Morphine Diversion--Need replies ASAP

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    My primary concern/question is bold & underlined below:

    I work in LTC in WA...outside of the Seattle area.
    Recently, it was discovered that a Resident Care Manager had been diverting liquid herself...for years.
    This was discovered when other nurses were counting & noticed that the bottle contents weren't blue, as the label indicated it should be.

    Pharmacy was called in, loads of records were audited & the extensiveness of her diversion was uncovered.
    She disappeared from work, and most had thought, justifiably, that she'd been terminated.

    Less than 30 days have passed, and we now hear that she's returning to a "non-nursing capacity", answering phones, filing, etc.

    If the DEA and local law enforcement were involved, as well as the facility pharmacy, wouldn't a natural course of events involve some type of legal action being taken against her?

    I'm dumbfounded that she's being allowed in the building, much less, on the payroll in any shape, form or fashion. An employee has voiced that "WA law mandates that she be helped in regards to retaining her job"

    Is this true?
    I know all about chemical dependency treatment for impaired nurses (hopefully she was required to enter that type of program)---but to return within a month?

    Have any others dealt with the return of a person in a once-supervisory role after such actions? ---I'm at a loss in regards as to how to even speak to her...much less even look at her...after all the years of lies & setting others at risk to attempt covering her tracks.

    I tried to search the WA Department of Health's site to see if any infractions had been posted against her license under her name even appears. If a license had been revoked, it would still appear, correct?

    I'm just stunned at what people can obviously get away with...and still have a job.

  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    PLUS the issue of tampering with pharmaceuticals & falsification of documentation...MAR's...charts, narcotic ledgers.. and orders placed to addition to the above.
  4. 0
    I can't believe no one responded to my inquiry. The morphine swilling supervisor returns to work tomorrow..and despite many considering drug diversion a "disease", it's a sign of something far,far worse. Its theft, its lying to yourself, your coworkers, your employer..and your patients. Its deceit to insurance companies that pay for the medication..and the behavior is a disgrace to the nursing profession.
    Anyone with legitimate pain can easily obtain medications through the appropriate channels.
  5. 1
    I have seen this happen before. It is very hard to believe, though it happens. Before you know it she will be back to working with medications. Has anyone mentioned the fact that the patients may have been recieving no pain relief when given what the nurses believed to be Morphine for all those years. Diversion is bad enough but when it comes at the suffering of those who trust us, IT IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME. That breaks my heart.
    yadda_yadda_yadda likes this.
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    AimeeJoRN, the pharmacy tested the bottles left behind--they tested positive for WATER.
    The suffering residents received WATER.

    It's just a disgrace to the profession that some white-washed law allows impaired nurses to return to work alongside those who are professionals.

    I don't understand how she's not facing legal action. The pharmacy was involved, testing bottles & auditing YEARS of records..(this went on for several years)...the DEA was present...yet she's back?

    I just don't get it.
  7. 0
    WA DOH Nursing sends out annual newsletter. I believe there is a link to it on their website. I believe their last newsletter featured impaired and reporting. You might want to check it out. IMO, I believe the DOH takes an empathetic role in working with impaired nurses tx the addiction as a disease and offers the nurse steps to recover; re-entering the profession under supervision and monitoring. I am no expert in the area but I am equally dumbfounded by why someone would want to take pain medication from a resident and give them a dilute concoction offering the resident little or no reliefe of their pain and discomfort. I guess that attests to the power of addiction.
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    With so many people with unblemished records looking for work, it is rather astounding that someone in this category is being accommodated, but apparently that is the way the state of WA chooses to handle this problem. She certainly wouldn't be getting this consideration in other locations.
    yadda_yadda_yadda likes this.
  9. 1
    Agreed, Caliotter.

    Truely demoralizing when you look at the state of nursing right now. Amazingly high number of nurses are believed to be working impaired; even more amazing number of nurses without employment that aren't impaired.

    Here's the link to the DOH website/newsletter if you are interested.
    Last edit by RubyRN,CHPN on Jul 4, '10 : Reason: link added
    yadda_yadda_yadda likes this.