Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 4

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. Visit  AirforceRN profile page
    0
    I'm pretty much torn on this one. On the one hand I think hmmmm, nurses who are recovering addicts working in a position of easy access to narcs...probably not a good idea. On the other hand everyone deserves a second chance and people can change. People like cattitude who have the power to admit a problem and will find a job that is in their field but restricts them access are great...good work to you cattitude.
    Incidently...I don't believe addiction is a disease. Although it may seem like one in the end, it starts as a choice and progresses from there. It also ends with a choice. Do I have a disease because I smoke tobacco? Personally, I don't think so, I think I just made an incredibly bad choice. I know the DSM lists it as a disease now and it is widely accepted that it is, I just disagree...but I have strong opinions on many things.
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  3. Visit  Cattitude profile page
    1
    Addiction as a Disease

    When I first recognized that I had a problem, I thought of addiction as a disease but I said it was a disease of "choice". Ha ha. How I have changed my tune.

    It truly is a disease. The obsession/compulsive factor of addiction is WHY addicts "just can't stop". And then everyone says "oh but you weren't an addict when you did the first one".

    Well , I don't believe that to be true. The more I learn about addiction the more everything makes sense to me. Many experts belive that the drug/alcohol is not the disease but SYMPTOMS of the disease. in other words, many of us were addicts BEFORE we ever picked up. i know I was.

    These are difficult concepts to grasp if you scoff at addicts or addiction has not touched you in some way. Heck it was difficult for me and I am an addict!!!

    If any of you walked into my nurse addict support group, you would see nurses that looked like you. It can happen to anyone of us. Do you think any of us said "oh after I become a nurse, I'm going to use drugs and become an addict?" It happens, it sneaks up on you and then you wonder how in the world did this mess happen?

    We're human, many of us are darn good nurses. Whether you want us working alongside you or not, we are. 10% of nurses are addicts/alcoholics. Hopefully, many in recovery already. We'd appreciate your support.
    shouse82 likes this.
  4. Visit  cflawell profile page
    1
    Nurse who are recovering are generally better nurses. They have to once again prove themselves. It is the nurses who are active addicts you need to worry about. I am also a recovering addict and I never did not give my patients pain medicine and take it myself, nor did I get high at work. Yes I did some horrible things and did anything to feed my addiction, but not all addicts or recovering addicts are horrible nurses. I have worked with more just plain lazy, here for the paycheck bad nurses than bad recovering addict nurses. Nurses treat nurses so bad and judgemental. What happen to compassion exspecially for your own peers. I remember learning in nursing school that drug addiction is a disease just like cancer, you must have been absent that day. I would personally work with a recovering addict nurse than a judgemental, non compassionate nurse any day.
    pinkestar likes this.
  5. Visit  cflawell profile page
    1
    I am one of those nurse who got arrested at work, put in handcuffs, paraded infront of all my peers and to make matters worse got beat up in prison because i did not understand the routine of prison. The cops did it not the other prisoners. Charged with felony posession of narcotics and theft. The nurses were horrible,saying welcome to withdrawal you deserve it, would not give me a blanket and I was freezing cold. I have lost all rsspect for my own profession. Thank god for a caring nonjudgemental nurse who supported me. Yes I am clean and have been for three years, but no thanks to my nursing peers. Nurses can be so cruel to their own. I was also a nurse who did not take pain meds from her patients, I just signed out extra. That does not make me better than any one else, I just did not deserve the treatment I got. I pass narcotics and the thought of going back down the road of addiction is much less appealing than the cravings I still get now and then. Lets see a fractured skull, closed head injury, bilateral ruptured ear drums, 1 broken rib, road rash all over my face form being dragged across the jail cement floors, and multiple contusions and abrasions all because I did not understand how to be a prisoner. Then get transferred to the hospital because I lose consciousness and the nurses say I got what I desrved because I was a drug addict. That is pretty bad. Yes I am still a nurse and probably a better nurse than I have ever been. I recieved no support from any of my nursing peers I worked with. They were disgusted with me and treated me like crap. I just hope no one gets treated like I did and I work every day to try to prevent that. I also believe recovering Nurses deserve a second chance we are not all bad.Oh I forgot to add after 2 days in jail I passed out not because withdrawal from drugs because I could get more drugs in jail than at work, I passed out because of no food or water. A glucose of 38 and a potassium of 2.9 and of course all my other injuries sustained in jail because the group of nurses I worked with had a suspiscion of drug use and felt the need to call the police and have me arrested at work. When you are an agency nurse and other nurses are resentful of that I guess thats what you get.
    Last edit by cflawell on Apr 14, '07
    Nancy927 likes this.
  6. Visit  AirforceRN profile page
    0
    Quote from cflawell
    I remember learning in nursing school that drug addiction is a disease just like cancer, you must have been absent that day. I would personally work with a recovering addict nurse than a judgemental, non compassionate nurse any day.
    I was there that day, I just don't agree. I don't think that makes me judgemental or non compassionate. I don't care what you do at home or after work, where you go, who you see etc. If you can provide proper care to your patients I'll work with you.
  7. Visit  Cattitude profile page
    0
    Quote from AirforceRN2b
    I was there that day, I just don't agree. I don't think that makes me judgemental or non compassionate. I don't care what you do at home or after work, where you go, who you see etc. If you can provide proper care to your patients I'll work with you.
    So if you don't think it's a disease then what do you think it is? A choice? Do you think anyone chooses to be an addict? To go through the horrors of what we have? The countless time I have wen through withdrawl because I did not have my opiates. Ugh.... And the sickness of picking up again and again. It is a disease of the brain.Addicts brains just work differnetly and it has been shown so with CT scans and MRI's.

