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Impaired Nurses

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[i've just recently learned about a program for nurses that may need help with a drug or alcohol problem known as the impaired nurses. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this subject. Should nurses that have a problem be allowed back into the work place after they have received help? What if they have a relapse?]

Yes i do believe nurses who have done the right thing by taking responsibility for their addiction should be allowed back into the workplace.

And i do believe in monitoring nurses who have had an addiction. IMHO the HCF would be irresponsible by not monitoring nurses with a known addiction as it may compromise patient safety.

 

For nurses who have stolen narcotics from the HCF etc i agree with teeituptom that they should always be monitored.

 

As for other drug and alcohol addictions where the nurse hasn't stolen drugs from the HCF i don't believe they should be monitored for the rest of their careers.

Ahhh, but you contradict yourself here.....first you say we should be monitored, but then you say that if we didn't divert we shouldn't be monitored for the rest of our careers. I'm sorry, but nurses who are addicted are addicted. It shouldn't matter if we diverted from the facility or not, if you feel that we should be monitored then don't distinguish between those of us who diverted and those who didn't. And one more thing: if we should be monitored for the rest of our careers because we are addicted to a chemical, then drunk drivers should never ever ever get their licenses back either. Fair?

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And one more thing: if we should be monitored for the rest of our careers because we are addicted to a chemical, then drunk drivers should never ever ever get their licenses back either. Fair?

only if these drunk drivers are confirmed alcoholics, then yes, they too, should be monitored.

leslie

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[Ahhh, but you contradict yourself here.....first you say we should be monitored, but then you say that if we didn't divert we shouldn't be monitored for the rest of our careers. I'm sorry, but nurses who are addicted are addicted. It shouldn't matter if we diverted from the facility or not, if you feel that we should be monitored then don't distinguish between those of us who diverted and those who didn't. And one more thing: if we should be monitored for the rest of our careers because we are addicted to a chemical, then drunk drivers should never ever ever get their licenses back either. Fair?]

.

I made it clear that any nurse caught stealing narcs from their HCF should be monitored for the rest of their nursing career.

PPL who haven't stolen drugs but have had an addiction should still be monitored but not forever.

I don't see how i've contradicted myself. I have just made a distinction between nurses who have an addiction, and nurses who have an addiction and steal narcs from their HCF. I guess i see the stealing side of it as a bigger breach of trust.

To be honest (and i'll probably get flamed for this) if you get caught stealing narcs and you still get to work as a nurse, IMHO instead of complaining about being monitored, you should just consider yourself lucky to still be allowed to work in nursing.

As for drunk drivers, i don't have a problem with them not being allowed to drive for the rest of their lives either. Might make the roads a bit safer...:)

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I've known alot of impaired nurses, all in the OBN PEER assistance program in OKLA. Two deceased, takeing their own lives. Both due to the OBN placing them on the OIG exclusionary list, making it impossible for them to work due to medicare/medicaid exclusion. In my opiniion this is Double Jeopardy, these nurses were violated twice for a single offense after they voluntarilly reported themsleves to the OBN. First OBN sanctions judication then Office Of Inspector Generals exclusionary list and sanctions. Both excellant nurses, one overdosed and the other took a hunting knife to his throat in his ex-wife's front yard. Both senseless. How much punishment should be ajudicated to fit this crime of Addiction.

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I've known alot of impaired nurses, all in the OBN PEER assistance program in OKLA. Two deceased, takeing their own lives. Both due to the OBN placing them on the OIG exclusionary list, making it impossible for them to work due to medicare/medicaid exclusion. In my opiniion this is Double Jeopardy, these nurses were violated twice for a single offense after they voluntarilly reported themsleves to the OBN. First OBN sanctions judication then Office Of Inspector Generals exclusionary list and sanctions. Both excellant nurses, one overdosed and the other took a hunting knife to his throat in his ex-wife's front yard. Both senseless. How much punishment should be ajudicated to fit this crime of Addiction.

I have never been an addict nor an alcoholic, althought my mother and younger brother both suffered from the disease of alcoholism. I believe nurses, that have voluntarily turned themselves into their state's board of nursing impaired nurses program and successfully complete it, should be followed for a reasonable period of time.

