Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 17

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. 0
    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.

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  2. 0
    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?
  3. 0
    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?
  4. 0
    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!!!
  5. 0
    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
  6. 0
    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.
  7. 0
    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.
  8. 1
    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
    BlessedRoseRN likes this.
  9. 0
    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.
  10. 0
    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.


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