Venting about BON involvement in DUI - page 3

by Nursing NCO

:banghead:I am writing this because I am irritated that in the nursing field if you receive a DUI during your off duty time it can (and usually will) seriously affect your career. I have a colleague who has been nursing for over... Read More


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    So am I getting this right? Do many of you believe that if someone has a lapse of judgement in a non-work related environment, it should effect what could possibly be a perfect record of patient care? I know a DUI is bad, but for many it is a mistake. The levels that most states use for a DUI are below what most people would even feel a buzz. If you have ever had one glass of wine and drove home from a resturant you could be considered in this area. If you even have a trace of alcohol in your system (below the legal limit) you can be arrested for being a less than safe driver. If you have a prescription for xanax or a similar type medication beware.. if they give you a blood test and that medication is detected in your system you can recieve a DUI. It is my thought that many people drive around in a possible DUI status and do not know it.. the laws are stricter than you would think and MUCH easier to cross the line than you would guess unless you have been in that situation before you just might think you are making safe decisions. Regardless, it is in my humble opinion that if you have earned the title RN.. it should not be taken away by an off duty mistake. Our country is ran by people that have broken these rules time and time again.. and they are still working or in office.. why should we be held up to a level that our own elected officals are not held to? I can understand being more harsh on someone that has multiple DUI's, but an automatic judgement / sentence that denies your ability to work and support yourself and family.. thats too much in my opinion. I mean where does it stop, if you bounce a check... well that shows you are not keeping good records and show poor judgement.. should your license be pulled for that? NO!!! You can not correlate a lack of judgement with someones skills, job knowledge, or work ethics. Everyone makes mistakes, just because you believe that their mistake is worse than your's does not put you in a place where you can pass judgement.. If you believe the world is black and white, then any mistake is a punishable mistake and should effect all aspects of life.. Lets kick every single college kid out of school if they have ever drank underage, lets ban every person that has ever bounced a check or gone over their limit from having access to banking or credit cards because they made a mistake and are now deemed incompetient and untrustworthy, while we are at it lets ban anyone that has ever lied or told less than the truth from talking or interacting with others because they have failed us.. So come on who is with me.. lets start the book burnings and witch hunts now!!!

    Basically I'm saying that anyone can make a mistake. Some are blantant disregard for the law and some are lapse of judgement.. each case is different and one blanket policy is not a good fit. Each state has lined up harsh punishment for DUI drivers and rightfully so. Are we so high and mighty that the state punishments are not enough so we must deliver it ourselves? Why; and to what good? If you made a mistake on your taxes.. Do you expect the IRS to handle it or the BON? Both are crimes that our legal system are designed to handle.
    Why should one effect your job and the other not?
    Last edit by sdholtz on May 13, '09 : Reason: typo
    nickos, lwalk1963, GrumpyRN63, and 2 others like this.
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    If you have one drink and get into a car which you are the driver then you are DUI. You are breaking the law. What we do in our non-work environment oftentimes will determine our character. In areas of alcohol and drug use it can and usually does affect our professional lifes.

    When you applied for you license do you not recall the questions about alcohol and/or drug use. I would not want someone who has been arrested for drug and alcohol abuse taking care of me or any member of my family without intervention and being monitored. I have had drunks as patients and it is not a good experience. Out of all the patient's that I have cared for the past 20 years, it is the ones that drink and drive that I have not had one shred of sympathy for. People who drink and drunk seem to only hurt those who are innocence. In my opinion and experience with the subject DUI's never hurt themselves physically to any lasting degree, but they do kill others.

    I do not know how other BON handlers the nurse who is has been impaired? But Alabama takes it very seriously. I have knowledge of this because of my daughter who is an RN. In 2005 she came to the end of a bad time in her life. She was abusing Xanax. She drove to work with it in her system and worked while using it. In January 2005 during a period of 4 weeks, she properly disposed of a lousy husband and she was reported to the BON for being impaired, plus terminated.

    I make no excuses for her and we her family do not let her make excuses for her lack of judgement while in her non-work related environment or in the workplace. She put her well-being as well as her patient's in jeopardy. She has had to jump through many hoops with her family and the BON for her lack of good judgement.

