CA Nurse on Probation - Need to Vent


Hi all,

I'm an RN in CA and I was recently placed on probation, as of May 5th with the BRN for a DUI I got 3 years ago. The DUI, for me, was the first time I had gotten in trouble for anything. I graduated Valedictorian of my high school class, finished by BSN at a great university in 3 and a half years, and landed a job right out of college back home on the Central Coast. Needless to say, the night I got my DUI, I was surprised as anyone to find myself in the "drunk tank" and made some big changes in my life.

I honestly don't regret my DUI. I'm glad I learned at 23 the trouble that drinking can get you into before it became a habit, and it helped me mature a lot as a person. It was a mistake, but the mistake made me realize how much I value this profession. In the 3 years since, I worked my way up from floor nurse at my facility to admissions, have gotten perfect performance evaluations along the way, and have precepted and trained several student nurses and new hires. At 26, I'm very proud of the work I've done, and have several ex patients that still stop by to visit me all the time. But now I'm on probation with the BRN and I find myself questioning everything about my profession.

I knew probation was coming. Honestly I hoped it would've been sooner than this but the Board moves at its own pace. I wasn't scared or nervous when I received my notice in the mail. If anything I was looking forward to getting through this and moving on with my career. However, 1 month in and I find myself hitting a wall. Last week I had to drive to Irvine (4 hours away) to meet with my monitor, I had to be there by 8 am according to the letter so I woke up at 3 am and drove down. My monitor ended up being 45 minutes late to our meeting and most of her answers to my questions were either, "I don't know" or "I don't have time, my case load is too high". In total the meeting lasted a half hour and cost me a full tank of gas to get there.

Then there's the issue of my finger prints. For some reason I had to resubmit them this week even though I already Live Scanned them for initial licensure. Cost of that: $85. Then there's the First Lab check ins. I was called in on Monday to test and just this morning got called in again, at a cost of $100 bucks each ($62.00 for the test and $40 for the collection fee at the only place around that has a male to observe me). Then the evals, which I have yet to complete and am really starting to worry that I won't have the money to complete before the June 19th deadline.

If I had a drug or drinking problem, I guess I could understand. In fact, I'd probably be thankful that the Board was keeping me alive, but the fact is, this was a one time mistake. I never had a problem stopping drinking, and I've never experimented with narcotics in my life, but now I find myself being treated like scum, and at my own cost, and its disheartening.

I am lucky that the Board approved my job, through all this I have managed to stay working and continue to excel at it, but I'm starting to get worried that I'll have to surrender my license because I don't have the money to pay for all of this. I'm still paying student loans, rent etc. It sucks, especially knowing you're sober, a good nurse, trying to do everything thats asked of you and at the end of the day, you might still fail because of a money issue. My family is unable to help, my mom was diagnosed with ALS when I was in high school and is home on a ventilator, and all my dad's income goes to taking care of her. My family is very supportive of me but unfortunately, they can't offer anything in terms of finances, nor would I want them to.

I guess I just needed to vent. I'm gonna go do this drug test now, which I know will come back clean, and continue on with life as best I can. I'm looking at non-nursing jobs on my days off to supplement my income to pay for all these screenings. Any words of advice or encouragement would be helpful. Thank you all

allnurses Guide

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 4,778 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 21 years experience.

Does the board say you must be monitored by a male? I understand modesty but the collection fees vary from collection site to collection site so it might be worthwhile to shop around. The place I went to was a mom and pop establishment that did physicals for insurance companies. I never had to wait more than 10 minutes and my collection fee was like $10.00.



93 Posts

Believe me, after 4 years in nursing, any modesty has gone out the window. I'm not sure if it's California law or just the policy of testing sites in the area but they will not allow you to test if they don't have someone of the same sex in the building to observe you. I also found a place a couple miles closer to my house that does have males working their to observe my sample but according to the First Lab representative I spoke to today, they have to be on the list of collection sites and this one wasn't. It's all very frustrating but I'm surviving it one day at a time.

KCMnurse, BSN, MSN, RN

1 Article; 283 Posts

Specializes in Educator. Has 39 years experience.

I don't have any advice but wanted to offer you some support. I understand your frustration, but this too will pass. You are in a good job that you have been able to hold on to throughout this situation - that is no small task. The BON moves in mysterious ways and you have no choice but to comply. The part-time job idea is a good one even if it just pays for your testing and evaluations. put them on your credit card and pay for them over time if that is an option. The end is in sight - hang in there!


8 Posts

You might want to try looking into a forbearance for your student loans. I just had to apply for an economic hardship forbearance for a few months due to some financial issues and they didn't even ask for documentation or further info. I applied one day and it was granted the next day. It's worth a try!


20 Posts

I received an accusation from California and am pending a hearing; I cannot get a job as an RN and recently completed NP school; I have received multiple job offers only to have then rescinded due to this accusation. What type of job did you get? Im desperate at this point. I have student loan burdens as well and am running out of money fast here :(


27 Posts

Found out from a previous coworker this week she knows of someone in same CA DUI situation a while back. She couldn't get anything jobwise, but knew of a doctor, or a friend knew of a doctor who needed help. Either way, the doctor was more than willing to help and fill out the forms. She is clear and free from all the hoops to jump through.... I'm still looking, and I don't know of any independent doctor who I have worked with who may be interested :-( finding work is difficult, but I'm glad some places put "we do not hire restricted licenses" to make it easier to look for someone who will.