My deceptive ways finally caught up to me..................now what
- 0Apr 10, '12 by monique0810Hi, I am an LVN about a year away from becoming an RN or so I thought. I have a history of prescription drug abuse and about 6 years ago I was charged with theft by taking and obtaining a prescription by fraud/theft/deception. I entered a program where I had to do community service, pay a fine and 6 months of probation and then after that I was told the charges would be dropped. Honestly while I was doing all of this, I was still using. I should also say at the time I was enrolled in a program through the BON. I stayed in the program long enough to prove to the DA that I was already receiving treatment, which is why I only had to do community service and pay a fine, then I moved to another state and began working without any restrictions, hence the deception. I have been living here for four years now and thankfully one day I finally had enough to really get clean and sober, I have been clean for 2 years now. So today my friend calls and told me that she saw my name in the nursing board newsletter under disciplinary action, it says revoked. What happened was that PA, my old home notified TX, my new home that I had been charged and never followed through with the program so they revoked my license in PA. TX said they notified me of a hearing a couple months ago and since I never attended my license was revoked by default. They also said that I lied on my application for a TX license when I was asked about any history of drug abuse and any charges. My question is what do I do now? My first thought was that it was finally time to pay the piper, but now I'm feeling like the punishment seems overdue. Any advice?
- 2Apr 10, '12 by KaseyJoI'm probably not the best person to be giving advice because I have many of my own issues...but, in my situation, I found that being honest was my best and only choice. While it meant that my punishment was likely to be more severe and lengthy, I knew that I couldn't be deceptive anymore....in any areas of my life. I want to start clean and that's what I'm currently trying to do. I had many people tell me to deny my actions but I knew that if I did that, my problem would only continue and most definitely become worse. Yes, the punishment may seem overdue in your situation, but I have a feeling that until your debt is paid, the problem will not go away. That being said, I think it's very important for you to emphasize your sobriety and the work you've done to maintain your sobriety. Will they allow you to re-enroll in a program again? I would look into that if I were you. Again, I have problems of my own....and while our stories are different, our issues are similar. And I know that for me, being honest, especially with myself, has been the only option for me to start my new life. Best of luck to you. I will keep you in my thoughts.
- 1Apr 10, '12 by zigzagkate78I'm new to the site and I'm sharing my story in hopes that it is helpful to the numerous other nurses who struggle with substance abuse issues.A little more than 5 years ago now, my mother(also an RN) confronted me after she found a syringe of mine that I had hid but forgot about it. She gave me an ultimatum, either I could turn myself in to the Oregon State Board of Nursing or she would turn me in. This was honestly one of the best days of my life because I would never have stopped on my own and my misery would likely have continued for a very long time and may have been even more devastating to myself and likely would have resulted in harming my patients.I called both the state board and my employer and confessed that I had been stealing narcotics from my workplace. I am still amazed at the grace that was afforded to me. I was given a second chance and I was able to keep my RN lisence and my employment with the company, with restrictions of course.I have continued to struggle, abusing cough syrup and post operative medications off and on over the last 5 years. I know now that I must put my recovery first, over everything.At first I was focused on my recovery, attending 12 step meetings and really getting a lot out of it.I soon developed a relationship with a fellow recovering addict and my focus turned to trying to fix him. Obviously this kept me sick for a long time.Later, after tiring of that useless venture, I turned to my work and poured my heart and soul into my job. Unfortunately I never focused on taking care of myself, learning about myself and why I do what I continue to do and learning who I truly am and loving myself.I have maintained compliance with my nurse monitoring program and I elevated my performance at work, helping to develop a lead position for the work I was doing already and became an advocate and leader for the nurses in my department. After becoming fairly vocal and attempting to school the management in the wrongs of thierry ways, the management produced a very difficult environment for me and many other nurses.Eventually it was too much for me, I became extremely anxious and depressed. I had essentially turned to my work as an addiction and I was experiencing severe grief from loss of identity.What have I learned?I must get back to my recovery full time.I left my job and have been taking time away.I have developed an attitude of gratitude. I'm treating the loss of this "work high" as an opportunity. I can let go of that as my identity and focus on recovery and gaining balance in my life so I don't put myself in these positions again.I will be a wonderful nurse in whatever job I choose next. I will be able to shift my nursing career and find something maybe I like more and learn something new. I also think I will start back to school to get my Bachelors degree.I hope this is helpful to someone who is going through difficult times.Take this as an opportunity to take care of yourself, get the help you need and come out the otherwise with new knowledge and love for yourself.WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HELL -- KEEP GOING!!!
