Admitting To Rehab & Going Before The Nursing Board

Posted
by pholda pholda (New) New

I'm a bit scared. I just completed LPN school and on my application to take the boards I admitted that I had been through a rehab program for alcohol addiction. I have been sober for almost 2 years now but they say that they are unable to approve my application until I meet with them. Is there anyone out there who has gone through anything like this? I'm terrified that I just wasted 14 months of school only to be turned down for a license because of a situation that is in my past that I have addressed. Please help!

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

I think the best thing would to be honest. Perhaps a nursing atty. there with you? They may give you a restricted license or require drug/alcohol testing. I think this is a case by case situation. Best of luck to you.

luvche

Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho, Oncology, PACU. Has 8 years experience.

It may not help, but perhaps a statement from you physician or a drug/alcohol counselor or psychiatrist as to their opinion of your place in your recovery so far, your ability to work as a nurse, and other info like that.

catlvr

Specializes in Geriatrics, Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 7 years experience.

I don't have experience with this, but just wanted to congratulate you on your sobriety and honesty...I know that neither are easy, and think that both will be assets to you as a nurse. Hope that your BON sees it that was and gives you the chance that you deserve!

learninglessons12, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Psychiatric. Has 3 years experience.

After my experience with TPAPN, I would highly suggest that you get an attorney who is well versed with these sort of issues and dealing with the board.

nursecat64

Specializes in med/surg, home health. Has 12 years experience.

Too bad you didn't ask for advice before you filled out the application. I think the past is just that-THE PAST. Now you have to tell them what/where/why. (This is just my opinion I don't have personal experience in matters of the board) But having worked as a supervisor to nurses on probation, I know you will probably start out having to be monitored and will be restricted in your access to meds at work, your employer will have to know, and it may be harder to get a job with a probationary license. I am sorry to say you marked yourself before even "committing a crime."

We live in an information age, and it is my belief that the more information one keeps private, the better. "anything you say can and will be held against you" I wish you well.

Just like your sponsor would tell you, it's all ok. It will play out just like it is suppose to. take it one day at a time, all will be well.

ls66

Specializes in geriatrics, management, home care nurse. Has 20 years experience.

Dear waiting2test,

I believe that you will be okay as long as you have specific documentation on the completion of rehab and follow up w/ aa meetings etc...You will most likely have to show them a year of sobriety and go through first lab which is the process of where you call a certain no. every day for a year and when calling that no. they will tell you whether you need to do a u/a that day etc, etc. etc. It all depends in the state you live in and the Board of Nursing in that state. I wish you the best of luck with nursing and sobriety as neither is easy but very well worth it.

ls66.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I got sober only a couple of years before I started pre-nursing, and I remember asking the admissions director of the nursing department if it was going to be a problem for me in getting into the program or obtaining licensure. She said, "Only if you make it a problem." IOW, she was telling me not to volunteer the information to the BON....I had two years' sobriety under my belt; it would only become their business if I chose to be an active alcohol user again.

Unfortunately, that cat is now out of the bag where you're concerned, so the only thing you can do is damage control. Be honest with your BON, but remember---never answer a question you haven't been asked yet. You may or may not have restrictions on your license; if you don't, you certainly don't need to inform potential employers of your past. If you do have a restriction, you'll need to avoid certain practice settings, like acute care and LTC where narcotics are routinely given, but you'd probably be OK in a medical clinic or in LTC as a treatment nurse.

Above all, remind yourself daily---or as often as you need to during times of high stress---that you've already won the hardest part of the battle. Coming to the realization that you had a drinking problem was probably one of the most difficult processes you've ever been through, and that first year of sobriety had to be one of the hardest years of your life. I know it was for me, and I've been sober for 20 years and 28 days as of this writing. I'm also a successful nurse. It CAN be done. :D

Hang in there hon, and please keep us posted on your progress. Congratulations on your achievements thus far!!

sissiesmama, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG. Has 22 years experience.

I got sober only a couple of years before I started pre-nursing, and I remember asking the admissions director of the nursing department if it was going to be a problem for me in getting into the program or obtaining licensure. She said, "Only if you make it a problem." IOW, she was telling me not to volunteer the information to the BON....I had two years' sobriety under my belt; it would only become their business if I chose to be an active alcohol user again.

Unfortunately, that cat is now out of the bag where you're concerned, so the only thing you can do is damage control. Be honest with your BON, but remember---never answer a question you haven't been asked yet. You may or may not have restrictions on your license; if you don't, you certainly don't need to inform potential employers of your past. If you do have a restriction, you'll need to avoid certain practice settings, like acute care and LTC where narcotics are routinely given, but you'd probably be OK in a medical clinic or in LTC as a treatment nurse.

Above all, remind yourself daily---or as often as you need to during times of high stress---that you've already won the hardest part of the battle. Coming to the realization that you had a drinking problem was probably one of the most difficult processes you've ever been through, and that first year of sobriety had to be one of the hardest years of your life. I know it was for me, and I've been sober for 20 years and 28 days as of this writing. I'm also a successful nurse. It CAN be done. :D

Hang in there hon, and please keep us posted on your progress. Congratulations on your achievements thus far!!

Viva - same here. My mom and I were talking about something like this, and she really surprised me, said sometimes u can be too honest.

OP - I'm not advocating lying or being dishonest - but it's the truth at times.

Good luck to u!

Anne, RNC

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

Your Mom is right, Anne. For the most part, I'm an open book---I don't try to hide my ETOH hx, although of course it's no longer an issue, nor has it been one since before I was a nurse. But neither do I volunteer the information until I'm sure of the situation and the people in it.

Many years ago in my mid-20s, I had a couple of minor scrapes with the law that resulted in misdemeanor charges, all but one of which were reduced to infractions. Fortunately, I was never arrested on those charges, because I turned myself in and pleaded guilty when I found out there were warrants out on me. Naturally, when nursing school and the NCLEX came up a decade later, I was worried about the misdemeanor conviction, so I wrote to the court and asked them where I stood.

I had no idea that misdemeanors eventually drop off one's record, at least in California. They wrote back and said that because of the amount of time that had passed, and the fact that I hadn't gotten into any further trouble, that I was completely cleared and could say in truth that I had never been convicted of a crime. (They also wrote, "Good luck in your nursing career." That still makes me smile.) So.......when it came time to apply for the NCLEX, I checked the "No" box when it came to the question about arrests and convictions. Why go through a lifetime of having to explain something stupid you did when you were 26 years old if you don't have to?

Nor have I ever included the now-expunged conviction on any job application, license renewal form, or jury summons. Again, if a court of law says it's a non-issue, that's good enough for me. It's enough that I know it happened, and that the experience changed me. :cool:

jmo1231

Specializes in adult health , critical care.

Hi Viva,

I always love reading your posts Viva....such words of wisdom and encouragement!:)