Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 13

I work with a nurse who I suspect is using drugs, and I think she is stealing them from the facility. Of those of you that have encountered this problem, what were the signs and symptoms? Thanks.... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    A NOTE FROM YOUR FRIENDLY MODERATOR Please note that several posts have been moved off and several posts edited. Don't let this bother you as it's for the good of the entire thread. Thanks.

    We would like to not make this topic personal by talking about each other and making presumptions about each other. Please stick to the topic at hand.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 1, '07
  2. by   Tweety
    Quote from burn out
    I am not the one with the problem...the drug addict is. I divorced my husband over his drug problems and have never seen him since and he didn't mind if he took me down with him either. I certainly don't want to work with that kind of person. He lied to cover up his problem like I am sure most addicts do so how are we to ever trust them again? Then they play the poor me card , I have so many problems or I have so much pain but when confronted with tough love or the truth or worse yet they get their fix, there is no living with them they turn into some kind of monster. I have seen the pain med seekers in the ER come in for a fix, when you tell them they can't have the medicine until the doctor sees them oh how they suffer but the minute they get their fix out the door treating you like a piece of trash cussing and cursing leaving AMA. I bet if these addicted nurses saw themselves in their times of need they wouldn't want to take care of themselves. i am so sick of the deaths that drugs have caused, the teen overdoses that died just this year at my childrens school. Yes I am sick of drug addicts and their self inflicted problems. I don't want to treat them at the nurses station as well as the bedside.Give me a break. Poor woe me.

    Drug addicts do indeed bring a lot of their problems on themselves.

    However, I don't see any "woe is me on this thread".

    No one wants to work along side a practicing drug addicted nurse.

    I also would hate for you to judge good RECOVERING nurses based on your nightmarish experience with one person or your drug seeking patients.


    As Leslie states, it's a bit hard not to. I left my ex-spouse because of relapsing alcoholism. No one held a gun to his head and told him to relapse time and time again. He made that choice, the same as a drug addicted nurse makes the choice one day to illegally take a drug.

    However, a nurse that steps up to the plate, or is forced up to the plate, and says "I have a problem and I need help" deserves our understanding and compassion, and our help. If they indeed enter into recovery under strict guidelines, I'm all for working beside them and giving them a chance.

    That's just me. I certainly respect your right to your thoughts and I challenge others to allow you to have your opinion as well.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 2, '07
  3. by   zoo4uRN
    Hi Ed-

    Hang in there and don't get discouraged in the process, it will get better. I'm a bit confused as to why the BON would be asking you to pay a $1000.00 fine now? Did they say what the fine is for? I'm assuming they have reviewed your LPN and court records, so they are aware of what transpired previously.

    Debbie


    Quote from edchunt
    Wonder what what would happen if all nurses were drug tested right now? Just a thought. I was reading these posts and thought I would tell my story. I have been an LPN for four years now. I started out on probation because I had a third DUI in 2000. I don't drink or use anything now. I have been sober for three yeaes and one month now, not a drop ever. I went through the probation with the LPN board, satisfied everything with the courts did my time had counseling and satisfied all stipulations. It was tough to get a job with the background, the state mental facility was the only ones understanding to give me some work. I worked for them while on probation two different imes, they hired me on permanent and I was able to finish out my probation while employed there. I was in the middle of an RN program that I just graduated from in May. My LPN license is unencumbered and current, free and clear. Since submitting application to test for RN, back in May I have watched my classmates take their tests and work as RNs. The RN board is placing my license on monitoring for one year with random drug screens and a $1,000 dollar fine along with alcohol education. I still haven't been issued a temp license. So I know what it's like to go through the recovery an the answer no to job apps because I was on probation and all the red tape. While I realize and do agree with discipline for prior convictions. I do wonder why I should have to do it twice. I wonder why it is taking so long to process the paperwork, but I do realize it is the state board and will take months. In the meantime the state mental hospital is wanting me to come back to work, they think I did a good job and they can't wait to get me back. I can't go to work as an RN till the BON is done bumbling with the paperwork. They have already told me that I have been approved to test, but no temp license yet. I can go to work as an LPN without stipulations, but I am waiting to pay a $1,000 fine and be monitored as an RN. I'm just glad the mental hospital believed in me and give me a chance. And by the way the rehab has worked for me and made me a stronger person. These things happened prior to me going to LPN school, I worked them out and about to pay double when the RN license comes through. I just thought this would be a good place to share this.
  4. by   zoo4uRN
    Hi Burn Out-

