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New and scared

Recovery   (9,777 Views 30 Comments)
by Sharonrninva Sharonrninva (Member)

Sharonrninva has 16 years experience .

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

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jackstem has 34 years experience and specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,.

14,801 Visitors; 670 Posts

Since there is a difference in criminal law and administrative law (which is how your license issues will be dealt with), a criminal defense attorney should not be used for administrative cases UNLESS they also have EXPERIENCE representing a nurse before the board of nursing. Also, the constitution provides for legal representation in criminal cases when the person cannot afford one. That doesn't apply for civil suits or administrative law cases.

The reason I am so adamant about retaining an attorney when facing licensure issues is we are too emotionally involved in the case to make rational decisions. We also don't have an in depth understanding of the Nurse Practice Act (we aren't attorneys after all). Finally, the board of nursing has attorneys advising them on how to proceed with a case. A nurse should have the same assistance.

If a board of nursing proposes a consent agreement that is unreasonably harsh for the infraction, how would you know? A consent agreement is a contract between the nurse and the board. If you sign the consent agreement and THEN find out it's unreasonably harsh, you may have little recourse. This is the time I see most nurses retain an attorney...too little too late. This is why I recommend a nurse retain a license defense attorney as soon as they receive a notice of a complaint from the BON. Anything you say to a board investigator will likely be forwarded to law enforcement for use during a trial. A consultation doesn't cost as much as retaining an attorney, since a consult is a one time thing. The attorney will review all your documents and interview you, and then provide options for you. Retaining an attorney means they will advise and counsel you as well as represent you before the board, including during a board hearing (if it gets that far).

This is also another reason for nurses to have their own professional liability insurance with a license defense rider. This provides for attorney representation if there is action on the nurse's license. I know...no one ever tells us this when we are in nursing school. Something to consider in the future.

The nursing board does not advocate for the nurse. Their job is to protect the public and to make sure nurses meet a minimum standard of care (another thing they rarely tell us in nursing school).

Jack

Jack

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Sharonrninva has 16 years experience.

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

Thanks Jack and All over. I will be sure to get get the liablility insurance when i am able to work as a nurse again. Hopefully, I will never have to use it. I am very greatful for all your support and will keep you posted on how things go.

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612 Visitors; 2 Posts

Just wanted to let you know the EXACT same thing happened to me two years ago. I attempted to Divert meds from work and even though I did NOT end up taking the meds in the end, the vials had shown they'd been tampered with. The state police came to my place of work and I was so scared and ashamed that I blurted out everything. I REGRET IT! DO NOT talk to the police or the BON investigator without a lawyer present. The Officer that questioned me MISLED me to believe he was ON MY SIDE and told me he would HELP me so I would not get prosecuted if I admitted I did it. Which I did, but i explained that i did NOT TAKE the meds, only ATTEMPTED to, which was the truth, and long story short, the prosecutor wanted to get me for Larceny of a building, (a felony) and wanted to end my career and me for that matter. Oh, and the Trooper that investigated me and told me he'd be on my side, was right there backing the prosecutor saying I was a druggy loser. Even the BON investigator told me the things I told him would NOT effect my criminal case because he would not share the information. Next thing I knew everything I had told him had been brought up in court. Thank God the judge was sorta on my side and I ended up on probation for 18 mos, and a PENDING felony charge IF I didn't go to treatment and if i get into any trouble with the police before my release hearing (which is next week FINALLY) and all that time (the year that I have been on probation,) my backround checks have reflected a FELONY charge. I will finally be released and my record EXPUNGED (never showing I had EVER been charged with a felony, or anything for that matter) next week but it was a hard year of NO work. I am a single mother to three YOUNG children and had to move back in with my parents, I have not worked in two years because no hospitals will hire around here, (I live in a small Northern Michigan city) once I tell them I am in HPRP (which is a recovery program for health prof. here in MI) We are required to tell hospitals and or clinics we interview at, that we are in HPRP,. I have noticed that once I tell them that, they thank me for coming in and of course i never hear from them. I don't know how bigger hospitals in bigger cities react to that. I just know it's hard to find work in Health Care if you lost your job for what you did. Just know that I was once RIGHT where you are at today. I got THIS far and I am thinking that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck, hang in there and chin up because the feeling you have in the pit of your stomach these days, that is the most horrible feeling you could ever explain or imagine, it goes away.

