Impaired Nurses - page 2

I've just recently learned about a program for nurses that may need help with a drug or alcohol problem known as the impaired nurses. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this subject. ... Read More

  1. by   doe9181
    Quote from Murphyrn1955
    Yes they should be allowed back in. What if you have cancer or slip and fall and clain workmans comp? Should you be allowed back in? What if you are on a necessary medication that show in your urine test? You need that ned. Should you be allowed in. What if you get a dwi? Everyone deserves a second chance if they have taken steps to heal.
    If you get a DUI or a DWI do you always have to go through a program? How bad is it for your license? I always wondered this.
  2. by   Murphyrn1955
    Quote from doe9181
    If you get a DUI or a DWI do you always have to go through a program? How bad is it for your license? I always wondered this.
    No one knows except you. Granted you should be more responsible and take a look at that with your career in mind, but it shouldn't affect your license. We are human....not perfect.
  3. by   woody62
    Back in the early 80's, I was part of a small group of nurses, here in Florida, who attempted to get an Impaired Nurse Porgram begun. DON denied they had any nurses with such problems. The BON said if the DON's didn't see a need, they didn't either. Needless to say, the BON changed it's position as did the DON's several years later.

    And for those wondering, no I didn't suffer from a problem. I just saw a need.

    As long as the impaired nurse enters the program and completes it successfully, she/he should have their license returned. As for having access to narcotics to pass, I see nothing wrong with that after a probation period.

    As for DUI's, if you get the ticket off duty or on duty, it makes no difference. You are under the influence. And yes, when I was in my early twenties, I drove several times under the influence. Fortunately I never got a ticket. And even more fortunately, I woke up and stopped drinking and driving. And I admit my error.

    Hiding an addiction or denying an addiction is much more dangerous, to yourself and others, then admitting it.

    Woody
  4. by   time4meRN
    Like wise in Ohio, I know of a program called the Alternative Program for Nursing. I've worked with nurses on this. It is voluntary, it is a one time deal. It is 4 years long , they can't work for a time, the work application process is long and humiliating, once they get to work they can't pass narcs for a good while, (we had to pass them for her), once they could pass narcs they have to turn in paper work like once a month and go to see the board on a regular basis. She called a number every day for 4 years (even when we took a trip toghether), she said if she missed one time it could be considered an automatic pos. test. She payed for the drug screens her self. The nurse I worked with went to AA meeting, I seen her life change. She was not at all mad at the board. It's like she said, the board didn't have to have the program, they could have just yanked her license but, they gave her another chance. Now I've seen other nurses go to her that are addicted, (because she was so open with the staff), now one of them is in recovery. As far as , should nurses be allowed to work, He** yes, as long as they are in recovery. Other occupations have oportunity for recovery why shouldn't nurses. If they are an addict , it's not staying away from narcs 'white knuckeling it", as she explained to me, she needed to have a spiritual awakening. There is more to addiction than drugs, how about nurses who drink in silent, they're impaired as well. How about air line pilots , Dr's , Pharmacists, teachers, bus drivers, the list goes on and on. Everyone should be given a chance. Now if they continue to screw up, than that is a different sort of goose.
  5. by   MB37
    I knew a nurse in Louisiana who got a DUI, and he was required to jump through some hoops to keep his license. On top of whatever the courts made him do, he had to go to extra meetings and take a weekly piss test to show there was no alcohol in his system. I'm sure this varies widely by state though.
  6. by   teeituptom
    I love these threads, I always get flamed so nicely afterwards.

    Lets see. To the one who tried to campare drug addiction with cancer. Wrong, wrong wrong. You dont choose to come down with cancer. You choose to take drugs that make you addicted. You choose to continue to take those addictive drugs, You deny deny deny that you are addicted. Most people with drug problems do not come forward untill they have ben busted. And it is not untill they are busted that they say, Feel sorry for me Im an addict. Cancer, hopefully you get better. But they are no where the same.
    I had someone try to compare Addiction to Diabetes. Again wrong wrong wrong. You do not choose to become diabetic. And in treating diabetes properly, you are helping yourself and those that care for you. Addiction, here again you choose to take that first step. And taking those drugs are harmfull to you and harmfull to those around you. Again not a good comparison.
    I had someone try to compare HTN with addiction. You dont choose to be HTN patient, are there things you can do to minimze and possible prevent some of it, but you still cant beat genetics yet. I admit with addiction there is some genetic predispostioning possibly there. However you still started taking drugs on your own.
  7. by   time4meRN
    Quote from teeituptom
    i love these threads, i always get flamed so nicely afterwards.

