Impaired Nurses - page 4

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   longhornfan1
    Wow! A "plethera" of information from all sides of the ever-present hypodermic. Years of experience coupled with true compassion and just a dab of "can you be that stupid?" My therapist is going to have a field day tomorrow. And I thougt I had actually made progress!! Really though, I have 8 mo of TPAPN left and I am faced with the reality that I have used/abused most of my life. Nothing in moderation!! All stages of denial/grief and am lucky to have come this far with my marriage, children and new RN degree intact. Who says you can't get on the Tpapn train as an LVN and get off it an RN? Still working on the "Core Issues" and the Love/Hate relationship with TPAPN. Love to hear it from all of you but need to ask WoodenNik "R U SERIOUS?" Thanks
  2. by   woody62
    Quote from time4mern
    hurtful ? no not at all. we all know pt's come back in time after time after time. if you work in hospital that it doesn't happen in there should be a major government study there. because that is an issue hospitals and dr offices deal with on a daily basis. actually, you reinforced my point. i'm not saying addicts shouldn't be responsible for their actions or that they should be treated with tender loving care. i'm saying that just as many other dx. (diabetes, copd were just examples) pt's have many underlying issues that cause them to continue on a distructive path, sometimes leading to a slow death. but just like any other disease, the pt. with the disease needs to take control and take responsibility for their own actions. some do this better than others. but as nurses we are responsible for treating the pt as non - judgemental care providers. i used to be a manager and worked with many nurses who were on the "alternative program for nursing" and they were some of the best nurses i had. they were open with me they were excellent employees. i will stand up for them and defend them as good people who had situations in their life that they never developed the coping skills many of the rest of us did.some were abused, battered and lived on the streets . not one of them came to me with a sob story. they were open up -front with me . i didn't learn about their stories untils some of them invited me to a meeting they all went to. that is where i really begane to appriciate the work they were doing to stay healthy. they were some of the most spiritual, kind people i have ever worked with. they were open about their addiction and ended up helping many other health care workers. so, no what you said wasn't hurtful at all. it just tells me you took it personally.i'm sorry for that. what i said wasn't an acusation, it was a fact of things we see in our er on a daily basis, be it a diabetic, copd, addict, munchausen etc...the list goes on and on.
    if you discharge your pt's from your hospital with complete knowlege of their dx and they never return with complications ----wow you guys are good. we can't seem to even get most of ours to understand why a pt with chest pain went back before thier complaint of tooth pain. let alone, that if they continue to smoke they will probalbly be intubated next time they come. :spin:
    let me explain a few things to you about patient education (this is not directly related to this thread but it is). how much a patient retains, how much their family and others want to help or impede them, it varies from person to person. a person may want to follow their diet, while a diabetic, and take their medications but for some reason, their spouse does not want to help them. one of the major problems i have with my peers is that they love to believe that everyone should learn everything when they teach them. and with this imparted wisdom, they should never blacken their doorway again. tell me, did you learn everything that was taught to you the very first time? or did it take several attempts before you grasp the principle? some things i learned the very first time i was taught. but there were other things that took some more education. and i know my own i.q. and it is above normal range. but if you based your assesment on spelling, i would be rated a dummie. i can't spell worth a darn.

    woody
  3. by   letina
    Quote from woody62
    I have an idea. How about requiring every nurse, in every state, to submit to random testing in order to retain their license. That way, we can ensure that no impaired nurse ever has access to patients. Or even legal drugs.
    But what if a nurse was taking something like Percocet or Vicodin (prescribed by a physician) say for example back pain.......and if they couldn't take the meds while working, they might in a sense be 'impaired' because they are in pain....how would that work?
  4. by   teeituptom
    Quote from woody62
    Nurses should be monitored for the rest of their professional life. I wonder why physicians are not subjected to the same rules? Since the 'pee' test is totally random, it is impossible to guess when your phone is going to ring and you have to go in. And hand over a sample.

    I have an idea. How about requiring every nurse, in every state, to submit to random testing in order to retain their license. That way, we can ensure that no impaired nurse ever has access to patients. Or even legal drugs.

    All in favor

    Woody
    All nurse and doctors should have routine testing done. Im all for it
  5. by   happydays352
    Are you serious? This is America nobody is being tested at their place of work without some probable cause. I'm certainly not!

    If you want that kind of supervision you can move to North Korea. The rest of us like our inalienable rights.
  6. by   FireStarterRN
    Quote from happydays352
    Are you serious? This is America nobody is being tested at their place of work without some probable cause. I'm certainly not!

    If you want that kind of supervision you can move to North Korea. The rest of us like our inalienable rights.
    Yes, there are professions that do drug testing in the interest of public safety.
  7. by   happydays352
    I researched it and I couldn't believe what I found, though I shouldn't be too shocked. I still think it's unconstitutional though clearly that hasn't stopped the legislature and executive branch from trampling all over our rights.It doesn't help that people are actually asking that to be done!
    It will be a cold day in he!! before I let the government test me unless I choose to work for them.
    "Those who choose security over liberity deserve neither"
  8. by   les70808
    I am very familiar w/ these programs offered. Not everyone in these programs is addicted. For whatever reason, they made mistakes. (Not talking about nurse who steal drugs and shoot them in b/n their toes). Instead, I am referring to less offenders. They made mistakes. And these programs are overkill. They group all the drug-addicts w/ the people who got a DWI w/ people who got drunk in public...some w/ offenses years before they became a nurse.
  9. by   les70808
    Oh yeah, and I know I people w/ gambling disorders seeking help... or another nurse who started to drink heavily secondary to a weight issue. The board threatens your livelihood when you are already down
  10. by   woody62
    Quote from letina
    But what if a nurse was taking something like Percocet or Vicodin (prescribed by a physician) say for example back pain.......and if they couldn't take the meds while working, they might in a sense be 'impaired' because they are in pain....how would that work?
    If a nurse takes a narcotic, while working, she/he is violating their NPA. One cannot work under the influence of a narcotic. You can't even drive while taking a narcotic. But there are people who drive, who work, and are not caught. But let's say a nurse takes a perocet at work and then makes a mistake that places her patient in a compromised position. Whose fault is it then? Can the nurse excuse her mistake by saying that the pain would interfere with her ability to function at work? And therefore she had to take the perocet in order to work.

