Drug Abuse/Nurses/Kristi - page 3

I tried posting a reply directly to your post, but when I typed in my ID, etc., it just flipped me back to your topic, and didn't let me post, so I started a new topic, but on the SAME topic. I can't... Read More

  1. by   ikelly
    Originally posted by PPL:
    iKelly, hi and thanks for posting. I read the article word for word, and found it interesting and informative. An interesting aside, is that none of the nurses who had been disciplined for narcotics issues responded to the survey. Did you catch that?
    Thanks for pointing that out to me. I just read the article again and would be interested in contacting the researchers to find out if they had any ideas why those nurses did not respond. I would think that the shock of getting a request for biographical data in the mail after having your name posted in the internet for all to see might have caused
    them not to respond. I don't know. Also, 81% of all the nurses contacted did not respond. The article says that the instrument used was the Likert scale . I am going to see what it's all about. I'll let you know what I find out about the scale.
    Ida
  2. by   PPL
    JoanKim, I'm not sure that I'm after anything, and just because we are not in agreement, why am I the only one considered not to be open minded? Are you saying that you had no choice, when your addictive behavior began in high school? I say that unless your parents/caretaker injected you and/or forced you to drink and abuse drugs, you had a choice. Now on the other hand, you may have perceived yourself to have had no choice, and later realized that you did indeed; but that you just made a bad choice. As far as what I would do re drug impaired professionals, first I would make a distinction between using on or off the job. I think those who come to work impaired should be grounds for immediate termination. If you are caught stealing and/or using drugs fraudulently while on the job; again, immed termination. In these cases, you may be putting your patients and/or co-workers in danger. After your termination, and if you sought treatment and remained drug free, then I would consider you for rehire under the following conditions: 1) You are available for random drug screens at employer's discretion. 2) You sign a last chance contract that if you're found to have drugs in your system and/or are caught stealing and/or using on the job, you're out the door. Since you blew your first chance, and if you are caught stealing/diverting, etc., you should be prosecuted and have your license yanked for six months-one year, at which time, you could reapply for a restricted license to practice, the terms of which could include, but not be limited to: random drug screens @ your expense and @ employer's discretion, must work in an area away from direct patient care, restricted from passing meds, etc. As far as using illicit drugs outside of work, we'll leave that up to the justice system, but personally, I feel no good can come of it. I also do not think the taxpayers should pay for your treatment. It takes a huge amount of energy to obtain drugs and maintain your habit over time, so that SAME energy should be applied to working a job outside of nursing to pay for treatment, fines, penalties, drug screens, etc. Now, thank God I don't have to make the rules, but this is where I would start, and it seems fair to me. What it sounds like in the posts is that some got a slap on the wrist and some got much worse; I'm not sure why this happens. As far as the survey was concerned, it was for a group of nurses in NY, and yes, I believe you would have responded if it was a general survey and you had seen it. JoanKim, I have worked with every nature of addict and it has been my experience that on the whole, that there have been terrible abuses of the system overall. There is no doubt in my mind that SOME do get clean and STAY clean, but it seems that that doesn't happen for most until they have exhausted EVERY possible resource, including their families, friends, co-workers, taxpayers, etc. My thanks again to all posters.
  3. by   ikelly
    Originally posted by PPL:
    JoanKim, I'm not sure that I'm after anything, and just because we are not in agreement, why am I the only one considered not to be open minded? Are you saying that you had no choice, when your addictive behavior began in high school? I say that unless your parents/caretaker injected you and/or forced you to drink and abuse drugs, you had a choice. Now on the other hand, you may have perceived yourself to have had no choice, and later realized that you did indeed; but that you just made a bad choice. As far as what I would do re drug impaired professionals, first I would make a distinction between using on or off the job. I think those who come to work impaired should be grounds for immediate termination. If you are caught stealing and/or using drugs fraudulently while on the job; again, immed termination. In these cases, you may be putting your patients and/or co-workers in danger. After your termination, and if you sought treatment and remained drug free, then I would consider you for rehire under the following conditions: 1) You are available for random drug screens at employer's discretion. 2) You sign a last chance contract that if you're found to have drugs in your system and/or are caught stealing and/or using on the job, you're out the door. Since you blew your first chance, and if you are caught stealing/diverting, etc., you should be prosecuted and have your license yanked for six months-one year, at which time, you could reapply for a restricted license to practice, the terms of which could include, but not be limited to: random drug screens @ your expense and @ employer's discretion, must work in an area away from direct patient care, restricted from passing meds, etc. As far as using illicit drugs outside of work, we'll leave that up to the justice system, but personally, I feel no good can come of it. I also do not think the taxpayers should pay for your treatment. It takes a huge amount of energy to obtain drugs and maintain your habit over time, so that SAME energy should be applied to working a job outside of nursing to pay for treatment, fines, penalties, drug screens, etc. Now, thank God I don't have to make the rules, but this is where I would start, and it seems fair to me. What it sounds like in the posts is that some got a slap on the wrist and some got much worse; I'm not sure why this happens. As far as the survey was concerned, it was for a group of nurses in NY, and yes, I believe you would have responded if it was a general survey and you had seen it. JoanKim, I have worked with every nature of addict and it has been my experience that on the whole, that there have been terrible abuses of the system overall. There is no doubt in my mind that SOME do get clean and STAY clean, but it seems that that doesn't happen for most until they have exhausted EVERY possible resource, including their families, friends, co-workers, taxpayers, etc. My thanks again to all posters.
    Hi PPL,
    I agree that there should be a different standard for those who steal and use on the job. Addiction takes a terrible toll on the system, the profession, families and friends.
    I would not want to work with someone who was using and risking the safety of the staff and patients. I hope all of the nurses who are having this problem find help.
    Re: the AJN article and the Likert scale--the scale is used to obtain opinions to survey questions. We see it all the time when we rate things as Strongly Disagree,
    Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree etc. There are other variations but this is the one seen most often. One good thing about a forum like this is that we can see the issues and see the many different ways people view them. We are all entitled to our opinions.
    We may not agree but hopefully we can learn from each other.
    Ida
  4. by   PPL
    Yep, I agree. I've taken a good deal of flak re this topic, but I hold firm my opinion. I actually have stepped over the passed out bodies of two addicted nurses on the night shift at one facility I worked at. True story! Can you imagine? Good thing it was a slow night, LOL! I don't believe they're working there anymore!!! Most are much better at being deceptive then these two were! You could'a knocked me over with a feather! Thanks iKelly.
  5. by   karent
    Originally posted by PPL:
    Yep, I agree. I've taken a good deal of flak re this topic, but I hold firm my opinion. I actually have stepped over the passed out bodies of two addicted nurses on the night shift at one facility I worked at. True story! Can you imagine? Good thing it was a slow night, LOL! I don't believe they're working there anymore!!! Most are much better at being deceptive then these two were! You could'a knocked me over with a feather! Thanks iKelly.
    I don't know what to say. I would suggest you learn more about the disease of addiction before making statements like that. I'm glad you weren't around when I got sober.

