I was recently fired from my hospital job for diversion of fentanyl. I was sent to the EAP and have been seeing a Doctor for the past four weeks. This will soon stop after my fifth visit. I am also going to look into out patient for myself but am afraid of the cost due to not having insurance now. I am 26years old and really without any supportive family but luckily have a few close friends and a boyfriend who has been my rock since discovering my substance abuse problem. I will try not to drone on too much. My question really is what should I do? I understand that I need to face my issues head on in order to deal with them but I am scared and afraid I have ruined any chance of ever working as a nurse again. My former employers did not press charges and I was told this would be reported to the board of nursing. I am going to self report and probably should have done so right after I was fired but again I have been too afraid to honestly deal with any of this. I have considered voluntarily surrendering my licsense. I have been told by some to just get another nursing job but I do NOT feellike that is the right thing to do or that I am mentally capable of doing so at this time. I am ashamed of what I have let myself become and not reaching out for help sooner. I am going to do whatever it is I need to do to move on and better myself as a person. If that means I will never be a nurse again then I will have to accept that.

-Can anyone tell me what may happen when I self report?

-Anything I could do before self reporting?

-If I voluntarily surrender my license will that be the end of it?

-What kind of disiplinary action will or could the Illinois department of financial and professional regulation take?

any information would be appreciated.

Thank you


Davey Do

1 Article; 10,253 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

Welcome to AN.com, Jennifer!

The mods will probably move your thread, but in the meantime check out this forum:


Good luck to you!

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,214 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Moved to appropriate forum...best wishes in your recovery. You will find support here.


94 Posts

Welcome to Allnurses and just know that you are not alone.....there are many of us here who have been where you are right now, and know how scary this must feel.

My advice is to self-report, as it sounds like your employer will report you anyways, which is their obligation. However, self-reporting may look better to your BON; that you are taking responsibility for actions. Find out if your state has an alternative to discipline program. This is monitoring program where you are monitored for a period of time (2 to 5 years) and you keep your license. However, there will be restrictions on your practice (cannot work around or have access to controlled substances, work in hime health, pool nursing, and your job must be approved by your monitor liason, etc......) Monitoring sounds very daunting in the beginning, but it has saved some our lives here and our practice. It is not a perfect program, and opinions of it vary, but I can only share my experience with it.

If you get into a monitoring program and successfully complete it, then there will be no disciplinary action against you and your license will be clear.

I don't know how it works if you surrender your license, meaning if the BON takes any further action or not. Maybe others on this site can shed some light on that. It will be.up to you to decide if nursing is something you still want to do....and if you do, just know that we are here for you: we have been where you are, understand how you feel and many of us are in monitoring programs. You are not alone.

Whatever you decide, your sobriety must come first. Take care of YOU, good job for sticking with meeting with a counselor. Are you going to NA or AA? Those meetings are free and can be very helpful with learning how to live a sober life.

Take a deep breath, take it one day at a time but don't be afraid to reach out. Take care.

Has 35 years experience.

First of all if that is your real name I suggest changing it. Second. Do not surrender your license. Im not from Illinois, but will let you know its gonna be ok. Many nurses have been through this and survived! Your career isnt over. We have all asked ourselves these same questions. Monitoring is tough at first and then gets easier. If you could get COBRA or state insurance and get in outpatient rehab asap. If you self report it may be looked upon favorably. I dont know your states program so I really cant say. For me I needed the program to help me get off that crazy train and stay off! Go to NA mtgs. Just knowing you arent alone and others are like you is helpfuk. Good luck


1 Article; 720 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

*Hug* You are not alone. Many of us have been where you are, gone through our respective state monitoring programs, saved our careers, and got our self respect back. You can too.

