Drug addicted nurses - page 5

I am a nursing student and in one of my classes we have recently talked about nurses and substance abuse. I think that it is hard for me to wrap my brain around the issue. My questions are: 1.... Read More

  1. by   krisssy
    Gianna 2111, I really do wish you the best. A few months ago, I had the good fortune of reading a wonderful book on this subject. Gianna 2111, I think it may help you and give you hope. It is called Walking Like A Duck by Patricia Holloran RN. I found out about it in another discussion on this subject a few months ago, and I bought it on Amazon.com. It is the true story of a nurse walking from addiction to recovery. My heart went out to Pat Halloran as she became addicted to a pain killer, diverted and in the end got well. It tells in detail how she came to take pain killers, how she became addicted, how she diverted and the pure hell she went through trying to recover and get her license (which meant the world to her) back.

    IMHO, I believe that we as nurses need to read the research that has been done and if we don't know, find out why drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases. No matter what kind of nursing we do, we will come in contact with people suffering with this disease-and I truly mean suffering. We need to not judge and know how to help just like we would with any other disease. If you don't believe it is a disease, read the above book, and read all the research done. I really don't want to start listing it here.

    Of course I believe that diverting is unacceptable, but to put the person in jail and never give them their license back is terrible too. I have known some of the most amazing, honest, spiritual people that are in recovery. As a nurse and as a human being, I am not in the position to judge anybody who is ill, and in my heart and soul, I know addiction is a serious and sometimes lethal illness. Let's help and not judge please. Krisssy RN MA soon to be MS student-can't wait!
  2. by   sjrn85
    Great post, krissy!
  3. by   Bipley
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    But i also don't see how this is really the facility's responsibility, refering someone to rehab.
    I don't know that it is necessarily a professional responsibility but it is the right thing to do, perhaps a personal responsibility. Someone who is addicted to drugs needs help, it's the right thing to do to attempt to get someone that help.
  4. by   Bipley
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Anyone ever know of a nurse that was allowed back to the same job after drug rehab, if the nurse was stealing drugs on the job?
    I don't think I have ever known anyone that wanted to come back to the same facility, same job. There is an issue of shame, etc. Perhaps it is better for some folks if they get a new start on life after a drug addiction issue. Maybe new surroundings is better? I don't really know.

    And Marie, it most certainly is a disease.
  5. by   Bipley
    Quote from krisssy
    Gianna 2111, I really do wish you the best. A few months ago, I had the good fortune of reading a wonderful book on this subject. Gianna 2111, I think it may help you and give you hope. It is called Walking Like A Duck by Patricia Holloran RN. I found out about it in another discussion on this subject a few months ago, and I bought it on Amazon.com. It is the true story of a nurse walking from addiction to recovery. My heart went out to Pat Halloran as she became addicted to a pain killer, diverted and in the end got well. It tells in detail how she came to take pain killers, how she became addicted, how she diverted and the pure hell she went through trying to recover and get her license (which meant the world to her) back.

    IMHO, I believe that we as nurses need to read the research that has been done and if we don't know, find out why drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases. No matter what kind of nursing we do, we will come in contact with people suffering with this disease-and I truly mean suffering. We need to not judge and know how to help just like we would with any other disease. If you don't believe it is a disease, read the above book, and read all the research done. I really don't want to start listing it here.

    Of course I believe that diverting is unacceptable, but to put the person in jail and never give them their license back is terrible too. I have known some of the most amazing, honest, spiritual people that are in recovery. As a nurse and as a human being, I am not in the position to judge anybody who is ill, and in my heart and soul, I know addiction is a serious and sometimes lethal illness. Let's help and not judge please. Krisssy RN MA soon to be MS student-can't wait!
    Great job on the post, Krisssy! Really, great post!
  6. by   southern_rn_brat
    I've been in recovery for 1 year, 8 months and 7 days:hatparty: .

    Today is also the day of my one year anniversary with TNPAP. I am one grateful addict in recovery. I am grateful for the woman that did my intervention, I am grateful for St Marys and their wonderful program for impaired nurses and I am grateful to Cornerstone of Recovery for giving me the tools to save my life.

    I am grateful I have to make that phone call every single day for 2 more years to see if I have to pee today.

    I am grateful for those loving nurses I work with. I was terrified to tell them that I was an addict and going thru treatment. Not one of them, not a single one, shunned me. Every single nurse I work with has loved and supported my recovery for the past year.

    I stayed at my same job. It was hard to have to look everyone in the eye with them all knowing I was a drug addict. But I did stay, and I went to rehab and I have stayed clean and sober. They know I am different by my actions.

    Some people say I dont deserve to be a nurse? Thats fine and thats your opinion and I respect that.

    Like it or not, addiction is a recognized disease by the AMA.