    Karen


    ------------------
    <A HREF="http://www.tktucker.net/nir/
    " TARGET=_blank>http://www.tktucker.net/nir/
    </A> Nurses in Recovery
    <A HREF="http://www.tktucker.net/
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    </A> Tina's Place
  6. by   PPL
    Actually, Karen, I'm ALWAYS in favor of folks making good choices, and I have a good deal of education re addiction; I just don't happen to buy into it, lock, stock and barrel. Are you inferring though that addicts are NOT exceptional at deception? Because, if you are, I disagree. The MAJORITY of addicts I have known are MASTERS at it. Of course, once their habit consumes every living moment, they eventually make mistakes, get sloppy, etc. What would YOU have done if you encountered these two? I mean, they weren't exactly TEAM PLAYERS! By the way, I checked out your web site. I am not averse to listening to the opinions of people who take a different approach; I'm just not in agreement that there is ONLY one approach. Thanks Karen.
  7. by   ikelly
    Originally posted by PPL:
    Actually, Karen, I'm ALWAYS in favor of folks making good choices, and I have a good deal of education re addiction; I just don't happen to buy into it, lock, stock and barrel. Are you inferring though that addicts are NOT exceptional at deception? Because, if you are, I disagree. The MAJORITY of addicts I have known are MASTERS at it. Of course, once their habit consumes every living moment, they eventually make mistakes, get sloppy, etc. What would YOU have done if you encountered these two? I mean, they weren't exactly TEAM PLAYERS! By the way, I checked out your web site. I am not averse to listening to the opinions of people who take a different approach; I'm just not in agreement that there is ONLY one approach. Thanks Karen.
    Hi everyone,
    This is a really hot topic and there is an interesting article in the New York Times
    Saturday, June 24,2000 Seeing Drugs as a Choice or as a Brain Anomaly by
    Michael Messing. You can read it on-line by going to the N Y Times Archives.
    It presents opinions on both sides.
    Thanks to everyone for the interesting posts on this topic. I enjoy
    allnurses and can't wait to get on-line and see what the important issues are for nurses. I'd like to see more nursing research on this topic. I would also like to see more nursing research on nurses and substance abuse.
    Ida

