Advice needed for RN with probationary license!

  1. 0
    Hello all. I am new to these forums, but I think this might be a good place to get advice from experienced nurses. Here's my situation:

    I have been a nurse for about 2.5 years in the state of Georgia. I've never had any discipline imposed on my license despite the 2 DUIs on my criminal record. I'm a recvering alcoholic and have stayed true to my goals. The arrests took place in 2004 and 2007. I have been through treatment and have been forthcoming to the GABON about my situations. I have also had little difficulty finding jobs because I present myself well in interviews.
    I am moving to Alabama next month and I have been approved for an RN license with 12 months probabtion by the ALBON based on the 2 convictions. This makes me extremely nervous. I figured the older my criminal record got, the less I'd have to deal with it. I guess every state board has different rules and I am grateful for even a probationary license. I do have some questions though...

    Who would hire a nurse on probation?
    What is the best way to bring this fact up in an interview?
    Is there a program in Alabama to assist nurses in my position?
    Would I be a good canidate for an alcohol treatment center position because of my life experience?
    Is there anyone reading this that has any advce for me at all?

    FYI- I'm sober and proud to be so. I'm deparately trying to overcome the mistakes I've made in the past. I'm a kind and compassionate RN who's looking for a chance to prove myself. These past few years I've come quite far and I'm determined not to let this probation status hold me back. I just need a little help from my nurse peers.

    Thank you so much, B.K.
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  4. 1
    Quote from AlabamRN
    Hello all. I am new to these forums, but I think this might be a good place to get advice from experienced nurses. Here's my situation:

    I have been a nurse for about 2.5 years in the state of Georgia. I've never had any discipline imposed on my license despite the 2 DUIs on my criminal record. I'm a recvering alcoholic and have stayed true to my goals. The arrests took place in 2004 and 2007. I have been through treatment and have been forthcoming to the GABON about my situations. I have also had little difficulty finding jobs because I present myself well in interviews.
    I am moving to Alabama next month and I have been approved for an RN license with 12 months probabtion by the ALBON based on the 2 convictions. This makes me extremely nervous. I figured the older my criminal record got, the less I'd have to deal with it. I guess every state board has different rules and I am grateful for even a probationary license. I do have some questions though...

    Who would hire a nurse on probation?
    What is the best way to bring this fact up in an interview?
    Is there a program in Alabama to assist nurses in my position?
    Would I be a good canidate for an alcohol treatment center position because of my life experience?
    Is there anyone reading this that has any advce for me at all?

    FYI- I'm sober and proud to be so. I'm deparately trying to overcome the mistakes I've made in the past. I'm a kind and compassionate RN who's looking for a chance to prove myself. These past few years I've come quite far and I'm determined not to let this probation status hold me back. I just need a little help from my nurse peers.

    Thank you so much, B.K.
    Hi BK,

    1) Who would hire a nurse on probation?
    There are all sorts of folks who would hire a nurse on probation. The question is, how do we find those people? I don't have an answer to that question.

    2) What is the best way to bring this fact up in an interview?
    They are going to find out about a probationary license at some point. Have you checked online to see what kind of information is available regarding your license?

    3) Is there a program in Alabama to assist nurses in my position?
    Voluntary Disciplinary Alternative Program You can try contacting them to see if they have any insight. Their services are listed here. You can read the information regarding obtaining your license by endorsement here. You can also contact the American association of Nurse Attorneys to find an attorney in Alabama with answers to your questions (after paying a consulting fee).

    4) Would I be a good candidate for an alcohol treatment center position because of my life experience?
    You Bet Your Sweet Bippy! (If you remember that line and where it was first uttered...YOU ARE OLD LIKE ME!!!) Your experience, strength and hope are exactly what impaired nurses and others suffering with addiction can benefit from. What does it say in Step 12?
    Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    Take it one day at a time!

    Jack
    FLSmitty likes this.
  5. 1
    Thank you for your response, Jack! I've already signed a consent order so it's too late (I think) to talk to an attorney and the VDAP wouldn't do me any good because I've already been through treatment...and they do not offer any help with job placement. I really appreciate the suggestions though!

    I'm just nervous about bringing up the whole "I'm on probation" thing in interviews. I'm not sure how to approach it. I got these DUIs prior to becoming a nurse, so obviously I've had to explain myself in interviews and it's a bit unnerving, but I've always been offerred the job in the end.

    This is a whole different ball game because my license says "probation" on it. I don't have any medication restrictions, but I'm still so nervous about this upcoming job search!!

    Anymore advice anyone?

    B.K.
    jackstem likes this.
  6. 0
    The fact that you're seeking advice on how to handle things is a good sign that you've "learned" from the past. So many of us struggle with that part of our lives. Even those who do NOT have the disease can of chemical dependence still struggle with learning from past experiences, especially if we've experienced traumatic incidents in our child hood such as sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. We develop coping mechanisms that may have helped us survive those terribly traumatic experiences, but they are unhealthy mechanisms. When we reach adulthood, they can be very detrimental when it comes to relationships and coping with some of the trials of everyday life.

