Hello fellow recovering nurses,
If you are reading the postings in this group, one might assume you have been in trouble with the board, are about to be in trouble with the board or are dealing with some sort of recovery program. I feel as if I could write a book about what to do and what not to do if you get into trouble because of diversion. I have multiple state nursing licenses, so I have been around the block with this whole situation :-)
I have some major resentments and regrets because of some missteps I took when I first got into trouble. About hiring an attorney- if you can afford one, get one. But don't just hire an attorney who SAYS they specialize in administrative nursing law. I hired a pretty expensive "expert with board issues" attorney and got the WORST advice and legal counsel ever! What a disaster! Since I have been representing myself I have talked openly with several of my casemanagers, they have shared with me the facts about this attorney- and they aren't positive reviews. Also, several nurses who I attend a local Caduceus AA meeting with had hired this attorney- none of them use this attorney any longer and NOT ONE of them would recommend another nurse to hire that attorney for representation.
I have found that the nursing boards are actually pretty reasonable to work with. Yes, the screenings are a pain in the behind, the paperwork is a pain in the behind, etc- but if you are staying clean and doing everything they ask, things get on an even keel and time passes.
I had a license suspension for some time (one reason for the suspension is because of the shoddy attornery-story for another day) but 8 weeks after my license reinstatement, I was able to obtain a full time nursing position. I consider myself VERY lucky, I can't explain how it happened, but it did. They asked me about it, I told them about it ( I didn't act ashamed or anything either- just told the truth) and we moved on to the next subject. They called me a few hours later and offered me the position. Can. Not. Believe. It!!! I get a little mushy when I think about sharing the news of my good fortune with my casemanagers- they were genuinely happy for me. I know that all three of them want me to succeed and do well.
Being under investigation and dealing with these issues is scary, no doubt about it. But I so wish that I had someone to talk to at the beginning who would let me know it would be ok. A physician I used to work with hooked me up with a nurse who had been in trouble years before. During those first dark weeks when I was scared to death, I was so glad to talk to ANYONE who had walked the path before me. She called me, a total stranger, and told me it would all work itself out in the end but I had to get sober and get that part of my life together first. It is true- I needed the time off to recover from my drug addiction and get healthy again. And she was right- in the end, my licenses are all reinstated (one was never suspended at all), I am a sober individual with a full time job. I did switch practice areas, but had thought about making that change long before I got into trouble anyway.
I wish I could stand on the mountain and scream out this attorneys name so everyone would avoid that law practice, but I don't think it would be allowed :-) And if someone that you meet in one of these forums recommends an attorney, make sure they aren't working for that particular law firm.....
Anyhow, if you find yourself in an unfortunate board situation, please know that you can survive the programs and find yourself alive and well on the other side!