least this is what I have read, and seem to be experiencing. First of all we are caregivers, and being able to recognize our own needs is often hard. Of course it is always a wrong choice to make, that first drink or that first pill whether stolen out of a pixis or bought at a grocery store, if it is taken to make an emotional pain go away. But, it is a mistake that one can later realize how wrong it was, and never, never put themselves in that situation again!

    I do, by the way still take random urine drug screens for which I make a phone call each day to see if it is my day to "give." I attend recovery groups, both nursing and 12 step. I have worked very hard in therapy to learn to identify and care for my own problems and issues, rather than focusing on my patients alone.

    If you are unable to hire me for the nursing phone positions, and if it is for this reason, I would like to know why if possible. As of 1990, substance abuse is considered a disability (under the American Disability Act) and failure to hire a person that is rehabilitated for a position that they are qualified for is considered unlawful.

    I am an easy to get a long with person and never have been involved with a lawsuit, and couldn't afford a lawyer anyway, but if xxxx currently has policies that are against the law, this may be something that someone should look into at your company. There are people out there that may want to make a bigger "stink" about this than I ever would. I think this is called risk management.

    Additionally one thing that I have read over and over in the xxxcompany literature is the strong commitment the company has to diversity. Persons with disabilities are specifically a type of individual that xxx prides itself on hiring. So again, I am interested in knowing how this could play out with the nursing positions that are telephonic that are being listed for nurses with un-restricted licenses only.

    I am applying for this position, for which I also qualify (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) and will be so happy if I am felt to be a fit for it and am hired. I really, really want to work (and need to work --- my current credit status is another possible reason I may not get a position, if this is a qualifying component for a job). I had thought that I was ready to focus on something more holistic, such as what is required for the nurse-line position, but perhaps it is "meant" for me to go in a different direction at this time. It may be that I am not meant at all to work for your company, but as it is right now, I still think I'd be so priveledged to work for your company, for several reasons. One, besides what I have read about your core values, is that I have been impressed by the people I have so far met at xxxxx (every single person that walked by me while I was waiting for my interview said "hello" to me and many offered to assist me!....I think that is just remarkable, and shows that people are happy and stress free at their jobs here.

    There is only one opening for this positions, the xxxxxxxxx, so if I don't get it, it will seem understandable.

    But I would like to ask, if I do not qualify for that job, could someone please review your policy on not hiring nurses with restricted licenses for telephonic positions? It seems at least that hiring for these positions with a restricted license could be examined on a case by case basis.

    Thank you for your time,

  7. by   liandra
    Actually, I realized i can still go in and replace this, letter, I better soon, but if any one has a critique or any suggestions in helping me i would appreciate it.
  8. by   elkpark
    I'm not sure what to say, other than I would not send that letter. That is a whole lot more information than I would ever send to a potential employer.
  9. by   liandra
    Thanks! I will go replace it and hope no one sees, it, but how do I address this!!!! (the restriction)
  10. by   sirI
    You need to just be honest.

    "I did not see the un-restricted license part of the application."

    First of all, I want to commend you on your active Recovery. Kudos to you!!

    Please know I am not criticizing you, but the restriction is there to "protect the public" - the mission of all Boards of Nursing. This is the BON way of monitoring you as you complete the agreement you and they have regarding your license.

    Your potential employer hires RNs with unencumbered license. This probably is not negotiable.

    Your letter should remain non-accusatory, honest, and to the point. Period.

    Good luck with this and once again, congratulations on your lengthy sobriety.
  11. by   liandra
    Hi. I replaced the letter with this:

    August 28, 2008,

    Dear United Health Group Hiring Manager,

    I am interested in the Care Advocate – Special Needs Outreach and Advocacy, position, for which I am now applying.

    I have many years experience with this population, and would look forward to advocating for these children and their families in a position like this with your company. I hope you will review my qualifications and consider me for this position. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you for your time,
    (Thanks to you elkpark, I hope I didn't go too much in the other extreme direction)

    and to SIRI , thanks for the feed back. But of course I know the board puts restrictions on licenses to protect the public. It is kind of ridiculous that it took them 3 3/4 years! Seriously! And it is not because I didn't notify them. Kind of defeats the purpose. Just saying. I know there are consequences and all that, and it is out of my control, but it just is very disappointing that they are coming so long after I have finally gotten all my personal problems pretty much under control and feel that I could contribute from a much better place. I worked for 20 years as a nurse, and now for the past 4 and currently I can't, and I'm actually at a much better place. I don't want to every work around any narcotics, it was only a rare situation that put me there in the midst of the quite a fIew difficulties all at once, but oh well, guess I'm suppossed to do something else, it's just that after 4 years I haven't been able to find that other thing that will pay me enough to live, i'm down to nothing now. Guess i need to spend time on the street or something.
  12. by   sirI
    I so appreciate and admire your honesty.

    And, I do wish you much good luck finding something.
  13. by   elkpark
    Ooooh, I like that a lot better!

    I would encourage you to be prepared to talk about the licensure restriction in interviews (practice at home, in front of a mirror, and with friends if possible, until you're comfortable doing it) -- just the basics; that it's there, and how you are fully compliant and on track with your recovery and all the BON's requirements to eventually get the restriction lifted (I assume that's true!) -- without sounding defensive or secretive, or like you're making excuses or blaming anyone else for your situation. (I appreciate that that's not easy to do, which is why I suggest practicing in advance.) Honesty is always the best policy, in nursing and in recovery. You may also want to bring along to interviews any documentation/paperwork you have showing you're in compliance with the BON's plan for you.

    Hugs and best wishes for your job-hunting!
  14. by   lwalk1963
    I do feel your pain about having a restricted license. I have a restricted license for 6 months. The board puts so many restrictions on your practice that it seems impossible to get a job anywhere!! I must work with a RN present at all times!! I have to have a witness to give narcs. I have get approval from the board before working anywhere.
    I feel the boards of nursing are pocketing money from drug screens, classes, and counseling!! They are "protecting the public"? More like "protecting their pocketbooks"!!! They need to be exposed!! They don't give a **** about the public!! They just want to keep nurses under compliance orders and in recovery programs to line their greedy pockets!!
    Maybe we need to form an organization to protect our right to make a living and protect us from boards of nursing!! Doctors get away with anything and keep on practicing!!
    Sorry to fuss, but I'm at my wits end!! I have lost everything because I can't get a job with this restricted license! I had no idea it would be so difficult!! By the way, I signed an agreement with the board for 6 months due to a charting issue. I really had no choice because you can't fight them!! I would have been restricted longer if I had a hearing!! My agreement requires me to work as a nurse for 6 months. How am I to do this if I can't get hired anywhere?? The board probably knows this and will then say I'm not in compliance!!
    If anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate hearing any suggestions!!!
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Aug 29, '09 : Reason: PM to member