    Thanks for sharing your experience (truly). Living with a practicing addict/alcoholic is it's own private hell. Good for you for putting your foot down, and getting out when you knew he wasn't going to change. I have seen too many folks stay alot longer than they should have, hoping against hope that things would change. Being manipulated and lied to hurts. You have every right to be angry.......who wouldn't be? There is no justification for his behavior-absolutely none. I'm sorry that it happened to you, and I wish you peace and happiness in the days ahead.

    Debbie


    Quote from burn out
    I am not the one with the problem...the drug addict is. I divorced my husband over his drug problems and have never seen him since and he didn't mind if he took me down with him either. I certainly don't want to work with that kind of person. He lied to cover up his problem like I am sure most addicts do so how are we to ever trust them again? Then they play the poor me card , I have so many problems or I have so much pain but when confronted with tough love or the truth or worse yet they get their fix, there is no living with them they turn into some kind of monster. I have seen the pain med seekers in the ER come in for a fix, when you tell them they can't have the medicine until the doctor sees them oh how they suffer but the minute they get their fix out the door treating you like a piece of trash cussing and cursing leaving AMA. I bet if these addicted nurses saw themselves in their times of need they wouldn't want to take care of themselves. i am so sick of the deaths that drugs have caused, the teen overdoses that died just this year at my childrens school. Yes I am sick of drug addicts and their self inflicted problems. I don't want to treat them at the nurses station as well as the bedside.Give me a break. Poor woe me.
  5. by   burn out
    Quote from Tweety
    Drug addicts do indeed bring a lot of their problems on themselves.

    However, I don't see any "woe is me on this thread".

    No one wants to work along side a practicing drug addicted nurse.

    I also would hate for you to judge good RECOVERING nurses based on your nightmarish experience with one person or your drug seeking patients.


    As Leslie states, it's a bit hard not to. I left my ex-spouse because of relapsing alcoholism. No one held a gun to his head and told him to relapse time and time again. He made that choice, the same as a drug addicted nurse makes the choice one day to illegally take a drug.

    However, a nurse that steps up to the plate, or is forced up to the plate, and says "I have a problem and I need help" deserves our understanding and compassion, and our help. If they indeed enter into recovery under strict guidelines, I'm all for working beside them and giving them a chance.

    That's just me. I certainly respect your right to your thoughts and I challenge others to allow you to have your opinion as well.

    I am not so cold hearted to say that drug addicted nurses don't need help. I am saying that once they do come up to the plate and say "I have a problem" or they get caught then they become a patient in need of rehab and can no longer effectively fill the role of nurse. They have to save themselves before they can be of any help to others .
    They can not be the nurse and the patient at the same time, it is not fair to that nurse or the patients she is in charge of taking care of.
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from burn out
    I am not so cold hearted to say that drug addicted nurses don't need help. I am saying that once they do come up to the plate and say "I have a problem" or they get caught then they become a patient in need of rehab and can no longer effectively fill the role of nurse. They have to save themselves before they can be of any help to others .
    They can not be the nurse and the patient at the same time, it is not fair to that nurse or the patients she is in charge of taking care of.
    I really wasn't saying you stated that they don't need help. I also agree that a nurse can't be a nurse and patient at the same time. Makes sense.

    Answer me this: is there a point when you feel that they can become a nurse again?
  7. by   Cattitude
    Quote from Tweety
    I really wasn't saying you stated that they don't need help. I also agree that a nurse can't be a nurse and patient at the same time. Makes sense.
    Well in some ways you're both wrong. I'm a nurse AND a patient. Yep, I am deemed fit to practice nursing and yet I am still in ongoing treatment for my addiction. See treatment doesn't stop just because you're clean. I am still being treated by an MD and I participate in group therapy as well. There is no way my Doc or group facilitator or BON would have me working if I wasn't fit and ready to work. I have proved myself to them.

