Can I become a Nurse Practioner?

  1. 0
    Hello all, thank you for reading
    At this time I am on probation for narcotics diversion. I was a nurse in labor and delivery.
    I have now been sober for 2 years I do having a nursing job in my field as a WIC nurse at the health dept. Which I consider myself completley lucky as hell. I graduated from nursing school top of my class and recently decided I wanted to go back to school for my Master's in Nursing. I beleive this may help me to enter a new chapter in my life to prove to everyone and myself that I am a successful person, look what I did after my whole life went down the drain. I feel like it would help me get my confidence back. I would love to be a pediatric nurse practioner, but if I went through all that schooling and paid all that money would it all be for nothing?

    My thoughts are if I specialize in Peds and work in an office I would hardly ever if at all be in the position to dispence narcotics. If for some reason that was the case my supervising physician would be able to write the script instead and it would not be a problem because of the infrequency. By the time I get done with school I would have put at least 7yrs between me and my downfall. Is there a chance for me?? What do you think?

    In a year I will go before the BON to petition to get my license back unencumbered.
    My restrictions right now are that I cannot pass narcotics, work nights or work more than 40hrs a week, I can't be a travel nurse. I have been in a recovery program for the last 2 yrs and have done everything asked of me. Im trying so so hard and yet I still feel like I'm at the bottom of the barrel. I recently read a quote saying "Don't let your mistakes define you"
    I wish I could do that but even 2yrs out I still feel a large amount of guilt. If anyone has any advice I would love to hear it. Thanks so much for reading this book of a post.
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 8,760 Views
    Find Similar Topics
  4. 42 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    NP yes.

    Credentialed at facilities? That's a different story.
    Nccity2002 likes this.
  6. 1
    Hello!

    It seems to me the guilt of your mistakes has created this pressure on your self esteem and you are trying to obtain a higher degree to prove to yourself that you are worthy. That would be the wrong approach to reach for the NP degree (in my opinion).

    The way you become a better person or better nurse is to overcome and improve on what you used to be. In the eyes of God and in your eyes, this should be sufficient to get the boost you need.

    We all make mistakes... some people make worse mistakes than others, and as you've said... you are very lucky because you still have a job as a nurse. Continue doing what it takes to meet the BON's requirements and continue improving yourself (as a person and as a nurse).

    Narcotics diversion is the act you committed. However, BON will see it as a flaw in character, not just something to keep you away from. Sure you will be restricted from being around narcotics (for whatever lenght of time)... but most importantly is quite another to allow you to assume greater responsibilities and a position that puts you in power over others who do have access to narcotics. The ramifications of our mistakes are broad and are never taken lightly by any Board of Nursing. Then there's the employer. Which employer would hire you to oversee children's health when there are many other nurses without a criminal or civil record? In all honesty, a lot of stars would have to align to make your plans come true. I'm not sying it will be impossible, but at 2 years post this problem... it is still too soon to have proven the new you.

    Patience and sacrifice are the price you need to pay now. In a year from now, when you meet with the BON, tell them what you've done to improve yourself. Tell them of your plans of becoming a NP. It wouldn't hurt if you volunteer at a program helping others to conquer their addictions or problems... thereby helping them become better citizens and human beings. This will help show your commitment of becoming the best nurse you can be.

    I would stay away from the Master's program for now.

    Best wishes for you!
    poppycat likes this.
  7. 1
    I wonder first of all if you could get into a NP program with that albatross around your neck. DEA privileges could also be an issue for you. They might forgive a provider whom is already licensed, but I can see them denying a first time DEA license to someone with a diversion "conviction."

    Assuming you could get past both those barriers, I think once you are "forgiven" by the BON, the past is past. However, you will have to divulge that stain to every potential employer, and I do see that being a very large obstacle. My group, for instance, would not consider you. We didn't hire a physician we sorely wanted because he had declared bankruptcy in the past associated with a divorce. We really liked him, we really wanted him, we just didn't want to take any chances. A narcotic issue would have meant we never even seriously reviewed his credentials, and we certainly would not have taken the time to interview him.