    She had to attend out-patient rehab, 2 days a week for 6 months at her expense. She has to make 3 meetings a week with Narcotics Anonymous, send a monthly report to the board, anytime she sees a physician or dentist she has to make a note for her montly update, let the board know of any medication she takes and at her own expense has to make a daily phone call to see if she was selected that day for drug testing. That's $74 a pop. Her employer has to be aware of her restrictions and they too have to send a monthly report about her job performance. I won't even begin to list the amount of fines she had to pay to the BON. When she finally found an employer who would give her the opportunity to work she could not give meds for the first 6 months and cannot supervise anytime during her probation period. The only place that would hire her was because the supervisor herself had gone through the program and gave her a chance.

    Here she is 4 years later doing great with another year to go. She has done well and took responsibility for herself and her actions. Because she did not have a job the cost of the things she had to do were financially a hardship and if not for her family she would never had be able to pay the cost of the programs, requirements and fines.

    You want to compare DUI with dishonest elected officials, cheating on taxes, etc. Agreed this is in bad character, but their actions do not involve being an advocate for people who we care for. You also use the "well they did it too, so why should I be treated differently?" Apples and oranges. You do not say that you would arrested for DUI. If it was you or someone you know than take responsibility for the lack of judgement and stop trying to find excuses for the actions and why you should not be held accountable.
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    I am a VERY firm believer that you either don't drink, or you make sure someone who hasn't been drinking will be the one behind the wheel. I told my own husband that if I ever even suspected he was "drinking and driving" that I would call the police myself, as I would rather know he was in jail than in a ditch or possibly harming someone's family. I have children of my own, and I would be livid if someone willfully chose to put their lives at risk because they were "on their own time".

    Everyone knows that you just don't do that, ESPECIALLY a medical professional.
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    If a person makes errors in judgment that could harm themselves as well as others, why would you think they would be less likely to make errors in judgment that would only harm others? Substance abuse and chemical dependence target the areas of the brain involved in learning, motivation, and decision making. These effects don't improve these abilities, they suppress these abilities. Over time, these changes can become more pronounced until the line between substance abuse and addiction is crossed. Once that happens, the brain will never return to it's original state.

    As health care providers, we are taught to recognize early signs and symptoms of potentially lethal diseases like cancer, heart disease, and others. We all know the earlier we treat a disease, the better the chance of cure or remission. If it's a disease that can't be cured (diabetes), we know early recognition and intervention coupled with stringent control of blood sugar with proper diet, exercise, and frequent testing and administration of insulin provides the best chance for a relatively normal life span with fewer complications and hospitalizations. Yet we don't do that with addiction.

    We wait until the signs can no longer be ignored or a "near miss" like a DUI, an accident, criminal behavior, domestic violence, or an accidental overdose happens. Then we send them to treatment that isn't long enough or intense enough (if at all), with poor follow up and little monitoring. Then we're shocked when they relapse.

    It's time to stop approaching this disease emotionally and start treating it scientifically. A DUI is often one of the earliest signs of a possible chronic and potentially fatal disease. If we tell patients to see their physicians for assessment of early signs of other potential diseases, why do we willingly ignore early signs of this potentially deadly disease? Health care professionals aren't immune to substance abuse and addiction. Our training provides no protection from this disease or any other.

    What we do in our private lives is a more accurate reflection of who we are than anything we do when others are watching.

    Is everyone who receives a DUI an alcoholic/addict? No. But it is a sign/symptom that warrants further assessment, just like a cough that won't go away, bloody urine, a mole that doesn't look right, etc. We have to remember the first DUI can be as fatal as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th........

    The board of nursing is charged with protecting the public from incompetent or impaired nurses. A DUI is most definitely something that needs to be taken seriously, and a board of nursing that does nothing when they become aware of a nurse with a condition that may impair their ability to practice safely isn't doing their job.