    lets see. to the one who tried to campare drug addiction with cancer. wrong, wrong wrong. you dont choose to come down with cancer. you choose to take drugs that make you addicted. you choose to continue to take those addictive drugs, you deny deny deny that you are addicted. most people with drug problems do not come forward untill they have ben busted. and it is not untill they are busted that they say, feel sorry for me im an addict. cancer, hopefully you get better. but they are no where the same.
    i had someone try to compare addiction to diabetes. again wrong wrong wrong. you do not choose to become diabetic. and in treating diabetes properly, you are helping yourself and those that care for you. addiction, here again you choose to take that first step. and taking those drugs are harmfull to you and harmfull to those around you. again not a good comparison.
    i had someone try to compare htn with addiction. you dont choose to be htn patient, are there things you can do to minimze and possible prevent some of it, but you still cant beat genetics yet. i admit with addiction there is some genetic predispostioning possibly there. however you still started taking drugs on your own.


    be very careful , how you judge others. there by the grace of god go i. never say never. things happen to people that lead to addictions. addicts don't wake up saying, i think i'll go out and destroy my life today. yes it is a choice the first time be it cons or sub. but addiction is a symptom of underlying problems. most addicts don't choose to be the way they are. how many diabetics have you had that came in with dka, they ate a regular meal with cake, etoh. yes it was their choice but, we treat them with kindness. if their blood sugar didn't tell on them , they would go on there way, saying,,,,see i'm not diabetic, i can control my blood sugars. so off they go to another meal, only this time eating even more cake and etoh. they have a disease, with that disease comes many things to come to terms with. but, i will treat copd pt's that smoke, obease pt's that eat, diabetics that are non compliant, mental health pt's that don't take their meds to the best of my ability,showing as much compassion as i can (sometimes not easy )furthermore, many of these type pt's are also nurses.(darn good ones at that)
    Last edit by time4meRN on Sep 14, '07
  8. by   woody62
    Quote from time4mern
    be very careful , how you judge others. there by the grace of god go i. never say never. things happen to people that lead to addictions. addicts don't wake up saying, i think i'll go out and destroy my life today. yes it is a choice the first time be it cons or sub. but addiction is a symptom of underlying problems. most addicts don't choose to be the way they are. how many diabetics have you had that came in with dka, they ate a regular meal with cake, etoh. yes it was their choice but, we treat them with kindness. if their blood sugar didn't tell on them , they would go on there way, saying,,,,see i'm not diabetic, i can control my blood sugars. so off they go to another meal, only this time eating even more cake and etoh. they have a disease, with that disease comes many things to come to terms with. but, i will treat copd pt's that smoke, obease pt's that eat, diabetics that are non compliant, mental health pt's that don't take their meds to the best of my ability,showing as much compassion as i can (sometimes not easy )furthermore, many of these type pt's are also nurses.(darn good ones at that)
    first of all, most patients don't choose to be sick. most diabetics don't choose to suffer a hypo or hyperglycemia episode. and most obese individuals really don't choose to be obese. and most people who suffer from hypertension didn't choose to suffer from that either. most chronic diseases have a genetic component to them. so, unless you can choose your parents, you really don't have any control over what chronic illness you get.

    and to be honest, i am tired of people who suffer from chronic illnesses and have to be hospitalized, get blamed for their diseases. or for their having to be hospitalized. i generally am in good control of my blood sugars, as are most people i know who suffer from diabetes. and i know quite a few thru the support group i attend. but every once in a while, for reasons unknown (and not due to drinking or over eating) i suffer from rare episodes of hyperglycemia. and i have suffered six episodes of hypoglycemia since going on nph. four episodes were due to not having eaten a sufficient grams of carbohydrates and protein. the other two were due to a delay in my eating a meal, over which i had no control. you want to blame someone, blame my sil. he was responsible for cooking that night.

    initially, addicts are generally not held responsible for their addiction. they are given an opportunity to get clean and lead a sober life. unfortunately, a lot of them have more problems that add to their addiction and they slide back into addiction. i could blame them because they allowed themselves to slide back. just like some blame a diabetic who comes into your er for a bka. after all, if he had been diagnosed earlier, if he had controlled his blood sugars earlier, if he hadn't suffered from an disease of his circulatory system, he wouldn't be in your er, would he?

    i hate to point this out to you, you are the blame for many of the readmissions to your hospitals. you have failed in your responsibility to ensure that your patients understand their diseases, understand the negative outcomes, understand their decisions. if they end up back in your hospitals, it has to be your fault. your failure.

    that accusation hurts doesn't it? and it is very unfair, isn't it? just as your accusations are unfair and hurtful.