    So I am still considered a "patient" in treatment.

    And there are many other patients in there with me that are also working RN's. Hmmmmm. Is that an oxymoron?
  8. by   Cattitude
    Quote from edchunt
    Wonder what what would happen if all nurses were drug tested right now? Just a thought..

    Good question and what a scary thought at the answer!!!

    Glad you shared your story and I hope that everything works out soon!!! Welcome!!!
  9. by   BlessedRoseRN
    Quote from easttexasnurse31
    I just wanted to share with you all a quote from a newsletter from TPAPN (Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses), that is Texas' program for recovering nurses. There are some suprising statistics, and I quote:

    "At press time 679 nurses were either enrolled or pending enrollment in TPAPN. Each of our five case managers received on average 3 new cases daialy. Monday through Friday. During the Board of Nurses Examiner's 2006 fiscal year, a total of 133 RNs and LVNs successfully completed TPAPN. We congratulate every nurse participating, and those who have already graduated, for it takes tremendous sacrifice and discipline to maintain recovery and to succeed in TPAPN."

    Now, if you do the math... that means that wayyyy more nurses are being referred and in the program than are graduating. So, it is a VERY strict program to follow. These nurses are not given the easy way out, by far.

    I would just like to hear everyone's comments on this.

    Do u know where I can get more statistics on the impaired nurse, I'm doing a paper on it and it's sort of hard. Thanks
  10. by   subee
    Quote from 1prettygirl
    Do u know where I can get more statistics on the impaired nurse, I'm doing a paper on it and it's sort of hard. Thanks
    Google it. There's a lot of data out there. This isn't doable in five minutes, however.
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from Cattitude
    Well in some ways you're both wrong. I'm a nurse AND a patient. Yep, I am deemed fit to practice nursing and yet I am still in ongoing treatment for my addiction. See treatment doesn't stop just because you're clean. I am still being treated by an MD and I participate in group therapy as well. There is no way my Doc or group facilitator or BON would have me working if I wasn't fit and ready to work. I have proved myself to them.

    So I am still considered a "patient" in treatment.

    And there are many other patients in there with me that are also working RN's. Hmmmmm. Is that an oxymoron?
    You know I was thinking the same thing as I was posting. Nurse's in the IPN here in Florida sometimes have 5 year contracts where they are dropping urine and attending group therapy, but yet work.

    I was also thinking that recovery should always be an ongoing process that never ends, since one is never "cured".

    Thanks for that clarification.

    I'm more thinking of the acute phase, freshly detoxing, getting evaluated. There's a time there where I think the nurse should be removed from practice until he/she is evaluated.
  12. by   Tweety
    Quote from 1prettygirl
    Do u know where I can get more statistics on the impaired nurse, I'm doing a paper on it and it's sort of hard. Thanks
    I did a teaching project for my RN to BSN program on impaired nurses. Try your school's online library of nursing journals. I found plenty of information using OVID.

    I used only three references.

    Dunn, D. (2005). Substance abuse among nurses - Defining the issue. AORN Online, 82(4), 572-596. Retrieved April 19, 2006, from The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses Web Site: http://gateway.ut.ovid.com/gw2/ovidweb.cgi?New+Database=Single|1&S=IDNJHKOAGFFKGN 00.

    Smith, L., & Tonda, H. (1996). When a chemically dependent colleague returns to work [Electronic version]. American Journal of Nursing, 96(2), 32-37.

    Trossman, S. (2003). Nursing & addictions: Finding alternatives to discipline. American Journal of Nursing, 103(9). Retrieved April 22, 2006, from The American Nurses Association Web Site: http://www.nursingworld.org/AJN/2003/sept/issues.htm.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 2, '07
  13. by   vickynurse
    Quote from 1prettygirl
    Do u know where I can get more statistics on the impaired nurse, I'm doing a paper on it and it's sort of hard. Thanks
    Your college librarian can help you learn to navigate the online references.

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