- 4Apr 11, '12 by catmom1, BSN, RNI am all for honesty and am convinced it is essential for any kind of meaningful recovery from addiction. However---I do NOT recommend spilling your guts to the board of nursing without consulting an attorney first. When I got in trouble years ago, I foolishly thought that if I just admitted what I had done I would get "help," whatever that meant. How sadly naive that was! All I really got was severe punishment.
Any real help I got for addiction issues was in spite of, not because of the consequences I caused myself with my board of nursing. That being said, I do live in one of the most punitive states with regard to addiction, with no alternative to discipline program, so maybe your state will be more humane. Mine sure wasn't.
Be honest with your sponsor and therapist (assuming you have confidentiality--I did not at the time), but be very careful with the board of nursing. They are there to protect the public, not to be your friend.
- 3Apr 12, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorI agree: do not talk to the BON without talking to a lawyer first, preferably one who specializes in working with nurses and BONs. Jackstem once posted a link about where to find such a lawyer...I'll have to see if I can find the link if he doesn't wander in here.
Taking the step of getting a lawyer doesn't mean you're being dishonest or going to be dishonest with anyone. Not at all. But you need to protect yourself because essentially, the BON couldn't give a rat's rear about you and your recovery. They want to keep the public safe, and they'll do whatever they think it takes to achieve that...even if it means putting an end to your nursing career. You need to have someone on your side, looking out for you first and foremost.
Maybe some BONs are more benevolent to impaired nurses than other BONs. But even if you were going in front of the kindest, most sympathetic and understanding BON out there (and once I find out where it is, I'm moving to that state)...I still wouldn't talk to them without a lawyer.
And above all...keep putting your recovery first, even ahead of this.
Best of luck.
- 2Apr 13, '12 by diva rnI agree, please talk to an attorney who specializes in BON issues.
The thing that will go against you the most, is the perception of running and hiding in another state.
and, yes, you did lie on the Texas application if you did not disclose.
The BONs are very good about recognizing that addiction is a disease and in many states offer an alternative program.
They are not good with deception, and of working in another state when ones license has sanctions against it (from the other state).
I have sat through several Board hearings in two different states. This was an issue they did not take lightly.
So, please retain an attorney, and then be HONEST in every aspect.
But a question that begs to be answered is WHY didn't you attend the Texas hearing? or at least respond to it?
Suspension is one thing, but Revocation is another. From what I have seen, it's forever.
- 2Apr 13, '12 by Eric CartmanI agree with all of the above. Honesty is a great idea, but consult a lawyer first before talking to the BON. You could seriously complicate your situation without consulting legal advice.
By the way, congrats on staying clean for 2 years monique0810 . Everyday without using is awesome. Non-alcoholics/ addicts do not understand how hard it is to kick the habit and continually stay clean/ sober, day after day, one day at a time.
- 0Apr 15, '12 by catmom1, BSN, RNQuote from diva rnAs I am sure I have mentioned elsewhere, my state has no alternative to discipline and is only good at believing that addiction is an incurable disease that makes those who have it never to be trusted again. This is definitely a place where the disease model works against nurses with these issues. From what I have heard, at least in criminal proceedings, a person can reform, with certain BON's you are never off the hook until your last breath.
The BONs are very good about recognizing that addiction is a disease and in many states offer an alternative program....
Suspension is one thing, but Revocation is another. From what I have seen, it's forever.
That being said, I know of a couple of people with revoked licenses who applied for reinstatement, which is allowed in my state 2 years after the revocation. I have not heard of someone successfully getting their license back after revocation, however. One RN I knew just continued to relapse and to this day has no nursing license.
- 2May 27, '12 by jackstemYou can find a nurse attorney by contacting The American Association of Nurse Attorneys at www.taana.org.
Since you are dealing with 2 state boards things will be a bit more complicated. Remember, you have specific rights and you need someone to help make sure yours are protected. An administrative law specialist with EXPERIENCE dealing with the board of nursing in your state of licensure is what you're looking for, not just any old (or young) lawyer. Uncle Charlie who does a little of this and a little of that isn't the person to trust your career with.