I am an RN in a recovery program in Louisiana. I have good recovery and support system and am interested in CRNA programs. My question(s) is: Should I disclose my status during any phase of application to a anesthesia program? Would it be best to wait until I have finished my recovery program before pursuing advanced practice? Are there any programs that do not discriminate against persons who have or are in recovery programs.
Jul 18, '03
Man you are asking some tough questions. I wished I could give you a more solid answer, but here is my best:
I would not disclose the status unless they directly asked you. You know that the school shouldn't discriminate against you, but guess what? They will. It is so competitive to get in that they could easily use that against you to weed you out. I do have a friend that didn't even have his bachelors degree when he applied and still needed several hours to get it before the fall semester started. He was working his butt off to get one as quickly as possible (he was just aiming for any bachelor's degree and ended up with a liberal arts degree) before classes started. He had already been accepted and so he finished something like 24 hours in 3 months to get his degree on-line. They were never the wiser and he is very smart and will make a great CRNA. So I would keep it to yourself as long as is possible or at least until you are well on your way into the program.
If you feel that it would be beneficial to wait then you should do that. As long as you believe that you are going to be able to stay clean having immediate access to narcs all the time, then do it. If you don't know if you will be able to then re-evaluate your plans and wait and get everything in order first. If you aren't sure you can do it, then you won't be able to. I guarantee you that. You have to have that confidence that you WILL stay clean. Good luck man.
Jul 18, '03
I know you could look at this decision based completely on what would maximize your chances of getting into anesthesia. But isn't it really a much more important question?
What does your recovery program tell you about these types of situations. I am not one to preach, because I have never personally experienced it. But I have met others who have walked in your shoes, and they have impressed me with the degree of honesty with which they lead their lives. IMHO, I cannot imagine it would be good for you to consider anything less than full disclosure.
Additionally, you need to give serious consideration to the question if anesthesia is the right place for you. Addiction is a HUGE problem in our anesthesia community. People who never dreamed they were at risk, have been affected.
Have you talked to any CRNAs in recovery? I strongly encourage you to do so. They can give you the real insight, that the rest of us can only speculate about. Nationally, we have a great support group. The name is AIR, anesthetists in recovery. I am sure there is contact info on the AANA website.
Best of luck to you,
Jul 18, '03
I believe that the applications will have questions regarding restrictions on your license (past and present).
In my opinion not disclosing it puts you at risk on a couple of fronts.
1. Most programs have a stipulation regarding fraudulent application.
2. Knowing from the begining that you have had a problem will help them to provide the support/oversight you need in the clinical arena.
Wait until you have completed your recovery, that will give you the ability to discuss it as something that you have fisnished in your road to maintaining sobriety.
Abuse is a major problem in the anesthesia community as loisane stated, I believe the rates are higher than any other medical field. As louisane stated contact AIR and discuss this with your counselors/support group. Specifically the issues of huge access and high abuse rates. Before you do it make sure that you have done everything you can to ensure against relapse. Also make sure that the people who help you through this agree that you are ready.
I do not know if schools would deny admission based on that issue alone. I don't think that they would though.
Jul 19, '03
I have a question concerning disclosure of private information such as arrest or convictions. If you have valid RN lic. in the state you practice and have disclosed your arrest or conviction with the state board who has also told you that you should be eligible for a advance prctice lic in that state since your past was already investigated? Should you feel obilgated to disclose that during your interview when all the program ask is do you hve a valid RN lic, especially if the school is in the same stae which you have a valid lic? I knw this sort of an ethical question, but many people have made mistakes and have already addressed them when originally applying for a nursing lic. So I guess my question is where are we ethically resonsibile to disclose things about our past if they are not asked about in the admissions process?
Jul 20, '03
Thanks for the insight to my questions. I will look up the AIR site and seek some info from them as well. While I understand that addiction is a HUGE issue in the anesthesia community, I do believe that if a person is truly honest about their program and follows the simple rules then they should be able to practice safely. The only real issue with me is that the 'stigma' attached to addiction disorders. I know from both sides of the fence. Unfortunately I was one with many misconceptions about addiction and stereotyped individuals as such. Going through what I did was a humbling experience. I just feel that by full disclosure of my past will only serve to hurt my chances for consideration. Honesty is the best policy, but in some cases not the best choice, unfortunately. I have some time before I will complete my st. board commitments. I appreciate the feedback. Please forward any other messages as they come about.
Jul 21, '03
Be aware that some schools have a provision that failure to disclose or falsification on application is grounds for dismissal with out appeal.
Seriously consider the implications of going into a field were you as the provider have continous access to addicitve substances. The stress of nurse anesthesia school and the field in general combined with the access issue spells a relapse waiting to happen. This may not be the best situation to put yourself in.