    HBO has a very informative series on right now if anyone wants to learn something. It's been on for weeks and I think it's going on all through April.
  8. Visit  cflawell profile page
    0
    I know the thought of working with an impaired nurse is scarey,but some addicts during addiction need to be impaired to be normal. I know that does not make since but it is the truth. Nurses are just so mean to each other and I had such a bad experience I am very sensitive about the subject. Read #43 and you will see.
  9. Visit  cflawell profile page
    0
    Quote from bjcd
    what do you do if you think someone is using drugs or giving to many prn narcotics and you can't report due to the nm is thier friend and the one over her is her friend. then what can you do.


    Eventually all addicts get caught. We can only hide for so long. So if you have doubts, just know they will get caught
  10. Visit  AirforceRN profile page
    0
    Quote from Cattitude
    So if you don't think it's a disease then what do you think it is? A choice?
    No, I don't think anybody ever goes out thinking "I've decided to become an addict". In fact, I think for many people they probably didn't even know they were in danger until it was too late. You have knee surgery, are on copious pain meds for 1 month, your perscription runs out and then you realize that you have a major problem. The question is...where do you go from there? There are two roads you can take.
    I don't think its as simple as "is it a disease or a choice?" but I don't have an answer to your question. By pure definition a disease is an impairment or abnormal functioning in the body. Sure, addiction falls in that scope, but so do many other things.
  11. Visit  jill48 profile page
    0
    Quote from AirforceRN2b
    I'm pretty much torn on this one. On the one hand I think hmmmm, nurses who are recovering addicts working in a position of easy access to narcs...probably not a good idea. On the other hand everyone deserves a second chance and people can change. People like cattitude who have the power to admit a problem and will find a job that is in their field but restricts them access are great...good work to you cattitude.
    Incidently...I don't believe addiction is a disease. Although it may seem like one in the end, it starts as a choice and progresses from there. It also ends with a choice. Do I have a disease because I smoke tobacco? Personally, I don't think so, I think I just made an incredibly bad choice. I know the DSM lists it as a disease now and it is widely accepted that it is, I just disagree...but I have strong opinions on many things.
    How can you not think addiction is a disease? If one person can take a drug and never care to touch it again, but another person takes the same drug and has to have it again and again, then one of them has an addiction and one doesn't. No, your smoking is not a disease, but it will surely lead to disease. How is it possible, this day in age, can a nurse not think this is a disease? Have you never had anyone close to you suffer from an addiction?
  12. Visit  AirforceRN profile page
    0
    Yes Jill48, I have and still do. ETOH runs strong in my family and I have relatives also into percs and T3s...started after another family member died and went down hill from there. It has taken a serious toll on their lives, in fact I lost both my grandparents to the drink.
    What makes addiction to drugs different from nicotine? I go through withdrawl if I stop smoking. I crave it when I don't have it. I've rolled nickels to buy a pack. Is it different because its legal? Is it not included because then millions of Americans and Canadians (and indeed people worldwide) would have to be labelled as diseased?
  13. Visit  RJ---RN profile page
    0
    Over the years I have worked with nurses who are addicts. I have reported them to the nurse manager, and maybe she was fired, but went to the next facility and began all over again.

    When I became nurse manager, I had a nurse who was suspect of stealing drugs. I did a thorough investigation...that is I pulled charts, looked at the MAR, compared narc signout sheets, and found discrepancies. It took quite a while. I wanted to be sure before I reported her to state board. Finally, I had the documentation I needed and reported her. Someone from the atty generals office came and did a review. Thanked me for my thorough documentation. Long story short............her license was eventually revoked.
    Now here is the kicker............Several months later this now "former" nurse came back to talk with me. I figured she was gonna lay into me, but lo and behold she thanked me. She told me I was the only one out of many many jobs that had the courage to stop her. All the rest, she said, just swept it under the carpet.

    Go with your heart............remember your nursing pledge and good luck!
  14. Visit  Bluehair profile page
    0
    Our state BON has a program to help get nurse's back to work while they are recovering from addiction. It's pretty strict, not cheap for the nurse going through it. Nurse has to pay her own way for weekly therapy, plus be actively involved in a 12-step program, plus pay for all their own pee tests, etc. BUT - these 2 nurses are great! They are so thankful for a chance to rebuild their lives. They take full responsibility for what they did, and are working to get through the program. Eventually they will 'graduate' and not have to do so much (one only has to do monthly and prn pee tests instead of weekly, submits reports from her NM to BON every other month instead of monthly etc.).
    It feels like it does when I am helping patients, helping a nurse get her feet back on the ground and get her life back. Maybe better.


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