Starting Nursing school... to disclose or not to disclose? HELP!

  1. Hello everyone...
    I am a straight A student and mother of a 3 year old little girl, who is my reason for wanting to become a nurse.
    I'm almost done with my prereq's for my Associate's program, but now I'm thinking I may have issues being accepted/getting my license... This is why....

    At the end of November of last year (2012) I went to detox for heroin. I used for a month... my grandmother had just died and I had a "friend" who constantly pushed me to do it, I was also very depressed at the time. I went to detox for 4 days and have been doing great ever since with the support of my family, psychiatrist, and therapist. I am currently on suboxone but I want to stop taking it. I get drug tested every month with my therapist, so there's a way to prove my sobriety.

    Some people tell me to keep my mouth shut, but I am afraid. What do I do? I don't want a stupid mistake I made ruin my life. All I want to do is be a nurse, take care of babies in the NICU or work at a Children's hospital. I would NEVER do anything to risk that. I had no idea getting treatment would cause future problems.

    Someone please help me!

  2. Visit jeshicuhx3 profile page

    About jeshicuhx3

    Joined: May '13; Posts: 9


  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Your school's nursing program may want you to submit a health history and urine drug screen, which will test positive for the suboxone if you're still taking it. (Whatever you do, do NOT stop it on your own---you need your therapist and your p-doc in the loop when you do wean off the medication.) That's OK, just be sure to have your prescription bottle with you and tell the collector about it when you test.

    I am concerned about you, however, because you've been 'clean' for a relatively short time. Nursing school is tough, and coming off the suboxone may not even be advisable for a while. Are you certain that it wouldn't be better to start the program in another year or so, when you've had more clean time under your belt and you're more sure of who you are in sobriety? I ask this because I remember my own experiences with early recovery (my drug of choice was alcohol) and how unsure of myself I was the first couple of years.

    Then, and only then, did I feel I was 'safe' enough to enter a nursing program. And I was very honest and asked the program director if the department---and the board of nursing---would have an issue with my history. She said, "If it's no longer a problem for you, it won't be a problem for the school OR the board." But it did help that I had a solid two years sobriety behind me when I started college, and a full five years when I became an RN.

    Bottom line, you need to talk to the powers that be of the nursing program you're planning to attend, tell them your story, and share what you've learned and how you're amending your life so that using illegal drugs won't be an issue in the future. They can better direct you and give you an idea of your chances with the BON.

    Wishing you the best!
  4. by   subee
    Do your research on AN. Getting into school is the easier part. It's the hospitals where you do you clinicals that can cause you some serious heartache if you test positive for opiods on THEIR screens. VivaLasViejas also brings up another equally important point - nursing school would sorely test your sobriety and you are on the bottom of the learning curve now. If your state has an alternative program for chemically addiction, they would be the best resource. If your state doesn't, then I'd contact the BON with your question.
  5. by   jeshicuhx3
    I am planning on coming off suboxone soon.. I am down to 2mg a day. I have been clean since detox and am not worried about slipping. I am confident in myself that I will stay clean. I was only on it for a month.

    I'm not worried about UAs or anything... I'm just worried about my medical history being looked into. I don't want to be judged on a stupid mistake I made... becoming a nurse and making my daughter proud and giving her the life she deserves is too important to me.
    Last edit by jeshicuhx3 on May 24, '13 : Reason: misspelled word
  6. by   carrimarie1010
    It's great to be confident but I fear you're over confident. Recovery is 1 day at a time. I can promise you none of us planned on screwing up our license....It's not just your drug of choice you have to stay away's all of them including alcohol. I doubt the BON will dig into your medical past unless they have reason too. If you slip up while you do have a license you will be in a hot mess for not disclosing your issue.

    Best of luck to you.
  7. by   jeshicuhx3
    I'm not over confident? I know myself, and I have faith in God. I don't drink alcohol, I don't like it.
    Over confident would actually be good for me, considering in the past I have doubted myself many times..
    I'm happier than I have been in a while, so no, I'm not worried. If you knew me, you would know.

