Drug abuser coming back to work

  1. Ok.....here goes. We had a coworker who went to administration stating that she had a drug problem. Totally came clean with it and asked for help. She was not diverting form the facility. Using drugs on her way to work. Was high while taking care of pts. Not only did she come clean with the hospital, but, went to the newspaper and had her face plastered on the front page talking about it. Now, my first reaction was shock and disbelief! Then, I thought to myself, "WOW!" That took a lot of courage to do such a thing. Now, everyone is talking about her. She did this, she did that. ( I really can't stand the unit gossip that goes on)Saying horrible things. It just really upsets me that this woman needs support, not judgement. Aren't we, as a profession, suppose to help her get through this hard time? Yes, I can't believe she did it either. But, I do have compassion for her. Did we forget that our own are only human after all? Ok....I'm done now. Just wanted to get that off of my chest.
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    About mamason

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 574; Likes: 220
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in cardiac


  3. by   angelwingsamy
    i think its hard enough for someone with a problem to admit it. especially her and her position. she knew that all aspects of her life would change if she came out and she still did. i respect her for that.

    that does not mean i agree with all that she may have done prior to this.
  4. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    while i commend her for coming clean (admitting one has a problem is the first step to recovery), i don't know why she felt the need to bring the media's attention to her personal issues. everyone knows how celebrities with drug problems are talked about amongst people who don't even know them...now make the local "celebrity" someone people do know. naturally, people are going to talk. i'm not saying it's right, of course, but she couldn't expect everyone to see her picture in the paper and either ignore it or drown her image in platitudes.
  5. by   Quickbeam
    Gossip is never helpful so I hear you there. The one big surprise in my nursing career was how often this issue would come up. My first experience was horrible and that made it more difficult for me to be sympathetic for the subsequent situations.

    The first time I worked with a drug diverter, we were all cast under suspicion. Once she was caught she was sent away to rehab for 8 weeks at hospital expense. When she returned she got a coveted day charge position. We all had to go to mandatory classes about how to best support our co-worker. Even the nicest among us was fed up at that point. She abused 3 more times before finally getting fired.

    I understand the OP's situation did not involve drug diversion (that they know of) and I'm all about live and let live. However, if this person's return inconveniences even one other nurse, they have my sympathies.
  6. by   classicdame
    If she weren't the topic du jour someone else would be. She just made herself an easy target for gossipers. Glad you want to support her decision to "come clean".
  7. by   racing-mom4
    We have a similar case in our town, except she dint come clean, she got got caught and arrested. So her mug shot is in the paper every few days, and the nurses at the hospital find the need to photo copy the articles and post them around the units. Every one is talking about it from the Drs to the housekeeping staff.

    FYI she has not worked at our facility in 5+years, she got in trouble at our facility for narcs coming up short and she out and out stole a blue pad and forged a Drs name. We did nothing to her except for terminate her So she took a job in the town over and got arrested for doing the same thing but they turned her in.

    Every time I come across the photo copied articles I throw them in the shredder. Every time I am asked I say that we dropped the ball on that one, that she obviously needed help and we did not provide it.

    That is my main pet peeve about nursing, the gossiping.
  8. by   RN1989
    I really respect her decision to really go public with this.

    First off, she is letting the public know that nurses are people just like everyone else. Nurses make mistakes. By going public with her story, she is helping not only herself but others by educating the public that drug abuse happens to people of all walks of life, not just those people who sleep in gutters. Too many people believe that drugs, alcoholism, abuse, and even murder is something that happens to "those kind of people" and no one is willing to help these people because "they aren't like us". The truth is - they are just like you and me. They have the same hopes, fears, dreams, and needs just like any other person. By going public with her story, I believe that she is doing her part in educating ignorant people and trying to reduce prejudices. Prejudice of all kinds causes misunderstandings between people daily.

    Sometimes it is also easier to make the right choices to stop performing the unwanted behavior if others no about it. Face it, everyone seems to make resolution to get fit and exercise every January 1. But fewer people actually continue the exercising after a few months. But the chances of success greatly improve if you tell someone about your goal to exercise daily and they remind you and encourage you to exercise. Same thing applies in this situation because she now has a greater incentive to stay clean because others are watching. And she has openly owned up to her mistake.

    I commend this woman for her courage to face things head on, knowing that the gossip mongers would have a field day. We should all remember that everyone deserves more than one chance. God does.
  9. by   suespets
    I can't think of a sane reason for advertising her problem in the newspaper, maybe some psychiatrist coud explain that.
  10. by   dream'n
    Maybe she went to the news to let others know that there is help available for them also and they aren't alone. Or maybe she wants to come out honestly as an incentive to stay clean, as everyone will be watching.

    I respect her and hope that those close to her are supportive.

    In my experiences, those that gossip only do it because of self-esteem issues and to make themselves feel superior.
  11. by   sample24
    I commend this person for taking the first step to recovery, but wouldn't her methodology leave her wide open for litigation from any person who has ever been cared for by her and that is looking for an easy buck??
  12. by   Dalzac
    I have bent over backwards to help the recovering nurse, and have been in recovery for a very long time and I don't get the newspaper thing ?? Why draw attention to yourself? It talks about media coverage in the AA big Book and the NA Basic text. And the worst case scenerio is that she falls and relapses then all that does is add more fuel to the naysayers. Everyone I know knows I am in recovery but I am not going to plaster my mug all over the paper. I would much rather to walk the walk instead of talk the talk.
  13. by   aeauooo
    Quote from mamason
    Aren't we, as a profession, suppose to help her get through this hard time? Yes, I can't believe she did it either. But, I do have compassion for her.
    Well, she has you, doesn't she? You may have more power to help her get through this than you know. Tell her how you feel. Don't make a big show of it - something to the effect of, "I really admire you for what you did and I'm glad to have you back." When other people start gossiping about her remind them of the courage it took for her to admit she had a problem and get clean.

    The first couple of months will probably be the most difficult, and she's going to be under the microscope - people will be looking for mistakes. Take her side. Eventually, it will all die down.

    Which is not to say that she won't have to live with the stigma of being an addict, but the time will come when she can use it to her advantage and be a better nurse because of it.

    I've been there.
  14. by   TazziRN
    As someone who has been there, gonig back to work is almost harder than admitting a problem. I took a six-month leave to get clean and I knew that I would have to prove myself when I went back to work. I worked hard at my recovery and I stayed clean. I worked my patootie off to try and become a part of the team again. It wasn't until I left 5 years later that I realized I had never earned back anyone's trust except for one or two people who were my friends. I learned that, even 5 years later, whenever the count was off the first thing they did was check to see if I was working that day, or if I accessed that pt in the Pyxis. After yet one more incident of being called into the office about a complaint about my work, I was almost in tears and I told the NM, "I feel like I have to be perfect." Her answer was, "You do."

    When I started my new job a hour away, three months later, several former coworkers worked at that ER per diem. I found out that two of them went to the NM and urged that I not be hired. When I was, they told the other staff that they need to "watch out for her, she likes the good stuff." I thank God every day that the NM and staff gave me a chance in spite of what they'd heard, and I was able to prove myself there.

    Believe me, we know that we have to earn the trust back. Don't make it impossible for us.