I just wanted to share some experience, strength, and hope with my fellow nurses in recovery. I am in the DFW area in Texas, currently in TPAPN. I have been clean almost seven months.
It IS possible to find a job! I found my first TPAPN-friendly job through networking with other healthcare professionals in NA, especially my sponsor (who is a nurse, herself, and graduated TPAPN two years ago). It was at a psychiatric hospital in Arlington. I had a number of interviews, and was turned down by most as soon as I uttered the dreaded word TPAPN. But this one place had a lovely DON who was very sympathetic, and she hired me the same day I interviewed.
I had previously worked in an ER at a busy metro hospital, so psych was a big change for me. But I took to it like a duck to water. There were several other TPAPN nurses there, and all of the other nurses were super nice about having to pull/administer my narcs for me. Unfortunately, the nice DON left a few months ago, and the quality of the work environment declined considerably. There were some unsafe staffing situations, and I had to file Safe Harbor on many occasions! I became unhappy and decided to start job hunting again.
I knew the odds were against me, and I interviewed for several sweet jobs that I ended up getting turned down for, despite being well-qualified. We all know why! But, last week, I was offered a position at brand new psychiatric hospital in Fort Worth. This one was not really TPAPN-friendly, as they had to let their last TPAPN nurse go due to not staying clean. But, the DON liked me, and was impressed by my cover letter (never underestimate that cover letter!) and decided to give me a shot.
I think I'm going to be very happy at my new job. I have to work weekends, but it's a small price to pay for a safe job with good benefits. I am very blessed!
If there is one thing I could say helped me in my interviews, it was this: I never guaranteed that I'll never screw up. I just stressed that I'm randomly drug tested at no cost to them and pushed what a benefit that would be. I also didn't go into all the gory details to start. Instead I just told them that I had been caught mishandling narcotics. I was more than happy to give them the (mostly) whole story but they had to ask me first. Also, I tried to exude confidence and value. I wanted them to know they would be getting a great deal, a worthwhile, experienced nurse at a bargain price (not too much of a bargain, though, cause I'm worth a decent wage).
Anyways, I'm starting my new job tomorrow, and I just wanted to share and hopefully provide some encouragement for those who are still searching for employment. It IS possible, and remember, you ARE worth it!