    As a recovering addict, I have found some of the brain research going on involving chemical dependence very interesting. An excellent "side effect" of the research is the information being gathered on how we actually learn things. One of the areas affected by active addiction is the learning centers. They become hypoactive. This means it's very difficult for an active addict to retain information. Once we become abstinent and the brain has had a chance to recover, learning improves. But an interesting thing they have discovered is related to treatment. It takes 60 - 90 days of abstinence for the brain to recover enough to really start to retain information. When do we send most of the folks to treatment? Immediately following an intervention! Which means we're trying to teach some difficult to understand (and accept) information about this disease at a time when the person is at the worst time for retention of information! Is it any wonder there is such a high relapse rate for these folks? It also explains why most addict(including alcohol addicts) don't learn from the goofy, dangerous, nasty things they do when under the influence...THEY CAN'T! It's like having a hard drive on a computer with bad sectors. If we try to save information on that hard drive, there is the chance large sections of that info will be lost since the computer tried to save it in a sector that wasn't functioning.

    The longer we remain abstinent, the more our brain recovers....BUT...in the addict, the brain never recovers to it's pre-addiction state, making us vulnerable to relapse as a result of environmental cues stimulating the "addiction areas" involved in the disease process, many times below our level of awareness. When those areas become stimulated and active again, it changes the chemistry of the brain which begins the obsessive thinking about using, eventually leading to the compulsive use of our drug of (no)choice.

    I'm sure there will be some excellent suggestions from folks here.

    Good luck and keep telling yourself that every situation you go through will help you learn better ways to deal with these issues.

    Jack
  7. 0
    Thank you again! What a great response! It definitely feels great to be sober. I'm proud of myself for every day that goes by and I don't even think about having a drink. I can't wait till I can say, "I've been sober for twenty years". I have gone through intense therapy to explore the root of my inate desire to avoid experiencing certain feelings and emotions. That's the key to recovery. Figuring out WHY you're self medicating.

    Your right, Jack. Most people with a chemical dependancy usually starts as a coping mechism for some trauma. I believe rehabilitation works and nurses who have struggled with chemical dependacy deserve a change to re-acclimate themselves back into nursing after the have been giving the proper treatment. Being a productive member of society and getting to really help people through the profession of nursing does wonders for a recovering nurse's self esteem.
  8. 3
    My advice is to stay where you are gainfully employed and doing well. It sounds expedient and it is. If you can avoid trouble, then do not walk into it. You are valid proof that these state "programs" are not always the answer. They appear to excel at their punishment mission more than anything else. I do not see where preventing a person from engaging in gainful employment does that person any good in the long run. You are blessed with sobriety now, I hope you are able to continue on this path and remain working productively.
    banannabag, AlabamRN, and lifeistweet like this.
  9. 1
    Most of the RN's in our group are unemployed. In Michigan, with our economy it's a travesty. My home would be in foreclosure if it wasn't for my Dad's help. And I had employer's who knew my history and wanted to work with me!! The HPRP makes it impossible (almost) for you to work but yet you have to be employed in the medical field for your contract to be completed, much less pay for it. Michigan's contracts run about $10K. Then they wonder why RN's drop out of the program. I feel they are confused between treatment, recovery and discipline. They come across as treatment but it's a guise for discipline. Sorry to ramble,
    banannabag likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from jackstem
    4) Would I be a good candidate for an alcohol treatment center position because of my life experience?
    You Bet Your Sweet Bippy! (If you remember that line and where it was first uttered...YOU ARE OLD LIKE ME!!!) Your experience, strength and hope are exactly what impaired nurses and others suffering with addiction can benefit from. What does it say in Step 12? Take it one day at a time!

    Jack
    Agreed. I work in detox a lot, and you'd be surprised at the number of ex-users that are working there in all sorts of roles including nursing. They do require that you are clean/sober for a certain length of time before you can work there (and it goes without saying you need to maintain it)...but it is definitely an option for you, so if you are interested in it, please consider it. The insight you have into the disease of addiction based on your own experience would be priceless.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
  11. 0
    Thank you so much for your response. I'm definitely going to check out some treatment centers when I start my job search.
  12. 0
    I totally agree that working in rehab is a GREAT idea!!! When I was ready to begin practicing again, I thought it would be the perfect job!

    Unfortunately the IPN in Fl will not allow a participant to work in addictions/chemical dependancy! I know this for a fact as it is stated right on my contract. Now, I do not know if that is for the entire length of time, or if you can petition to work there after some time of compliance.
    (also can not work overtime, extra jobs or nights-great! I am a dyed in the wool night person)

    In my Nursing Support group there are 12 of us right now. Only 4 are employed (Thank God I am one) It has been a real eye opener to me how hard it has been for these RNs to find a job. Then again, it has been difficult here for non IPN RNs to find employment. " It's not Kansas anymore, ToTo!"

    On the other hand, one of our guys had a suspension, moved away from Ohio-to Fl and went in IPN. He is an ER nurse and while still under IPN contract was made Director of the ER. He is about to complete his 5 years in May.
    Good Luck
    s


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