Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 14

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   Magsulfate
    Quote from earle58
    i'll tell you where my skepticism comes into play.

    i have someone in my family who has been a user for most of their adult life, starting in their teen yrs.
    for more than 20 yrs, i have watched this person go to the meetings (even twice/noc), continual contact with their sponsor, therapy, finding God, family involvement/support and abstinence for yrs at a time.

    then relapse.
    sometimes for only a day;
    other times, would start using for months.
    and then the whole process of recovery would start over.

    i know this person is totally focused on recovery.
    but how does one know that they won't use again?

    as much as i love this person, it's hard to trust they won't relapse.
    now, being a nurse, don't you think it is even more dangerous to potentially slip?

    i very much honor those who are committed to their recoveries.
    yet i don't think anyone can honestly say that they'll never go back, even if it is temporary.
    just as anyone else who struggles with other types of addiction....gambling, eating, smoking, etc.
    to say that one will never go back to their old ways, just seems unrealistic.

    any thoughts, input, insight?

    leslie
    I can totally agree with you leslie. For me, it is so hard to explain to you, or any other person who has not been in recovery, (even myself,before I started recovering) ~ how it feels from day to day, and the way my mind works. There are times when I feel like I have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, like you see in cartoons. The angel has always won, SINCE I started recovery. And I think that is because of the things I have learned from my counselors and other addicts. Support plays a big role in recovery, and that is why you see several nurses on here who are recovering, WE NEED SUPPORT. The minute with think we can go it alone, is when we screw up. I didn't realize that either, until I began recovering. A weight was lifted off my shoulders and I almost wanted to cry when I realized I wasn't the only person in the world with my problems.

    I could go on and on about this, but like I said, I can totally understand, and I totally agree where you're coming from.

    On another note, I almost quit coming to this thread because of a few of the previous posts. I'm glad I came back now.
  2. by   Magsulfate
    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.
    I am not going to lie, I have been that monster. I have hurt people I love, and I am ashamed of it. I will never forget it. I am still trying to forgive myself. I don't expect anyone of the people I hurt to ever forgive me. I have gone to them and told them I am sorry for all the things that I did, and that is all I can do. And I am truly sorry. I made this bed, and I have to lay in it. And I am. I am not asking anyone for special favors, I am trying to regain respect and it will take a while. I am honest with myself.

    It seems like you were hurt bad, hopefully that part of your life is over and you have learned a lot from it.
  3. by   Magsulfate
    Quote from 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.
    hehe Tweety is the Po-leese. j/k tweety. lol
  4. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from easttexasnurse31

    On another note, I almost quit coming to this thread because of a few of the previous posts. I'm glad I came back now.
    i'm glad you came back, too.
    ignorance and fear are everywhere; not just here on the bb.
    and 'meeting' those in recovery, has been an inspiring experience for me.
    someone else (??) said that even some non-addicts would benefit from the 12 step program.
    i have to agree.
    but the handful of recoverers that i've met, have shone through with integrity.
    that's always refreshing to see, whether one is in recovery or not.

    and so, i want to thank you guys (you know who you are).
    you've replenished my faith in the human spirit.

    leslie
  5. by   Magsulfate
    Quote from rn/writer
    Actually, it is not the responsibility of the reporting nurse to be certain. That is for the administration folks to handle and even they defer to law enforcement when necessary.

    Any nurse who has a reasonable suspicion should be able to report her concerns to a manager. Concerns are not the same as accusations. They are the starting process in what should be a thorough investigation. And this investigation needs to be done by someone who has the authority to pull the nurse's usage records and look at her charting, etc.

    You're probably saying that we need to be careful about making accusations, and this is true. We should have objective data to report along with good reasons for having suspicions in the first place. One example would be that the questionable nurse's patients consistently complain that they are in pain when you follow her, even though the ADU shows they were given appropriate narcs.

    BUT, it is not the job of any floor nurse to either prove or disprove allegations.

    Be prudent in expressing suspicions. Keep your information objective--stick to what you see and hear directly, not what others report second-hand. (If others have things to report, they should do it themselves.) Keep emotions out of your information. Write down what patients say (and when) so that ADU records can be matched to the statement times. In other words, supply information, not supposition. Then let the higher-ups sort out what it all means.