  8. by   PPL
    iKelly, I could not figure out how to view the article without purchasing it from the archive. Can you help? I would like to read it. Thanks.
  9. by   aanPJH
    I have never had a drug problem, nor felt tempted but I can understand how easily it could happen. I feel great compassion for these nurses in their addiction. How many other nurses eat too much, drink too much, have out of control anger at home, are shopaholics, unfaithful etc!! The point is, most people are in need of a way to soothe themselves. People from all walks of life are feeling the force of stress but how much more the nurse!!! It is not easy to view death, sickness, suffering, and ALL that goes on in the job and stay light in heart. Nursing is a very sobering profession. For some people who have great love, support, and health deficits in their lives (which seems to be downright most of the nurses I've ever met), it becomes increasingly traumatic for them to be GIVING,GIVING, GIVING while they are increasingly needy themselves. The drugs are just ONE way that people cope. I keep waiting for the day that hospitals will pay a major price for how they have treated their nurses all these years because with the world the way it is today, people have less and less room to tolerate it anymore! I think common sense should tell people they can't go indefinitely under conditions of "withdrawls" from themselves without a heavy price. Nursing, without question, "overall" as I see it after 20 years, is a one way trip of withdrawls only. You all take good care of yourselves now.
  10. by   Joankim
    Kelly,
    The article is very interesting, and I have heard in the past that there are brain imaging scan studies that have shown that there are changes in brain scans/ brain activity of addicts versus normal persons. The metaphorical switch that is mentioned is I think true. It is also accompanied by sstudies that show the brain cortical activity to remain different in addicts after 100 days of using. the brains frontal cortical activity is what controls impulse, motivation and drive. This backed by the decrease in dopamine pathways in addicts leads to a decrease in reinforcing the value of normal things and in turn increases the addicts compulsion with drug usage. The article goes on to say that this concept is WIDELY accepted in in the addiction field , however meets opposition from the government and other opponennts exist as well. They prefer to see addicts as bad people with bad choice making, who lack the willingness to make responsinle choices, and who also lack character.

    There is of course more to the article then just the above, and in order to view it I did purchase it for the $2.50.

    This has been a very interesting thread, at times I have let myself become way too emotional over it, as I become when people do not see my point of view. I do realize however that that is what makes this world what it is , we are all individuals with different opinions. I am not going to change my opinion, I will always belive that it is a disorder which can be stopped, but will never go away. I disagree with PPL's ideas about taking away the ability to ever nurse agaoin if using drugs on the job, primarily because that is my case, and I do not agree that I lack the ability to wwork in a hospital ort function as a capable person. I do not think if I were to relapse that I should not be given an ADDITIONAL chance and If I were to relapse, yes, by all means take my license away. But I disagree with automatically pulling licenses. I have been living under the srutiny of the board for over 3 years and while I have resented it at times, I have also accepted it since I have been allowed to retain my license.