    woody
  9. by   deehaverrn
    I do think that it is interesting that our state BON and ANA have policies and assistance for impaired nurses who have addictions, while in my case they have nothing. I require medicaton to treat my pain from a back injury suffered at work. My doctor clears me to work, and thinks it is okay for me to take my narcotic medication to control my pain level. Even though I have continually told everyone that my medications make me drowsy and interfere with my ability to concentrate and focus, since there is no rule against it in my hospital or from the state BON, the worker's compensation system says that if I don't work as ordered ..I will forgo my other compensation and eventually my job. Instead, I am forced to go to work despite the pain,, because I am afreaid to make a mistake. I sometimes am unable to even control my tears while in a pt room and the pain is terrible.
    While I recognize that addicts need help, I think that it is terrible that nurses who have been injured are left with absolutely no where to turn. I have tried everything...different doctors, different procedures, different medications...nothing has stopped the pain, Unfortunately, even though my hosptial adamantly adheres to strict policies to deal with alleviating patient's pain complaints, they have no such compunction when dealing with their own employees. IT is easy to say, that I should find a new employer...but who is going to hire someone with my physical impairments? Right now I would be in too much pain just after driving to work and walking to my department to even consider working...unfortunately, soon I will have an "IME" with the worker's compensation doctor and who knows what I will be told. I'm also now trying to find a new physiatrist because my last one "concentrates his practice in acute pain and people who he can utillize treatment modalities with.." he's not interested in caring for patients who will require "chronic pain medications". Since I work for my town's hospital it is difficult to find doctors who will treat me with the proper regard for myself as a pt..and not instead be considering the "politically correct" way of considering the hospitals perspective instead of what is right for me. Since it is painful to drive, I have avoided going to another area to access impartial providers. Also, if I take my pain meds and get someone to drive me..it would interfere with their exam...kind of Catch 22.
    Anyway, since soo many nurses that I know have been injured on the job, it would seem that our BON would have a better way to deal with us.
  10. by   ERGirl83
    Quote from mattsmom81
    In Texas we have TPAPN which is a program designed to help impaired nurses keep their nursing license if they are willing to get help and stay clean. They closely monitor the nurse, and if she cooperates through the treatment and followup period, she eventually has it expunged from her record, I believe. I think it is a good program because nurses are human too, and are not immune to the disease of addiction.
    I don't have a problem with helping them to get help and possibly keep their license, but I don't believe it should be expunged from their record. I think this is an important piece of information for subsequent employers so that she/he can be monitored appropriately...I don't like the notion that we can just make our mistakes/crimes disappear. It makes sense for children, but as adults we have to take responsibility for our actions, and that does not include allowing them to disappear off of our records.
  11. by   ERGirl83
    Quote from time4mern
    be very careful , how you judge others. there by the grace of god go i. never say never. things happen to people that lead to addictions. addicts don't wake up saying, i think i'll go out and destroy my life today. yes it is a choice the first time be it cons or sub. but addiction is a symptom of underlying problems. most addicts don't choose to be the way they are. how many diabetics have you had that came in with dka, they ate a regular meal with cake, etoh. yes it was their choice but, we treat them with kindness. if their blood sugar didn't tell on them , they would go on there way, saying,,,,see i'm not diabetic, i can control my blood sugars. so off they go to another meal, only this time eating even more cake and etoh. they have a disease, with that disease comes many things to come to terms with. but, i will treat copd pt's that smoke, obease pt's that eat, diabetics that are non compliant, mental health pt's that don't take their meds to the best of my ability,showing as much compassion as i can (sometimes not easy )furthermore, many of these type pt's are also nurses.(darn good ones at that)
    i would argue that how one deals with their "underlying problems," that lead them to the choice of taking drugs (because it is a continued choice. even when addicted, you make the choice to stay addicted or to seek treatment) speaks volumes about not only their character, but their ability to effectively manage patient care. i for one, would be extremely wary of allowing someone who felt the best way to deal with their "underlying issues," was to take drugs, to be on my healthcare team. one of the biggest issues in nursing is stress, if one cannot handle their own personal issues any other way than to get high, how will they handle the stresses of their job, and how will they instruct their patients to handle their own issues?

    i'm all for them receiving help to go on the road to recovery, but i vehemently disagree with the notion of expunging the addiction from their professional and legal records.
  12. by   longhornfan1
    Sound like "denial". Just have to take it with a fork and spoon, do what they want, when they want, how they want, and get it all signed, pee in the cup for a couple of years ($55 a pop) and you get to keep your license. But everyone in the medical profession will know that "We are recovering addicts" and all the garbage that comes with that title. Am much more sympathetic to my patients labeled "former drug abusers" and how they are treated by health care worers.
  13. by   TazziRN
    Quote from dollbabykg
    i don't have a problem with helping them to get help and possibly keep their license, but i don't believe it should be expunged from their record. i think this is an important piece of information for subsequent employers so that she/he can be monitored appropriately...i don't like the notion that we can just make our mistakes/crimes disappear. it makes sense for children, but as adults we have to take responsibility for our actions, and that does not include allowing them to disappear off of our records.
    why do we need to be "monitored appropriately"? if i am sober i should be treated just like anyone else who is not impaired, because while i am sober i am not impaired.

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Impaired Nurses