I know how overwhelming everything looks right now. I know how tempting it looks to just surrender your license and walk away. I did walk away, 16 years ago. I made the decision to attempt to come back to nursing a few years ago, and was able to recently get my license reinstated on Probation. Had I not walked away it would've made a lot of things more clear cut and I might be working right now. Walking away, while it was my choice, didn't solve anything. The immediate stress of getting into monitoring and dealing with the Board of Nursing was no longer a factor, but I still had to face the fact that I had failed. I felt like I had no place to go for a long time, because I didn't have the courage to face that I had deviated from everything I had held so dear to me, my ideals of nursing that I had shattered. I got clean immediately, went to treatment, and have stayed clean since; but the licensure stuff didn't go away. I still had to deal with the Board requirements and go through monitoring, 15 years later.

Someone once said to not make any important decisions under pressure. Some times life isn't so simple. Based on my own experience, however, I second Big Blondie's comment above on not surrendering your license, at least not right now. Give it time.

The sooner you face this, the better off things will be. I know you cannot see how at the moment. Make that first step and trust that it will get better. Look into getting state insurance if you can't afford other forms, or see into treatment centers that might have a sliding scale fee schedule. That was what I did. While not everyone is helped by Narcotics Anonymous, many have been. You could also look for Atheists or Agnostic meetings if they have them in your area and if the religious aspects turn you off. The point is, there's help out there. There's also help here in this forum.

I'm not in IL, but most states will ask you to report to the peer assistance program if you haven't already. If you do so, and your former employer decides not to report you, depending on the Board of Nursing regulations, you could avoid a complaint and discipline if you report first and sign up with the state monitoring program. I would highly suggest consulting an attorney who specializes in Board of Nursing administrative law, however, before signing a contract and in case there might be disciplinary measures taken against your license. Regarding surrendering your license, if that is your decision, in most states it is treated as a revokation.....and is reported to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services at a the Federal level. They, in turn, will report to the OIG, the Office of the Inspector General, will likely place you on the Exclusions List. That makes it almost impossible to find a job. The state Board will also report you to the NPDB, National Practitioner Data Bank. I'm not trying to scare you with that. It has happened to me, with my license suspension years ago, and has happened to many others. If you have a chance to avoid such things by not surrendering, it is worth taking under advisement :)

The monitoring programs are far from perfect, but they do save lives and careers.

Good luck, take things one day at a time, and keep us posted.

allnurses Guide

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

Since you were caught and terminated--and thus there is a possibility that your employer will report you to the BON--it may better to self-report. However, I agree with SororAKS: consult an attorney versed in nursing issues before signing anything. Sometimes diversion/monitoring programs/BONs set unrealistic stipulations and you may be so nervous about everything that you sign first and then question it later. You and an attorney should review any contract before signing it.

As far as your own recovery...it being about a month now, you should be well past any opiate withdrawal symptoms. If you're not, see your PCP.

Now comes the hard part. If you can get into an outpatient program, that would be great. If not, there are always recovery groups. Narcotics Anonymous would be the best fit for you, though you could consider SMART Recovery. NA is more spiritually-based (NOT religion-based) and is the traditional 12-Step program. SMART is more cognitively-based, and this often appeals to those who have issue with the concept of a Higher Power. Or some just like the different approach.

There are other groups out there, religious and otherwise, but NA and SMART are the two I'd recommend first. Try both and see which one you like. Whatever one(s) you decide on--and yes, you could attend both if you wanted--make it a goal to attend at least 90 meetings in 90 days.

It's your call as to whether to attend open or closed meetings. You can go to either or both. Open means they are open to everyone regardless of whether they have a substance abuse problem, so your boyfriend could go with you if you/he wanted. Closed are restricted to only people who have/think they may have an abuse problem, so no boyfriend in tow unless he's also an addict. And to be honest, sometimes the closed meeting is better because you may feel more comfortable opening up with others about your addiction (whereas if he was in the crowd, you may be too conscious of his presence, what he's going to think, how he will react, etc.).

Also, tell the boyfriend about Nar-Anon, which is a support group for family/friends of addicts. You shouldn't--you can't, really--force him to attend meetings, but at least he will know it's there if he needs his own support.

All you can do is take it one day at a time. Best of luck.