    I am not saying this to flame or shame you, but narcotics diversion has got to be the worst thing a health care provider can do and it will be very difficult for you to get past it. In short, professionally speaking you would be better off if you had killed someone. It is too bad that some mistakes really do ruin the rest of your life. I do wish you the best of luck.
    Nccity2002 likes this.
  8. 2
    Onprobation, congratulations on your sobriety. The road to recovery, it seems, is a very long, aurduous one that requires a lot of 'show and prove'. Sounds like you're on the right path; keep going. Addiction is a disease (just like cancer) and requires treatment and support. We're all imperfect and at times excercise poor judgement or make mistakes. Being impaired certainly increases those occurances. The goal is to never stay down when we fall. We all know that diversion is a very serious thing, but I personally don't think it's "professionally (speaking) worse than killing someone". I happen to believe that there can be life after recovery. I suppose our perception is relative to our own frame of references, though.

    In regards to persuing advance practice, I don't know if I would do so within the immediate future. Because whether the BON would grant the license is just one concern. Acceptance into an AP program is the first consideration, as are employment opportunities as an APRN and also DEA privledges for prescriptive authority. As we all know, every professional employment or licensure application always asks about past convictions, discipline, suspension, etc. Although full RN privledges may soon be reinstated by the board, the discipline history remains on record. What I would do, for now, is to take full advantage of the current employment and seek advancement within the company. And then later, after you get in more "good" time under your belt and demonstrate you are again trustworthy, people will be more likely to give you a chance. Stay strong, and remember God is in control. Keep us posted on your progress!
    NerdyNikki and Tinabeanrn like this.
  9. 8
    onprobation, let me tell you the following, it's actually a no brainer.
    None of the people responding to your question, including myself, know the answer.

    Let me say that again. No one person on here knows the answer to your question.

    I'm honestly shocked at what I read from BlueDevil. A well-known, long-time member here with the majority of her posts falling in the pragmatic and sensible categories I can't believe what I read. I re-read, then re-read again, thinking I misread.

    "Professionally speaking it would be better if you had killed someone" Really?! Wow. That's amazing.
    Now, I know a thing or two about nursing boards and the consequences that follow with gross negligence or malpractice. Either of those 2 can kill someone. A board investigation that leads to licensure sanctions, stipulations on practice, suspension, denial of renovation, revocation, etc., etc., is extremely difficult to deal with. I don't think comparing it to a "drug diversion" charge is a fair analysis. They are two completely different things. To say "better to kill someone than get your drug high" is absolutely absurd. And yes, both professionally speaking and on a personal level, it's absurd.

    One is treated as a disease that affects practice.
    It's a sobriety issue.
    I've seen plenty of nurses go through a sobriety board program after DUI's.
    Same issue, sobriety.

    The other, negligence/malpractice, is treated as a breach of duty. It means you either didn't know what to do and didn't bother asking. Knew what to do but didn't care about doing it. Or were completely ignorant to something that you should have known and recognized.
    Which would you rather be known for, stupid, lazy or both stupid and lazy?

    Rant over.

    Here's a suggestion on a practical approach.
    1. Contact the BON in your state.
    Ask them the question in writing.
    You should also ask if prescriptive privileges will be affected?

    2. Contact both the DEA and DPS in your state.
    Ask them the question in writing. Your question should be along the lines of, "will this affect my ability to obtain DEA or DPS number?"
    DEA allows you to prescribe meds in genereal.
    DPS regulates what schedule drugs you can prescribe. In Texas, sched II are not allowed be rx'd by NP's or PA's. You can rx schedule III, which includes vicodin and the like. They may restrict this.

    3. If you know what specialty you wish to work for, start making friends there now!
    The right contacts and networks can cut through bureaucracy very quickly.

    And when your done, if you decide to go through these steps and you've got the answers you need, share those answers here. So those that come after you and find themselves in a similar position can benefit from it. Pay it forward kinda thing.

    Best of luck to you.

