Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 9

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   vickynurse
    Quote from pebbles
    I can never forgive these events. I cannot forgive the nurse in question, and I cannot forgive my management for not dealing with it more effectively.

    Knowing that these impaired and addicted nurses are in their own struggle does nothing to lessen the upset that happened in my own workplace when patients were in jeopardy, and staff were unfairly placed in a position of protecting our own and someone else's patients from harm.

    Pebbles is right on!
  2. by   rn/writer
    Quote from vickynurse
    [Don't know about you, but I don't want an addict caring for someone I love. Sober and recovering is fine... active user has no business working in nursing. THAT is what the BON says. THAT is what the public expects. If we cannot police our own the trial lawyers will.
    The sober and recovering person is still an addict. That condition doesn't go away. But some are courageous enough and honest enough to do battle with it and win.
  3. by   sissiesmama
    Vickynurse - you can see the ignorance in one sentence in your posting when you said you would never let an addict take care of one of your loved one. Do some research, because an addict, the difference is whether or not they're in RECOVERY!!! And you're right about one point, in saying that when the addict is actively using, they should not be practicing nursing. Your postings make it clear that you need the beneift of research into this matter. And this is not the ONLY indicator of a good or bad nurse. I feel sorry for your family members if this is the only criteria by which you gauge whether or not a nurse should be allowed to take care of your family member. There are sites online (including this one) where you can do some research and maybe learn something.

    Anne, RNC
  4. by   vickynurse
    Quote from rn/writer
    The sober and recovering person is still an addict. That condition doesn't go away. But some are courageous enough and honest enough to do battle with it and win.
    Agree with you totally. Still feel that those who are in denial about their addiction, need intervention. To look the other way and allow users to practice is unethical.
  5. by   vickynurse
    Quote from busyrnandmom
    Vickynurse - .... an addict, the difference is whether or not they're in RECOVERY!!! And you're right about one point, in saying that when the addict is actively using, they should not be practicing nursing. ..... And this is not the ONLY indicator of a good or bad nurse.
    Anne, RNC
    I misspoke, that does not make me ignorant or biased. You are very knowlegeable so perhaps you could answer a question for me. What is the P.C. term for nurses who have never abused drugs? We cannot be 'clean & sober' since we were never 'di**y or dr**k". We cannot be 'recovered' since we were never 'ill'.
    I also agree that drug use is not the only indicator of competence. Many on this thread have attested to the fact that recovering nurses have much to offer. However, I hope we can all agree that an active user cannot possibly be competent. IMHO, no one is well served by an active user. Patients, colleageues, and our profession are all harmed by active users. Again, I say, if we do not police ourselves, the trial lawyers will.
  6. by   sissiesmama
    Vickynurse - yes, I do have some knowledge in an addict in nursing, from personal experience, and that is not what I planned on wwhen I decided to go to nwg. school. But yes, I can tell you the p.c. term for one that never used drugs and has not gone through what we go through upon entering the recovery process. That term is NURSE, just like one of us that is in recovery.I am not attempting to save the world or convert anyone's views on this subject. All I am saying that recovering nurses can still be good nurses, and that I am glad that for the most part, I am glad that the attitude towards a nurse in recovery trying to go back to work that you have is not apparent in our city.

    I did review you profile and saw that you are a nurse educator. Do some research before you need to offer any help on this subject to a fellow nurse.

    Anne
  7. by   vickynurse
    Quote from busyrnandmom
    Vickynurse - I am glad that the attitude towards a nurse in recovery trying to go back to work that you have is not apparent in our city.

    I did review you profile and saw that you are a nurse educator. Do some research before you need to offer any help on this subject to a fellow nurse.

    Anne
    In our city, all nsg students are drug screened before entering the ed programs. All new hires in every facility I know of are screened as well. In our state, anyone with an action on their license has their name published by the BON and alerts go out to facilities and schools. Recovered is fine, active use is NOT. The facilities, BON, and schools are trying to keep our profession clean so that the trial lawyers don't have to do the job. I know from whence I speak...
  8. by   Cattitude
    Quote from vickynurse
    active use is NOT. ...
    Ok, you keep making comments like this. Please quote where anyone here said that an actively using nurse is appropriate?

    No one has said so. No one has said it's ok to turn a blind eye to an active user. Maybe you experienced this IRL but in this discussion it has not been approved.
  9. by   subee
    Quote from vickynurse
    I misspoke, that does not make me ignorant or biased. You are very knowlegeable so perhaps you could answer a question for me. What is the P.C. term for nurses who have never abused drugs? We cannot be 'clean & sober' since we were never 'di**y or dr**k". We cannot be 'recovered' since we were never 'ill'.
    I also agree that drug use is not the only indicator of competence. Many on this thread have attested to the fact that recovering nurses have much to offer. However, I hope we can all agree that an active user cannot possibly be competent. IMHO, no one is well served by an active user. Patients, colleageues, and our profession are all harmed by active users. Again, I say, if we do not police ourselves, the trial lawyers will.