    I was one of the lucky ones. I made it thru today!
  7. by   Bipley
    Quote from southern_rn_brat
    I've been in recovery for 1 year, 8 months and 7 days:hatparty: .

    Today is also the day of my one year anniversary with TNPAP. I am one grateful addict in recovery. I am grateful for the woman that did my intervention, I am grateful for St Marys and their wonderful program for impaired nurses and I am grateful to Cornerstone of Recovery for giving me the tools to save my life.

    I am grateful I have to make that phone call every single day for 2 more years to see if I have to pee today.

    I am grateful for those loving nurses I work with. I was terrified to tell them that I was an addict and going thru treatment. Not one of them, not a single one, shunned me. Every single nurse I work with has loved and supported my recovery for the past year.

    I stayed at my same job. It was hard to have to look everyone in the eye with them all knowing I was a drug addict. But I did stay, and I went to rehab and I have stayed clean and sober. They know I am different by my actions.

    Some people say I dont deserve to be a nurse? Thats fine and thats your opinion and I respect that.

    Like it or not, addiction is a recognized disease by the AMA.

    I was one of the lucky ones. I made it thru today!
    I just have one thing to say to you.

    Big, huge, mega (((((HUGS)))))

    I have not had to suffer as you have, my Mom died an alcoholic/addict. My Dad was sober for the final 20 years of his life. I cannot totally relate to what you deal with on a daily basis, but I come as close as they come to understanding without having to experience the illness first hand.

    My hat is off to you. Congrats on the 1 year, 8 months, and 7 days. With your hard work it will be 1 year, 8 months, and 8 days.
  8. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    I have worked with a nurse whom we all knew was diverting. Noone in management would do anything (this was at my last job). Myself and otehr nruses printed out the evidence- this nurse was taking out pain meds on EVERYONE's patient, then stating "oh, they told me they were hurting and I didn't want to bother you." One time she did this on her day OFF. ("I came in for my check and a lot of people down in the gym said they were hurting so I did you guys a favor"). She would also sign out narcs on her patients liek clockwork, sometimes a coupla hours early. Patients would complain, but since this girl was an RN and we were understaffed, nothing was done about it until she was caught. Not caught by my facility, even though we had reported her over a dozen times, but caught because her addiction had surpassed what she could get at work. She stole a prescription pad from one of our docs, wrote scripts for Oxycontin in both her and her husband's names, and turned them in to a local pharmacy to be filled. The pharmacy checked them out, and called the police. When this nurse found out, she took an entire bottle of Ambien, almost died, and spent three weeks in a psych ward. The saddest thing? She was pregnant while this was all going on. SIX MONTHS pregnant. I have no idea how her baby turned out. The thing that really pisses me off, though, is apparently she is back working as a nurse, just one state over. I have no idea how that happened or what has happened with her forged script charges. Maybe they were thrown out on a technicality or something. Sad, sad story that could have been so different if our DON had been willing to turn in an RN and work short for a while.

    Lori
  9. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    Quote from Zoey65
    Gianna, Good Luck. I hope you are able to stay with your children. I think a lot of us have the potential to become addicts, and have no idea how we keep from it. I had the experience when I was weekend supervisor at a LTC facility of a nurse coming to me to tell me that she was sick and had taken one of the pts phenergen. I don't know if she was wanting help? I felt bad for her (she was a good nurse and a nice person), but I had to tell someone. I gave her the opportunity and she turned herself in and was allowed to just quit her job. I don't know what happened after that. I hope she was able to get straightened out.
    This surprises me... when we have staff who are vomiting, we routinely give phenergan (of course, we have a standing order from the doctor that applies specifically to staff members).
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    (of course, we have a standing order from the doctor that applies specifically to staff members).
    I don't understand how that's legal.
  11. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    I don't understand how that's legal.
    When they sign onto our insurance, our primary doctor becomes theirs if they choose. Then we have a signed statement from them accepting the care of him. That way we can give Tylenol, MOM, or Phenergan, but no narcs or anything. The Phenergan is only in drastic cases and when the employee signs. The doc signs it next time he comes through.
  12. by   Really An Actress
    Good luck to you, Gianni. Your problems caused by drugs are not the sum of the person you are. You'll get throught this and life will be good again.

    My hat is off to the nurses who recognize their problem and turn themselves in. I haven't never had a problem with drugs, but I know it could be any one us.

    I'm all for giving people a second chance in life. I think the rehabilitation program is a perfect example of how a compassionate profession should work. Of course there will be those who don't follow the program, but all health care professionals should be given the opportunity to prove themselves again.

    Thanks to all who shared their story.
  13. by   jmillerphn
    to Steelcityrn


    Please remember the mind is like a parachute, it works better when opened.....Dali Lama

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