    Woody
  11. by   woody62
    Quote from teeituptom
    All nurse and doctors should have routine testing done. Im all for it
    But I only suggested that nurses be tested. Doctors would never agree. But of course, you know this don't you? Actually there are nurses and doctors who have to undergo routine testing in order to maintain their positions. And none of them are addicts.

    Woody
  12. by   deehaverrn
    Quote from woody62
    If a nurse takes a narcotic, while working, she/he is violating their NPA. One cannot work under the influence of a narcotic. You can't even drive while taking a narcotic. But there are people who drive, who work, and are not caught. But let's say a nurse takes a perocet at work and then makes a mistake that places her patient in a compromised position. Whose fault is it then? Can the nurse excuse her mistake by saying that the pain would interfere with her ability to function at work? And therefore she had to take the perocet in order to work.

    Woody
    I can appreciate the thought here, however some states don't completely bar narcotics use in their NPA. Then what happens (at least when it is worker's compensation and the insurance companies are completely in charge) is that the doctors clear you to work..and you then have to either work or be fired. Right now they are trying to get me to the point where my back is not hurting but I am able to work. I'm up to 40mg of Kadian given twice a day right now. Its not controlling the pain and it makes me feel nauseated, achy, a little dizzy and extremely fatigued. Part of this could be also that I am unable to sleep through the night. Last night I slept from 12-2, then awake all morning until fell asleep again at 12 until 3, now still awake and gave up on sleeping for a little while. (Its depressing to lie in bed just trying to sleep but in a pain..especially when I feel soooo exhausted). My pain management doc feels that it is just taking a little longer than usual for me to be able to tolerate the medication. When I express my concerns with the idea of driving or working he brushes it off and says he has many pts on narcotics who are docs and nurses. I know that he will shortly clear me to work too. I've checked with my state board and they say it is up to me to decide whether I'm competant. My hospital says that they have no policies against it. My nurse manager says that if my doctor clears me to work she will assign me accordingly. I seem to be the only one who thinks that it is unreasonable...but I really do need the income so what exactly am I supposed to do? Right now I can't even go out of the room to get something and remember what I was looking for!! Anyway, I just keep hoping it will work out. I do think that the pain also made it difficult for me to concentrate and do my job. At this point, my pain has worsened to the point where I simply could not work with it. I have actually broken down and cried in patient rooms and while charting, I've had to call my family to drive me home because I was in so much pain that I could simply not do it on my own. Despite that, my previous doctor wanted to increase my hours and decrease my restrictions. He also couldn't understand why I didn't just take my Vicodin while at work. In fact, he acted like I was just malingering by not doing so since that meant my pain was unbearable after only a few hours of work. It would really help if the whole system was actually fair. If I do end up going back while I still am "impaired", I plan to make sure my argument is clearly on record (when I have read some of my old doctor and treatment records I am appalled at how inaccurate they are). I'll try to be assigned to nonpatient care but I doubt it. I will meet with our Nurse Executive and Human Resource Vice President (hopefully) and finally write to JCAHO and the Health Dept. I really don't want to have to do the final step and even moreso I don't want to have to involve the state board. I've written to them anonymously and their response was that they don't have a rule against it..but that if they have a complaint they will investigate. The thing is..I don't want to lose my license either..then the WC will probably make me work as a clerk or something with less salary. Its so extremely depressing and frustrating!
  13. by   time4meRN
    Quote from woody62
    Let me explain a few things to you about patient education (this is not directly related to this thread but it is). How much a patient retains, how much their family and others want to help or impede them, it varies from person to person. A person may want to follow their diet, while a diabetic, and take their medications but for some reason, their spouse does not want to help them. One of the major problems I have with my peers is that they love to believe that everyone should learn everything when they teach them. And with this imparted wisdom, they should never blacken their doorway again. Tell me, did you learn everything that was taught to you the very first time? Or did it take several attempts before you grasp the principle? Some things I learned the very first time I was taught. But there were other things that took some more education. And I know my own I.Q. And it is above normal range. But if you based your assesment on spelling, I would be rated a dummie. I can't spell worth a darn.

    Woody
    You don't need to explain anything about pt education to me. I think you have seen the Dx of diabetes in my post and took it personally. It was just an example. And once again , you have restated my point of why adicts are like any other pt. Not saying they don't need to take responsibility for the addiction and I'm not saying they are easy to care for,,, , just saying their may be reasons that they have become addicted in the first place. It doesn't mean they are week or stupid, just means for some reason they feel to get through life they need to hide the pain. Same as with any other pt I care for be it diabetes, crf, copd etc.....there by the grace of God go I. And another saying , never say never: for any disease. You mention your problems with diabetes and your family. Imagine living with an abusive spouse that uses meth in front of you when your trying to remain clean, or a teen that have mom and dad that drink in front of them when they just go a dui. It's the same thing. You say with what appears to be some frustration, that do I think pt's learn everything when we teach them, no....I don't and this goes for any disease entitiy including addiction. Of course I didn't learn everthing the first time... Which once again backs up my original post.

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Impaired Nurses