Hi. I hardly know where to begin, but I guess to start, I am currently a successful RN on Med/Surg who fought and won against HPRP two years ago. It consumed many months of my life, and consisted of numerous negative drugs screens, two evaluations in which both HPRP evaluators declared I DO NOT need any monitoring, and of course lots of stress, beratement, money, energy, and loss of income as I was a fresh grad and had to turn down my first offered nursing jobs because HPRP wouldn't even let me sit for the NCLEX until I was "cleared," with or without monitoring. Btw, the HPRP "doctor" said I needed 2 years of monitoring despite the two glowing evaluations. I took it to the second level and beyond and just barely won my battle. I think the clincher was I wrote to Senator Tom Casperson (bless his heart), who agreed that I was being abused by HPRP and asked the director(s) questions on my behalf. This got the office hopping mad, I was told by one kind woman who worked there and was actually (sort of) helping my case. But I won.
The background of my troubles? When I was filling out my NCLEX application, I checked the box that said, "Yes, I have attended substance abuse treatment in the last 2 (or does it say 3?) years."
While in nursing school when I was 31 years old, my boyfriend died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 39. I dropped out of school and began drinking heavily. I had been a social drinker previous to that, but this spiralled out of control and I knew it, and I checked myself into treatment a month and a half after he died. I completed treatment and began a life of total sobriety, attended grief counseling, got put on an anti-depressant, and re-enrolled in nursing school a year later.
I have no legal trouble of any sort, and realized in hindsight that I should have lied on my application because my treatment history is protected by HIPAA. So I got screwed for being honest.
HPRP cost me about $1000 to prove my innocence. Not only that, but they ruin you. They make you sad and feel crazy and then say, "See, you're depressed and crazy. You need 3 years of monitoring." It is like being a fly in a spider web, and the more you struggle, the more tangled you get.
Had I not been as articulate, strong-willed, or defensive as I am, I would not have beat HPRP. (My dad often says I was meant to be a lawyer, but I beg to differ.) I'll admit, I considered going on disabilty because if I was as messed up as HPRP said I was, it shouldn't have been to hard to prove to Michigan that I was incapable of holding down a job. So sad that HPRP almost ruined a great nurse who now loves her job and gets great evaluations and is loved by many!! So sad to me now that I even considered disability, but that is how HPRP can almost destroy a good person.
After jumping on this site, I am reading FAR too many stories like mine. Something needs to be done. I want my $1000 back AND an apology!
For those of you who really did go to work drunk or high, or stole pills, or have a conviction history, this does not apply. I am looking for innocent like-minded nurses who almost lost their nursing license before they even had it!!
So...what can be done? Unfortunately, I am not a lawyer. Can we file a class-action suit? How many of you had success against HPRP with a lawyer?
Good luck to all and keep fighting!! If you have questions about my case, please ask away.
May 2, '13
First I'd like to say that I wish you the best as a Nurse, but here comes the second part...
Your comment about the nurses who do actually have an addiction was so not necessary. I think we get the idea of who needs the program and who does not. Just as some of us have bigger problems than others.
In a perfect world where rainbows exist because unicorns poop them, nobody would suffer from anything ever. Then again without suffering there would be no compassion.
Obviously there was a history for them to have a concern and I don't think it was their intention to victimize you.
Again this is just my two cents worth and I sincerely wish you well.
May 2, '13
I am sorry for that comment and I will edit it. But I do think their intent may be financial, and I do think they victimize. Thank you for your well wishes. I do not deny that I am an addict. But the program is for impaired health professionals, and I was a recovered student.
May 2, '13
I can't find a way to edit. My apologies to anyone I've offended.
May 2, '13
Michigan's HPRP's former director was known for being harsh and inconsistent, and for not taking the time to examine each case as an individual, as stated in their manual. I met for lunch with the woman I mentioned above who is high up in HPRP, who helped me by releasing me to at least take the NCLEX while figuring out the HPRP stuff. We have kept in touch on a personal level, and she was in town doing a presentation to nursing students at a local college, a luxury I unfortunately didn't have.
This woman told me they now have a new director, and that the program is getting much better. The description I wrote of the former director are her words, not mine. She was very happy to meet me in the flesh and said she was glad I fought so hard because so many changes needed to be made.
I'm sure every state has their own system which is similar yet different, but I can only speak for my experience in Michigan in 2011.
Best wishes to you too, HunnieBadger. All we can do is take it one day at a time, which sounds so cliche, but I honestly tell myself this every day.
May 2, '13
Ok, here is my 2 cents.