    Mere words cannot describe to anyone (except an addict) what I have gone through to becaome what I am today. I have gone through much pain, humiliation and some degredation by my peers who think that addicts are scum. As hard as I try to let it go and accept it, I find myself still wanting to fight over it, to try to get people to understand and accept or at leats make an attempt to understand the anguish I have felt. I am learning though that it very seldom works, people all have their conception of what an addict is, and how he or she should ne treated; either preconceived or due to some experience with an addict that has left a sour taste in the lives.

    I am always interested to read what my colleagues think about persons such as myself, I continue to be amazed at the shallowness and lack of feeling that people show towards addicts and am forever grateful to my compaasionate and understanding peers out there.

    Peace and love to ALL!
    Joan
  11. by   ikelly
    Originally posted by PPL:
    iKelly, I could not figure out how to view the article without purchasing it from the archive. Can you help? I would like to read it. Thanks.
    Hi PPL,
    There is another way and I just found it.
    Try this: Go to The New York Times and on the front page, on the left hand side there is a site index. Go to Science/Health and click on it. Then go to the bottom of the page to Site search and click on it. Then go to Extended search and type in addiction
    and search.
    Go to the next 10 and it's #20. Let me know if you have a problem. This works for me.
    Ida
  12. by   JillR
    This is a very heated topic and it seems very personal to many. Not only the addicts and alcoholics her but it seems very like a very personal issue the the people who don't have these diseases.

    Could it be that the ones here that don't suffer with these diseases, have some kind of personal experience with the issue, and I'm not talking about with your co-worker, but perhaps with loved ones.

    Being a recovering alcoholic, I have found that many of the nurses I know may not be addicts or alcoholics, but have lived with them, loved them and have been very hurt by the lies, broken promises, and manipulation that goes along with it. Maybe thats why many are drawn to nursing. We (including myself) may have gotton out of that co-dependant relationship, but go right into nursing, which in its own way is almost requires a co-dependant personality to be a successful nurse.

    Think about it. In what other career can you be totally responsible for someone else for 8-12 hours a day and get payed for it. We are not only responsable for peoples meds, eating habits, bowel movements, breathing, cardiac function, but for there welfare, comfort and emotions and on and on. Sounds like a perfect career for a co-dependant personality to me.

    I am not trying to be funny, or sarcastic here, I am totally serious.

    I come from a strong alcohic background, and I have not only experienced alcoholism personally but also co-dependancy. It took a long hard look at myself to see that I have been co-dependant since day one and I refuse to do it anymore. Part of co-dependancy is not making the person who is the alcoholic/addict to take responsibility for their actions, and I believe in doing that we do more harm than good for the person. Also taking resposibility for the alcohol/drug use as in "if I didnt do this" ot "if I would do this" then the person would not drink/use. Its a bunch of crap.

    As nurses we take much responsibility away from patients when they are admitted to our units and take it on ourselves. It never seems to fail that soemtimes no matter what we do, someone will die anyway. It's really not in our hand after all, now is it?

    I am sorry I have been babbling but I feel better for doing it.

    I feel that those of you that have worked with addict nurses that are using when they are working have every right to be angry. It would make me very angry to know that someone is using a pain med that a patient needs and now the patient is in terrible pain because the med wasn't really given but diverted. Just the idea of it makes me angry.

    But, I also feel that the same nurses are angry at the fact that THEY were hurt by it. That somehow THEY should have, could have noticed. That they were somehow resposible because they did't notice, or was not able to prove it. Addict and alcoholics are very manipulative,sneaky, and deceptive people. I just feel that both side are looking at this issue froma very narrow viewpoint and maybe you can't possibly see the other view because the non addicts/alcolholics will nver walk a mile in their shoes and the addict well.....ditto.

    Thanks for letting me vent this here.

  13. by   traumaRUs
    My anger is directed at the nurse who endangered MY license by asking me to witness the waste. MY credibility was then called on - was I knowlingly wasting normal saline? I have to say that I was one of several nurses who had wasted with this nurse and we were all questioned. I am offended too that all nurses have to be co-dependent. I don't drink, smoke, do drugs and have been married for over 20 years (faithfully). I am an ER nurse because I feel education of pts is the key to their continued good health not my ability to be co-dependent!

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