    So basically my last question is... so the BON doesn't look into your medical history unless they have a reason? If so, I can relax because I will never, ever give them a reason to doubt my sobriety or competency.

    Thank you all for your advice!

    Last edit by jeshicuhx3 on May 26, '13 : Reason: misspelled word
  8. by   Meriwhen
    IMO, you need at least one year of clean/sober time under your belt before you make or undertake any drastic decisions or changes...and nursing school certainly qualifies as a drastic change! But this is your recovery, and you need to take full responsibility for it--this includes the decisions you make during it.

    Generally BONs do not dig into your medical/psychiatric past unless they have good reason to. I will not advise you on whether to disclose--that is entirely your decision, and you will have to deal with the consequences of however you choose to answer. But to second carrimarie1010, should you relapse--or somehow the BON finds out about your past drug use some other way--you may find yourself in quite the mess with them.

    But again: your recovery, your decision. No one can make these decisions but you.

    Best of luck with nursing school and your continued recovery.
  9. by   jeshicuhx3
    Thank you all so much! I just wanted to know how the whole thing worked from people who've been there... I feel a lot better!!

    My problem is in my past, and I refuse to let it ruin my future! I can think of nothing I'd rather do than be a nurse, and I would never let anything ruin that!

    Again, thank you all so much!!!
  10. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from jeshicuhx3
    Thank you all so much! I just wanted to know how the whole thing worked from people who've been there... I feel a lot better!!

    My problem is in my past, and I refuse to let it ruin my future! I can think of nothing I'd rather do than be a nurse, and I would never let anything ruin that!

    Again, thank you all so much!!!
    Just remember that you always have to put your recovery first, from now until the day you die. If you don't do that, it's nearly impossible to get the rest of your life to fall into place.

    Good luck!
    go to a walk in for your physical? suboxone has to be tested for and doesnt show up as an opiate.. i know for 100% they must test for it in the screen which usually doesn't may not sure. u medical records are confidential and if you dont consent for them for them being disclosed then u will be just fine..from personal experience i wouldnt totally get off the subs..nursing school is very stressful..which can be a trigger.. good luck to you
    Last edit by LPNSWEETHEART on Jul 4, '13 : Reason: misspelling
  12. by   green34
    Nursing school is extremely stressful. Hence why I postponed trying to lose weight.

    Keep in mind you may not get into the nursing program right away. My old school had waiting list of up to five years at one point. They now do a point system where you get judged based on points.
  13. by   TractorGirlRN
    I know this thread is a bit old but I'm new to this forum and was reading past posts.
    All addicts are not the same! I can't stand being all lumped together. What works for some doesn't work for others. I think that if you are confident in what you are doing you will be ok!! Your will is what keeps you sober. If I even think for a second about my DOC I remember all I have lost bc of it and I remember when I thought about ending my life over it before I got clean. I do not take my sobriety for granted. It is hard work. Nursing school is stressful but I think if you are aware of that and make sure you keep your support system aware that you may need some extra help I think you can do it!! Personally I would NOT report your past to anyone! Suboxone does not show up in the normal drug screen. Keep doing what you're doing and just remember all of the reasons why you want to stay sober. You can do it!!
  14. by   whyisthissohard369
    Like advice from lawyers-only answer questions legally asked as on an employment form etc, not just shooting the **** with an instructor or another nurse/student. And why would you tell them anyway?! That info will,WITHOUT A DOUBT, be used against you. The majority of nurses are extremely judgmental and lack all compassion when one of their own is human(like being an alcoholic/addict). And as they say "a nurse's worst enemy is another nurse". Sad but true.Need to know basis and really think it over before you share the ugly. As addicts, a friend rn and I like to laugh and say "we walk amongst you". We"ve both been clean for over 12 years. You can get back to good. Best wishes.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Nov 4, '13 : Reason: TOS/profanity/use of letters and symbols