Impaired Nurses

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    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. Should nurses that have a problem be allowed back into the work place after they have received help? What if they have a relapse?
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    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.
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    In my experience, working with a nurse who was in a similar program, the programs are comprehensive enough, and safe enough, that I felt fine working with her while she was still in recovery, and the vast majority of my colleagues felt the same.

    I will add that, as far as I am aware, she never worked impaired, nor did she ever divert at work.

    There are a lot of safeguards built into these programs to closely monitor the nurse and help avoid relapse. The nurse in question was restricted from working nights (partly due to decreased opportunity for supervison, but mostly because it had been identified as a significant stressor for her), from being charge, and from dispensing narcs for a year. She had to attend NA meetings and have weekly random urine tests. She complied with all the requirements with the support of other staff, and successfully "graduated" a little over a year later.
  7. 0
    *I think they could have picked a better name*
  8. 1
    In PA, the Professional Health Monitoring Programs (PHMP) has a
    Voluntary Recovery Program which offers confidential, voluntary treatment and monitoring of licensed professionals suffering from mental or physical impairments.
    1-800-554-3428 (in Pennsylvania) or 717-783-4857

    http://www.dos.state.pa.us/bpoa/programs&policies.html
    Trondheim likes this.
  9. 0
    Most states' Boards of Nursing have a similar program so that the impaired nurse who is motivated to change can go through recovery and be able to continue on in her career. In Minnesota, the program is also for other health care professionals (doctors, pharmacists, etc.) and has been quite successful in returning the impaired worker to positions where they can continue to work. The relapse rate has been much lower than the general population for these health care professionals; and the safeguards to help prevent relapses are put in place for each individual. It is a fairly expensive part of the licensing Boards' programs; but when you consider the success rates and the difference it makes in those peoples' lives, it seems to be worth it.

    The person who goes through this has to be motivated to do it; and is closely monitored for a period of time afterwards. I've known 2 nurses who did go through the program and have been quite successful with both their recoveries and in their careers; I've also known 2 nurses who are no longer nurses because they denied their problems (and have no idea what has happened to them over the years since then).
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    Isn't that sad to see that Jenny? After all the hard work put into their career and they let it go due to denial of an addiction. And when there's help available too...too sad.

    Oh and sorry shouldn't throw out initials....Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses....TPAPN.
  11. 0
    tpapn sucks
  12. 0
    Originally posted by Cindy/Canada
    *I think they could have picked a better name*
    I agree. When I saw "impaired nurse" I clicked on it because I thought it meant the nurse in the predicament I'm in. I am physically impaired at the moment and thought this was about options for nurses who are physically unable to do total bedside care. I thought this term referred to other options for the "impaired nurse."
    It should be specific-called "chemically impaired nurse." Call a spade a spade.
  13. 0
    Originally posted by HYDEECAT
    tpapn sucks
    That's a pretty broad statement. Care to elaborate? Are you speaking as someone who was in the program or saw its graduates?


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