I am not in your state, however, I think it's common practice to place any new grad in a monitor program if they have a history of substance abuse. Actually in my state it is done directly through the BON and there is a PERMANENT mark on your license. I worked with a guy who got a DWI in nursing school and was on a 2 year monitored program after getting his license and has a forever flag on it now.
Most of the people in this recovery forum have fought long uphill battles. A $1000 is nothing compared to what most end up paying.
I am glad you feel like you are a "recovered" person. I don't know that anyone says they are fully recovered. It's an on going process and they are in "recovery."
You are kind of coming across as a nurse with full blow "RNitis" or an addict in complete denial. Even if nurses feel they were wronged I highly doubt they will want to take on any class action suit and involve themselves in anymore legal issues.
I wouldn't be surprised if you receive some negative posts on this. Most of us feel very guilty for the the things we have done and saying the part about nurses who "stole pills, this isn't for you." I don't think the Recovery forum is the place for this thread. We all had to get past the denial part. I commend you in getting treatment early because I promise you it would've got worse.
I wish you the best in your nursing career and I am glad you stood up for what you believe in.
May 2, '13
I have been in recovery/recovered, whatever you want to call it for well over 8 years. My state is one that permanently marks one's license no matter what. I have been working outside of nursing for the past 2 years and wonder if I will ever work as a nurse again. The job market is tight enough that anyone with a blemished license will be passed over.
While I do take offense at the comment about "nurses who stole pills," fire.and.ice does have a point about the abusiveness of boards of nursing in these matters. She (I am assuming it is a she) should be on her knees thanking the Universe, or God, or whatever she might believe in, that she wasn't put in a monitoring program.
I, for one, would like to see someone challenge what is done to nurses, innocent or
guilty. I think it is too bad that we all just slink away in shame after our ordeal.
By the way, I did enjoy the fact that fire.and.ice is a very good writer, despite her negative attitudes towards nurses who have transgressed.
I will be interested to see this thread develop as others weigh in.
May 2, '13
Thanks everyone for your replies. You are right; this is not the right forum for this.
I do thank the universe every day that I received no monitoring. I also know that $1000 is minimal compared to what I would have paid had I gotten monitoring. I don't know how anyone affords it, and I certainly couldn't have paid it without a job. I still feel like $1000 is a lot of money though!
Of course I feel bad for the things I have done. I will never be cured, but yes I am recovered/recovering. I am back, is what is important to me. I have been sober for 3+ years.
My comment was admittedly rude and I wasn't thinking. I got caught up in the anger I have for HPRP. If I hadn't gone to treatment when did, my life would have certainly gotten worse. I guess I just meant that I could have better understood everything that HPRP put me through if they had a concrete reason. But all they had was my honesty and ran with that.
I don't have a negative attitude about recovered addicts or nurses. I am one. And sometimes were are hard on ourselves.
I do have a bad taste left in my mouth from HPRP. I came here looking for support from others in situations like mine.
Last edit by fire.and.ice on May 2, '13
: Reason: Fixed some sentences
May 2, '13
I know of no addict/alcoholic nurse who isn't
hard on him or herself! Don't think that this is the wrong forum because you might have said something you regret. The hardest person for me to forgive is myself, always.
I hope to see you post more, if only so I can appreciate your well written sentences.
May 3, '13
Let me add this, I am very glad you stood up for yourself. I don't believe you should be punished for something you took initiative to fix. I think we all would agree that any of the BON's can be difficult and unfair probably more times than not. I don't think they are use to being challenged. We normally accept the bullying from them just to be able to try and put whatever mess we created behind us. I commend you for that!
May 3, '13
@ fire & ice: one thing i would like to point out: if you had lied on your application & answered "no" to the question about treatment for substance abuse--& that fact was ever discovered, the repurcussions would be worse than what you have already endured. how would it ever be discovered?? i don't know- but, personally, i wouldn't want to live with that worry.
May 3, '13
Yes TXRN, I thought about that many times. It would be very hard to live with worry and know that at any time, my license could get yanked. The application on which I answered "yes" was for my Practical Nurse license. Once I became involved in HPRP, I asked them if I could just wait a few months until it had been 2 years since successful completion of treatment, and reapply and answer "no," avoiding this whole ordeal. They said I could not do that, that I must follow through with the present application. Like I said, a spiderweb.
When I applied for my RN a year later, I was able to truthfully answer "no." Thank God.
Now if I move to another state, it sounds like it might again become an issue. After hearing your stories, I think I might stay put for now. Thanks for your kind words and honest thoughts on all this.