    Rush Limbaugh used to sound just like you - judgemental and bitter. Now he doesn't sing that song anymore since Mr. I'm Right - You're Wrong discovered that getting off those Percocets wasn't easy. Give in a break. Try to look at your postings as if they weren't yours but were written by a stranger. You keep protesting against propositions which AGREE with you. Not one person on this thread has suggested that its OK for anyone on drugs to be working, but you keep harping how "IMHO, no one is well served by an active user."\
    Whoever said otherwise? If you feel that nursing isn't policed enough, its out of ignorance - just simple plain ignorance. Its not part of a grand plan to keep addicts working. Most people don't recognize the signs of addiction until very late in the disease and the nurse is really screwing up. Let's face it - most nurses don't know anything about addictions...period. If we don't get educated, we won't see it in front of our own noses. And if we don't see it, we can't get these nurses out of practice and into treatment. And if they don't get into treatment, they will eventually die. Is that OK with you? Is it OK that someone who could get treatment and come back to work should go to jail or die because that's the logical consequence of never having the opportunity to receive medical care.
  10. by   happybunny1970
    Quote from vickynurse
    In our city, all nsg students are drug screened before entering the ed programs. All new hires in every facility I know of are screened as well. In our state, anyone with an action on their license has their name published by the BON and alerts go out to facilities and schools. Recovered is fine, active use is NOT. The facilities, BON, and schools are trying to keep our profession clean so that the trial lawyers don't have to do the job. I know from whence I speak...
    Yeah... but so are all the potential employees at Wal Mart, Lowes, the grocery store... This means nothing, except that they were 'clean' THAT DAY. And I think EVERY BON sends out board actions in their quarterly newsletters, but not every nurse who has faced an addiction HAS action on their licenses. Many states have peer assistance programs that allow nurses the chance to get themselves together BEFORE action gets taken on their licenses, and the Board is never even notified: Just the peer assistance program and the nurses' employer (since they have paperwork to complete).

    I think the major point is being missed here: There is NO WAY to know whether a nurse is 'actively using' or not -- those with stipulations or restrictions on their licenses, or enrolled in a peer assistance program, are also subject to tons of random drug screens (not to mention supervision and restrictions/stipulations regarding narcotics access), so someone in this situation is actually LESS LIKELY to be working under the influence of anything (alcohol or drugs) because they will be caught so easily. Any nurse with a 'clear license' is probably fine (at least, I would always give them the benefit of the doubt until they gave me reason to believe otherwise), but the simple fact is, they just may not have been 'caught' yet.

    If confronted with this situation, well, I do feel I would have a duty to report it, but I guess to whom would be a matter of the exact details of the situation (confront the nurse? talk to the supervisor? contact the Board?). I just don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer.
  11. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from Cattitude
    Ok, you keep making comments like this. Please quote where anyone here said that an actively using nurse is appropriate?

    No one has said so. No one has said it's ok to turn a blind eye to an active user. Maybe you experienced this IRL but in this discussion it has not been approved.
    Right on, Cat!!!! You go girl!! That was one of my points throughout this thread. And, Vickynurse, I agree completely that active users should not be allowed to nurse. And yes, I do believe that if we have just cause or suspicions regarding an impaired staff member, we do have the duty to report it. We owe that to each of our patients, not just that nurses patients, and we also owe it to co workers, and even to the impaired nurse herself. Why? Because if we help her get the help she needs, we may help in some small part keep them from getting a DWJ, from going to jail, or the ultimate, keep her from dying (like from using at work, and ODing in a BR, lounge, or parking lot.

    Ane yes, in my state, students are drug screened before getting in, And education has to start early. All I am trying to say is that we (recovering addict nurses do deserve a second chance.

    I am not proud of the fact that I was diverting my patients meds, and not proud of the fact that I had to go to treatment, but I sure am glad that I was given a second chance to be the best nurse I can be, and the fact that I have 6 years clean and I am not dead.


    Anne

    Bless u, Cat! I was glad to see ur posting, u made feel netter!
  12. by   Magsulfate
    Quote from burn out
    What would be the success rate for recovering alcoholics that took up occupations as bartenders and cocktail waitresses..is the temptation too strong? Nurses with drug addictions does not just affect them, their actions affect the patient, co-workers, hospital, and physician therefore it is not "just about them". If I can not trust my co workers then I don't have a very good team to work with. It is a matter of trust, honesty, and integrity..how do you gain that back once it is lost?.
    Nurses that are in recovery through the state board have mandatory random drug tests. They are not just let loose at work to do as they please. Also, if they look the least bit intoxicated, they are tested ON THE SPOT. I am in recovery, and I know that I would not jeopardize my life, my career, my integrity or my patient's pain relief ever again. All of those classes and treatment groups that I went to helped me in ways that I cannot explain. I can speak for myself and other successful recovering nurses that we are not the same once we start recovering. There is so much I could write here about it, but I agree with most of the other posts. Recovering nurses are under a microscope,,, they are the most sober nurses that you will work with. They work hard and are GRATEFUL for the job that they have. They love nursing,, they love being a nurse. They HAVE TO, to be able to go through all the hoops of fire that the state board of nursing makes them go through.
  13. by   AirforceRN
    Wow, this thread is getting pretty long...and a little heated. I'm glad that nobody has resorted to name-calling yet.
    I have a question and I hope I can get a couple of opinons (especially from cattitude...RN knows her stuff)
    How many chances should a recovering nurse have? Say, for example, I was caught stealing or using drugs at work. I go into rehab, am clean for two years, get rehired and a year after that get caught again. Should I ever work again?
    My opinion...second chances are great...everybody screws up at some point and like I said a while ago, anyone can change. BUT, you get caught again, sorry, no go. License: gone. Ability to work in a hospital: gone. Any chance at recovering your nursing career: gone. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice: gone.
    How does everyone else feel about this?

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