    Jack
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    Ok oK.. I see your point.. I will admit yes I have a dui.. but in contrast to your stories I guess I see it from a different point.. yes it can be bad but not always.. In absolute honesty I went to a birthday party, had 3 drinks and was caught at an ID check.. I had not drank anything for 2.5 years plus.. I am not a drinker but I did on that night.. was weary of driving, but felt no buzz.. I thought I was ok.. I served in the military for 11 years I know alcohol abuse (I thought when I see it). Maybe Not.. but should we strangle each other when it is the only form our own media promotes as ok.. everyone is not an alcoholic that needs intervention, some just made a one time mistake.. guess I am on the one time mistake group.. I have not drank before or after for over a year.. each way but it has killed my life... no one was hurt.. just an id check.. I'm not saying it can't indicate a deeper problem.. but a blakent policy isnt right.. yes it's wrong, yes I agree with you.. but not all cases are the same.
    zofran and Magsulfate like this.
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    Quote from sdholtz
    Ok oK.. I will admit yes I have a dui.. had 3 drinks and was caught at an ID check.. I had not drank anything for 2.5 years plus..
    no drinks for 2.5 years?...but you got caught that night.

    was weary of driving, but felt no buzz..
    you don't have to be buzzed to be impaired.

    but should we strangle each other when it is the only form our own media promotes as ok..
    The media isn't always right...

    everyone is not an alcoholic that needs intervention
    So very true...

    guess I am on the one time mistake group..
    A very costly one at that don't you think?

    each way but it has killed my life... no one was hurt..
    Well that's not true is it? You have been...you made a very very bad decision, because you broke the law as written..if ya gonna play...ya gotta pay!

    just an id check..
    Just a good ol' fashioned Id check, gee it could have been worse how about "just" a traffic ticket or "just" a fender bender or "just"....."just"....."just"....
    sorry for my sarcasm just my
    Mark
    Last edit by NeedchangeofPace on May 15, '09
    Spidey's mom likes this.
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    just just just.... yeah.. I would have never NEVER have put myself in that situation if I had known where I really was at.. I always thought that drunk driving was the drunk college guy at the bar that could hardly walk.. I DID not know how little in your system could cause that.. I'm not fighting the system, I agree with it but I just feel sorry for me or those that didn't clearly understand the limits and got stung.. If I had felt any ANY alcohol effects on me I would not have driven.. I like I have said before agree that multiple dui's are different from one dui.. ( Did you know that over 65% of guys over 35 have one DUI ) Give someone some room to make a mistake.. are you perfect? at least one mistake.. it can happen and does not show who that person is for life.. yes sometimes it can highlight something.. but not always.. does this determine that someone is not reliable for health care? I do NOT think so.. Can you tell me that you have never EVER made a mistake on any patient... any patient, any diagnosis, anything? Really are you that perfect.. since your first day in health care you have always been correct? If you can't answer yes then do not reply.. I'm not trying to forgive everything, just to understand one moment does not define a person.. it took many moments to get you where you are.. and no single individual one should bring you down.
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    Quote from sdholtz
    I DID not know how little in your system could cause that.. I'm not fighting the system, I agree with it but I just feel sorry for me or those that didn't clearly understand the limits and got stung..
    Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. You wrote the test just like everyone else. You know that drinking and driving is wrong.
    You've been caught once, you won't do it again will you? Then the system works...at least for you.
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    In 1996 my 26 year old sister was left a widow when her husband decided to drive home from a "get together". He killed himself and his best friend in the seat next to him. His friend was unrecognizable.

    My sister was left a widow with a 4 year old little boy and no money because the $200k life insurance policy was denied. He was committing a felony when he died.

    Need I really say any more about my stance on drunk driving.


    I have also made mistakes in my life. I've paid for them. I'll never put myself in that situation again because I have control over what goes in my mouth.. unless someone ties me down and forces alcohol down my throat and the puts a gun to my head and tells me to go driving.. lol I doubt that will happen.

    Life is way too good to get drunk/high. It's fun being sober.
    Last edit by Magsulfate on May 16, '09
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    Can you tell me that you have never EVER made a mistake on any patient... any patient, any diagnosis, anything? Really are you that perfect.. since your first day in health care you have always been correct? If you can't answer yes then do not reply..
    No one is perfect. Not one.

    We've all made mistakes dealing with patients.

    But, the difference here is "making mistakes within the letter of the Law" and "making mistakes secondary to breaking the Law".

    DUI=breaking the Law whether one is cognizant of how the Law is applied to drinking and driving or not. As one member pointed out, "ignorance of the Law is not an excuse".
    caroladybelle, truern, Spidey's mom, and 4 others like this.


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