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BON investigation in Missouri (new here/scared)

Recovery   (604 Views | 4 Replies)
by kcrn22 kcrn22 (New) New Nurse

kcrn22 specializes in med-surg, trauma, ortho, neuro, LTC.

38 Profile Views; 2 Posts

I don’t even know where to start. I have so many questions and too much information so I know this will be long. I’m sorry...

the notice states:

Summary of complaint

“(Previous unit director, by name) reports the termination of (me, RN) for possible drug diversion due to missing narcotics. (She) was using four times the amount of medication as her peers. (She) had several medication discrepancies after a three-shift chart review was conducted.”

there is no further information about the complaint, such as dates, medications involved, etc. 

first off, I deserve this. I’ve had a problem for a LONG time— even since before I was a nurse. I’ve quit many times, only to relapse or go on an opiate binge, especially after legitimate acute pain exacerbations. I once picked up alcohol to quit drugs, and that was an even bigger nightmare. I was drinking a handle of vodka per day, and I put myself through detox and AA. I’ve been sober (from alcohol) since 3/17/2014. 
 

Here’s the tricky part. I had no idea I was terminated. I didn’t have health insurance and I’d been off my anxiety and depression meds for months.  I was asked to come in and talk to my supervisor and I knew it was serious and that it COULD be about diversion but I was suicidal at the time, had been having panic attacks (especially at work) and I was honest with my boss about this. I told her I needed to address my mental health and that I simply could not bring myself to meet with her in my current condition. I asked about an EAP and FMLA since I knew I’d have insurance on January 1st. She and HR agreed to grant me FMLA and paid me with PTO. (She was an EXCELLENT boss, btw. Honestly I know it must have killed her inside to report me.) During that time I saw my FNP and a psychiatrist and my meds were reinstated/adjusted. I had plans to begin seeing a therapist. I was dreading going back to my job and I would throw myself into a panic attack just thinking about it, so I applied for other jobs during my FMLA leave and began working agency. Then COVID happened. I was unable to see a therapist. I was emailed by the hospital (my previous employer) a couple of times asking when or if I planned to return to work. I told them I wasn’t ready yet but I was thinking about returning PRN to ease back into that environment. They sent an email (that I missed) stating that if they didn’t hear from me by XX date at noon, they would consider it a resignation. That date had come and gone by the time I found the email, I was LOVING agency paychecks, and I thought it was just a sign that I should follow my new path of employment.

about the diversion. Have I diverted before? Yes. Have I been an unsafe nurse? In my honest opinion- no. But I didn’t feel safe returning while I was having full blown panic attacks. I’m also an excellent actress and put on a bubbly cheerful outgoing facade so that nobody knows I am quietly suffering. I would hide in the bathroom, crying, hyperventilating with tremors, pulse racing— until I could could calm down long enough to have short bursts of super nurse. I had planned to end my life the week after Christmas and I was saving up un-wasted narcs as well as partially full vials of unused insulin that would have been discarded. I didn’t care if I got caught because I wasn’t going to be alive. I broke down and became unsure of my decision, throwing the narcs in the sharps container after I clocked out. I still had a few opiates at home. 
 

Sonce my antidepressants and anxiety meds have kicked in, my life has been SOOO MUCH BETTER, even despite the isolation, despair and uncertainty of a global pandemic. I am LOVING agency work. For the past couple of months I’ve been working 60-80 hours a week contracting for a nursing home with COVID+ clients. They have asked to buy out my agency contract and offered me a position as DON. I would LOVE that position because I would have MUCH less exposure to and administration of narcotics. I’d even take a PAY CUT to get away from night shifts around narcotics because I don’t want to relapse!!
 

But today I got that letter and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know not to speak to any investigators and I will interview attorneys soon and hire one for this process and to help me form my statement. I’m sure he/she will have advice as far as rehab, drug tests, AA/NA groups, therapy. OF COURSE I’m having a freaking stroke today and I can’t sleep. I’m terrified. But part of me is relieved I got busted because I think this will stop my relapses and I can kick my addiction for good. I know it’s an ongoing, lifelong process that requires work every single day. 
 

it’s ironic that I got caught on a day when I discarded the narcs instead of binging on them or using them to end my life as planned. It’s also a strange situation in that I had no idea I was terminated and I can prove that I was not. I can prove I was having psychological health issues (IDK if that’s better or worse). My FMLA is documented. I’ve been a GREAT employee for the agency and the LTC facility. I want to accept their offer of employment even though I face having to resign once the investigation is complete.

Missouri is weird. They don’t have a diversion/addiction recovery program so when this is all over there will be a mark on my record for sure. if anyone has experience with Missouri or with this situation, I could use some kind, supportive, encouraging words. I’ve read lots of success stories here and reading about the journey is very empowering. I want to be done with drugs. For good. I want to find healthy coping mechanisms and use my strengths of compassion and leadership to be the most amazing nurse I’m capable of being. Even though this is tremendously scary, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance or a new beginning with my life and maybe even my beloved career. 
 

 

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Tracy653 has 20 years experience.

20 Posts; 136 Profile Views

DO NOT speak with board. Hire a lawyer immediately. I just posted my story on another thread. If u want to continue your career In nursing, get a lawyer!!

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Tracy653 has 20 years experience.

20 Posts; 136 Profile Views

Once the mark is on your record u are labeled a drug user and not many want to help. They don’t care what your story is the whys or how u came to be in the state u were in at all. The corporation will either hire u and treat u in ways making u quit or find another way to get u out of their facilities. Every now and then someone gets lucky enough to find a boss to work with them.   I AM FEELING that the board is pushing so many of our nurses down into whatever state they r trying to climb out of quickly back in. I felt so alone with my issue and when I got on the internet, I found this has been going on for years. We NEED to band together and help each!! 
 

there are many ways to get help, check around your area and get the help u need. We are all people here too. If u seek help outside of the board there are so many cheaper and more considerate ways.  
 

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kcrn22 specializes in med-surg, trauma, ortho, neuro, LTC.

2 Posts; 38 Profile Views

Tracy- thanks so much for your reply! What state are you in? I don’t know how much time I have to reply to the board... my letter doesn’t say. I’m getting a lawyer this week. I have a good down payment saved up. I can’t find any nursing law attorneys near me... looks like I’ll have to hire someone on the other side of the state 😞 WOW!, I’m trembling just typing this 💔

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1 Follower; 166 Posts; 4,294 Profile Views

Listen to your lawyer. Do not speak to anyone from the board, let them know you have representation if they reach out to you. They must communicate with your lawyer if they know that. This will help you avoid implicating yourself. 

Do you need help, of course. Don't fall on your sword though! There is a way to get the help you need and go though the boards punishment. 

Even though your lawyer may be on the other side of the state they will help you! 

I waited three years to hear from the board and got a two year 'agreement.' Took a year to find a job, so I am six years in. I swear this is just business to them. You are only a number, they don't care about your circumstances or your heart. Try to make it cold, clinical, and organized. Eventually this all becomes background noise with the occasional panic attack. (for example, I was selected for a peth test two weeks ago- I don't have alcohol restrictions, so why throw 180$ away. Got that fixed after an anxious day of waiting to see if I should just go and test- which would be positive or actually hear from my monitor. Got that fixed, nailed with a hair test a week later. No results yet and now I'm panicking about a positive from dental work a year ago. Which I do have documentation for but they dont care... UGH!)

You must get used to feeling/being treated as guilty until proven innocent. If you cross your T's and dot your I's you can make it through this!!

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