    And just so you know, I've worked as a nurse consultant for a legal firm for several years. It's a tough thing you're dealing with. But it gets better, if you stay on the right path, in time, intelligent pragmatic people get it and they'll look past the label.
  10. 0
    Quote from TX RN
    onprobation, let me tell you the following, it's actually a no brainer.
    None of the people responding to your question, including myself, know the answer.

    Let me say that again. No one person on here knows the answer to your question.

    I'm honestly shocked at what I read from BlueDevil. A well-known, long-time member here with the majority of her posts falling in the pragmatic and sensible categories I can't believe what I read. I re-read, then re-read again, thinking I misread.

    "Professionally speaking it would be better if you had killed someone" Really?! Wow. That's amazing.
    Now, I know a thing or two about nursing boards and the consequences that follow with gross negligence or malpractice. Either of those 2 can kill someone. A board investigation that leads to licensure sanctions, stipulations on practice, suspension, denial of renovation, revocation, etc., etc., is extremely difficult to deal with. I don't think comparing it to a "drug diversion" charge is a fair analysis. They are two completely different things. To say "better to kill someone than get your drug high" is absolutely absurd. And yes, both professionally speaking and on a personal level, it's absurd.

    One is treated as a disease that affects practice.
    It's a sobriety issue.
    I've seen plenty of nurses go through a sobriety board program after DUI's.
    Same issue, sobriety.

    The other, negligence/malpractice, is treated as a breach of duty. It means you either didn't know what to do and didn't bother asking. Knew what to do but didn't care about doing it. Or were completely ignorant to something that you should have known and recognized.
    Which would you rather be known for, stupid, lazy or both stupid and lazy?

    Rant over.

    Here's a suggestion on a practical approach.
    1. Contact the BON in your state.
    Ask them the question in writing.
    You should also ask if prescriptive privileges will be affected?

    2. Contact both the DEA and DPS in your state.
    Ask them the question in writing. Your question should be along the lines of, "will this affect my ability to obtain DEA or DPS number?"
    DEA allows you to prescribe meds in genereal.
    DPS regulates what schedule drugs you can prescribe. In Texas, sched II are not allowed be rx'd by NP's or PA's. You can rx schedule III, which includes vicodin and the like. They may restrict this.

    3. If you know what specialty you wish to work for, start making friends there now!
    The right contacts and networks can cut through bureaucracy very quickly.

    And when your done, if you decide to go through these steps and you've got the answers you need, share those answers here. So those that come after you and find themselves in a similar position can benefit from it. Pay it forward kinda thing.

    Best of luck to you.

    And just so you know, I've worked as a nurse consultant for a legal firm for several years. It's a tough thing you're dealing with. But it gets better, if you stay on the right path, in time, intelligent pragmatic people get it and they'll look past the label.
    Great advice, TXRN!
  11. 0
    I think it is risky but possible. Hey I know somebody going for PA who is a former drug addict and also arrested for domestic violence in past. So anything is possible. Contact the agencies listed above to get an idea of where they stand.
  12. 0
    I believe in second chances. It won't help, that's for sure and for certain. I do question your motives though. "I beleive this may help me to enter a new chapter in my life to prove to everyone and myself that I am a successful person, look what I did after my whole life went down the drain." "...I still feel a large amount of guilt." This is very telling. Guilt is a huge part of addiction, as you well know. Here is the long and the short of it. You made a mistake. You paid for it, still paying really, and will continue to pay, maybe more than you should. You are fighting the good fight. If you stumble, you get back up and drive on. Don't take the time to have a pity party, just acknowledge the mistake and do what you can to not repeat it. Remember the character of a person isn't determined by what you do when others are looking, but by what you do when no one is looking. Take care of yourself.
  13. 2
    I agree with TX RN! We are nurses here, not judges over somebody else's life! What ever happen to the therapeutic term being non-judgmental?! I'm extremely appalled at BlueDevils post! This was not the first condescending comment that he/she made onto people's post! Gee wiz!
    AheleneLPN and poppycat like this.


Top