    If a nurse loses her job over diversion, it is her own fault, not that of the reporting nurse. If she is falsely suspected, a proper investigation should bear that out. Either way, it is the responsibility of the reporting nurse to come up with the questions, not the answers.
    Very good advice! I just wanted to add that a lot of hospitals have a number you can call and give anonymous complaints, sort of like an ethics line. Check with your facility. If reporting to your manager does not work, then call that number.
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from easttexasnurse31
    I am not going to lie, I have been that monster. I have hurt people I love, and I am ashamed of it. I will never forget it. I am still trying to forgive myself. I don't expect anyone of the people I hurt to ever forgive me. I have gone to them and told them I am sorry for all the things that I did, and that is all I can do. And I am truly sorry. I made this bed, and I have to lay in it. And I am. I am not asking anyone for special favors, I am trying to regain respect and it will take a while. I am honest with myself.

    It seems like you were hurt bad, hopefully that part of your life is over and you have learned a lot from it.
    Sounds like someone who is taking responsibility for their actions and doing something about it. You can't rewrite the past, but it certainly doesn't sound like a "woe is me, I'm a poor addict" either. Kudos.
  7. by   Cattitude
    Quote from easttexasnurse31
    On another note, I almost quit coming to this thread because of a few of the previous posts. I'm glad I came back now.
    I'm glad you came back:spin:.

    People have been hurt and it seems that they lash out at other recovering addicts. It happens. This is where we can try and make changes, try and open eyes and hearts and ears. Maybe we can all do some healing here, together.

    All we can do is try right? I know that I'll be right here to keep this thread going for as long as all of you want/need. My recovery is never-ending.

    Much love for all of us !!!heartbeaticon_hug:
  8. by   PMALPN
    I had a co worker who did not appear to be an addict, in fact she always did a good job, work extra all the time, came on short notice to work, but then we all notice something, everytime that she work all the patients got their pain med two or three time on her shift even the ones that really did not complain, anyway we asked those patient alert and oriented they said no pain med was giving to them later we notice she was placing tylenol instead we notified the administration of our suspicious well they concluded that it was true that was seven years ago, nothing was done DON come on go and nothing, by the way she started dating the pharmacy delivery guy, It was an umcofortable situation to work with or after her.
    p.s. ignore the spelling english is my second language

    Happy 4th of July
  9. by   burn out
    Quote from easttexasnurse31
    I am not going to lie, I have been that monster. I have hurt people I love, and I am ashamed of it. I will never forget it. I am still trying to forgive myself. I don't expect anyone of the people I hurt to ever forgive me. I have gone to them and told them I am sorry for all the things that I did, and that is all I can do. And I am truly sorry. I made this bed, and I have to lay in it. And I am. I am not asking anyone for special favors, I am trying to regain respect and it will take a while. I am honest with myself.

    It seems like you were hurt bad, hopefully that part of your life is over and you have learned a lot from it.

    The only thing that the experience really taught me and reinforced was not to trust people ...so tell me now how am I suppose to trust you..what can I look for or what could you say or do to make me trust you at work with drugs. I amnot tryingto be mean I am quite sincere.
    How do you build the bridge with those that you hurt?
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from burn out
    The only thing that the experience really taught me and reinforced was not to trust people ...so tell me now how am I suppose to trust you..what can I look for or what could you say or do to make me trust you at work with drugs. I amnot tryingto be mean I am quite sincere.
    How do you build the bridge with those that you hurt?
    By simply living life and not doing the things that hurt people (i.e. not doing drugs and diverting drugs).

    As someone who has hurt others (and I'd venture to guess most of us have hurt someone else in our lifetime) all I can do is live my day one day at a time to the best of my abilities and leave the past behind. If someone wants to continue to not accept me or my past, or keep holding on to a past that hurt them then they are hurting themselves, and that is not my business. I can't allow others to drag me down. Does that mean people can trust me not to make a mistake and hurt them again just because I promise for today to try to not hurt them? That's still their issue and not mine to decide whether to trust or not.