I am sorry about these two nurses. But something was wrong with their physicians, their employers, their peers, their impaired nurses program, that someone did not note the deep degree of their depression. I cannot believe that these two nurses just suddenly killed themselves, without giving warning signs off.

Kitty:balloons:

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It's not the confirmed recovery alcholics-addicts we need to worry about,(if they are in recovery) it's the alcoholics/addict that hasn't been discovered yet that we have to worry about. They are the ones who are going to work, store, on the road everyday and all without anyone knowing. Did you see research saying that the most prevelent growth of meth addicts are soccer moms. How many soccer moms are nurses.

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I have been in the Voluntary Recovery Program in Pennsylvania nearly 3years. One of my urine screens has shown positive for a substance unknown, the VRP does not disclose. I have not relapsed in any way. I believe I ingested a sugar alcohol sweetner in diet candy that may have caused this reading. The Board will not accept my explanation...I don't know what to do.....this is devastating. If I had used I would tell them. I am very happy in my recovery. Up to this point my record has been perfect with them. Now my permission to work as an RN is on hold pending public discipline.....I am innocent and have no idea how to navigate this situation.... They want yet another explanation of my"relapse" by Oct 3,2008......there is nothing more I can tell them. Any feedback on this problem would be helpful. Thank you.:cry:

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:no: willykittyrn, i am so sorry to hear about you situation. my suggestion is if you suggest a drug test done on your hair and that is a sure fire way to prove that you have not done anything. it will require you to give a hair sample and that will give them a 6 month history of proof of no drug use. check it out online. it can be expensive but it will hold up in court. and then if you are 100% clean and theywill not accept that option, get a lawyer.

 

you have done a wonderful job staying clean for 3 yrs and that is a great accomplishment. in my expereince with my board they are unforgiving and are only interested in making you fill like a criminal. i know they have they put public saftey first, but recovering nurses need to be on the panels when reviewing individual cases as to the punishment.:deadhorse

 

also remember some food may make you test + for substances. sobi (spelling??) has a drink that can cause you to test + for meth.

 

good luck

 

lisa p

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Thank you so much PRESLA. I will heed your advice. There is a clause in my contract that implies I cannot litigate with the Board.... I need to see if that is an absolute. I sure do feel like a criminal. I feel like I did right in the very beginning of my recovery. Yuck. Thank you again, stay in touch.

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This is an interesting thread, and opinions will always differ.

I am responding to this post as a nurse and as the daughter of a opiate addict/alcoholic.

I believe that our first duty is patient safety. I am aware that nurses who become addicted, while the first time of the drug may have been a choice, the subsequent addiction that followed was not.

We are human, and I guaruntee most of the population is addicted to some substance, whether it be caffiene, sugar or heroin. Obviously the consequences of these substances differ.

There are rehabilitation programs for people in various careers, and nursing should not be an exception.

However, in nursing, there are much higher risks than there are in say, computer programming. A computer programmer may costs millions of dollars in a computer code error, where as a nurse may kill a patient, which is priceless.

Another thing that should be considered, there are MANY areas of nursing where patient care is not directly done. Perhaps these nurses should be fitted in a pertient area to reduce their risk of relapse (the drugs are not available) and the patients are safe.

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Ahhh, but you contradict yourself here.....first you say we should be monitored, but then you say that if we didn't divert we shouldn't be monitored for the rest of our careers. I'm sorry, but nurses who are addicted are addicted. It shouldn't matter if we diverted from the facility or not, if you feel that we should be monitored then don't distinguish between those of us who diverted and those who didn't. And one more thing: if we should be monitored for the rest of our careers because we are addicted to a chemical, then drunk drivers should never ever ever get their licenses back either. Fair?

I agree with you that drunk drivers should never get their licenses back either. I also agree with you that whether they divert drugs or not, if they are addicts they should be monitored.

I always try to be agreeable.

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We just lost a nurse from my unit to drug abuse. A year ago I would have ranked her as one of our top nurses and would have been comfortable letting her care for my kids, not now though.

I hope she works with our BON to complete their addicted nurse rehab program and is able to return to nursing. The program is tough; 3 years, dependency treatment, random testing for drugs/alcohol, AA/NA meetings, support groups, workplace monitoring, etc. If she completes it successfully then yes, I would love to see her back in our unit.

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