    I can make amends, and it's not my business whether it's accepted or not. I have a few ex-friends who will always be ex-friends and that's the way life is. I have to find peace with that, just have you have to find peace/or have found peace getting rid of the addict in your life. Some bridges need to stay burned.
    It's tough to trust when you've been hurt. My ex was 15 years sober before the drinking and lying started up. I can't judge all nurse addicts and alcoholics on his lack of recovery. I can't mistrust and judge every single nurse in recovery.
  11. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from burn out
    The only thing that the experience really taught me and reinforced was not to trust people ...so tell me now how am I suppose to trust you..what can I look for or what could you say or do to make me trust you at work with drugs. I amnot tryingto be mean I am quite sincere.
    How do you build the bridge with those that you hurt?
    not to sound simplistic, but i think it's a choice we make.
    we will either choose to forgive or not.
    acknowledging my flaws, helps me be compassionate to others.
    granted, sometimes my instincts interfere and i'm just not 'feeling' the integrity needed to recover.
    but knowing the hoops that addicts need to jump through (w/the BON), appeases some of my concerns.
    i personally cannot live my life being weighed down with toxic energies.
    and so, if it takes a blind leap of faith to turn a negative into a positive, then it is my choice to handle it this way.
    no, i don't live with my head in the sand.
    i can actually be quite cynical.
    but again, i recognize my feelings/flaws, keep quiet and observe, wait, and often, believe.
    i can't change the actions of others.
    but i can change the actions of myself.

    leslie
  12. by   Cattitude
    Not only am I an addict but my Mother has been in active addiction for 25 years.

    How have I trusted anyone in 25 years when my own mother has stolen from me? Lied to me? Used drugs when pregnant with my baby sister?

    I had to sleep with my money stuffed in my pj's or it would be gone in the morning. She stole every piece of jewelry I had when I was a teen. My mother even went into my bank account.

    Again, how do I trust anyone?

    Because I can't judge the world based on the actions of one person. Even if that person is the one that I am supposed to be able to trust with anything.

    I can't judge another addict by my mother's disease. And this was even before my own disease. Mine started 4 1/2 yrs ago so I had 20 years of Mom's addiction under my belt. I certainly put trust into people in that time.

    Some let me down, but I have no regrets. I don't want to live in a sheltered cave. I want to FEEL. Sometimes, you have to leap. Just look first!!!
  13. by   Magsulfate
    All I can do is,,, do my very best. At work I help out other nurses when they need help, and if they are busier than me, then I will offer my help to them. They are grateful for that. The nurses that know I am in TPAPN, so far have not outwardly judged me because of it.. I try to keep a positive attitude. I think it is helping me. That is all I can do. It will take time for the other nurses to trust me. OF course, they didn't work with me when I had my problems. They only know me now, the recovering nurse. I don't have access to narcotics, which is a good thing because even though I KNOW that I would not risk my career like that again,,, I also want to make sure that everyone knows there's no way that I took any of the narcotics. It is a safe feeling.

    I have been working for a little over a month, and it didn't take long for me to recognize my symptoms and actions in another nurse i work with. I just don't know what to do about it now. I'm afraid to tell our manager. However, I did tell the charge nurse my suspicions. Here's the deal............ Nurse goes from med room straight to bathroom, on two seperate occassions I have witnessed this. Also, on two seperate occassions, on my day off she would have my patient. She would give my patient Morphine every 3 hours. I NEVER EVER gave him anything more than a tylenol, and he never complained of pain or shown any signs of being in pain. A very calm man, a little demented, doesn't really know whats going on. He also has vicodin ordered but she went straight for the Morphine. I don't think she's giving it to him. She's taking that morphine. The other day, she was in the med room for a while, and then she called someone in there to witness a morphine waste. Well...... she made sure to say,,, stay here and watch me waste this. It was a 1cc vial of morphine, she drew up 2 cc's out of it. I have a feeling she had replaced NS in the vial and already taken out the morphine. There was also another day where she had a patient that was literally crying in pain,, a patient not known to cry out in pain after given demerol. SHe gave her demerol 3 times that day... and she cried out all day. It was sad and pathetic. I Felt bad for the patient. But what could I do? It was charted that she gave the med. I told the charge nurse about it and she said she would watch her. Things just keep happening that point directly toward her diverting. But I am scared to tell the manager. I am scared because I am on TPAPN and I don't want to bring any attention towards myself. Can anyone give me any words of advice or encouragement to do this?

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