Mel

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Sharonrninva has 16 years experience.

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

Thanks Mel. and you are right, I am scared to death. I dont know how I am going to get through this. I know I will never go back to where I was. I am worried about losing everything, house, car etc. I appreciate everyones posts.

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614 Visitors; 3 Posts

Hi I was thinking those same thoughts almost a month ago. It gets better. I've been clean for a month

My life has greatly improved. I got caught diverting . I'm in counseling and going to meetings. Reading

lots of self improvement books and reading lots of info on addictions. Keepin myself busy! These sites

are great sites they helped me TONSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Especially peer advocacy for impaired nurses.

I will be involved in my states peer assistance chemical dependency program. You should check to see what

they offer in your state. Hoping things start looking better for you:nurse:

http://www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org

http://drugabuse.gov/PODAT/podatindex.html

http://peeradvocacyforimpairednurses.com/articles.html

http://www.i360life.com/science-of-addiction/

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Sharonrninva has 16 years experience.

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

Thank you Veggieeater. I will check them out. I am enrolling in a monitoring program here. I am waiting to start meetings next week. I am so happy that I found this site and knowing that I am not alone. I will keep you posted on how things are going.

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all_over_again has 5 years experience.

3,213 Visitors; 113 Posts

I know it seems contrary to everything we Americans believe, but don't worry about the "stuff"! I am an atheist, but when it comes to having things, I think like a Buddhist. Material things come and go and we have way less control over them than we think we have.

Your first order of business should be getting yourself well. Once you are well, you can start rebuilding and repaying everything else.

FYI, bankruptcy lawyers are surprisingly affordable and helpful. For me and my family, having them deal with creditors and material stuff took a huge load off of my shoulders. I am sober and healthy, and I just made the last payment on my debts. Still have the car and the house, by the way!

Don't despair! Nothing is unfixable except death and taxes, and even those things can be dealt with!

Virtual hugs to you! It's gonna be okay.

All_Over_Again

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Sharonrninva has 16 years experience.

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

I guess the reason I am so upset about the house mainly is because it had belonged to my mother. She left it to me when she passed away. I have a small mortgage on it. And of course my car. Without that I cant get a job. I am looking hard to find one. Outside of nursing of course. I still haven't met with the detective yet but I have started counseling and turned in my app to the monitoring program. So now I'm playing the waiting game. But I'm trying to think positive. I know now that I have been clean for 2 months and I probably couldn't have done it on my own.

I do thank you all for your support!!

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mommybabyRN has 6 years experience.

1,110 Visitors; 2 Posts

You are SO NOT ALONE! About 3 months ago, I was fired for diverting as well. When it first happened, I was overwhelmed with shame and guilt. I thought, how could I do something so stupid? How could I risk my license, the thing that meant the most to me for a high?? I beat myself up continuously. I went straight to rehab and learned this-I am not a bad person, I did a bad thing. My addiction was not a choice I made, it is a disease that I am powerless over and it made me temporarily insane. Now that I'm clean, it amazes me how I was able to rationalize my behavior (stealing drugs, using them at work, taking care of patients high!!!??) I'm not saying to forget about what you did, because remembering the consequences are an important part of your recovery. All we can do now is learn from our mistakes and move on in a new, healthy direction. I know what I did was so wrong, but I can't change it now. So it's counterproductive to continue dwelling on it. Get the help you need now so you never have to go back to the life you were living. There's nowhere to go but up from here on out. You're obviously a smart and caring person, otherwise, you wouldn't be a nurse. So give yourself a break and do what you have to do to get your license back. I don't know if you're in your state's monitoring program yet, I am in NJ and sometimes it can feel like jumping through hoops constantly. But just keep taking it one day at a time, and before you know it, you'll have your license back. That's what I keep telling myself...one day at a time! So much love and good luck to you!

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sissiesmama has 22 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG.

21,615 Visitors; 1,893 Posts

Welcome!! I could see so much of myself in your posting. I wasn't sure if my hospital had called the police dept when I was caught, and I can still remember the feeling I got every time I heard a car stop at my house, peeking through the blinds - that sick feeling!

I have beneiftted so much from our state's weekly nursing meeting. I have 10 years now, and some days I didn't think I'd make it through one day, much less a year..

I could not find a nursing job when I got out of treatment, and ended up working at Subway every day from 11 am to 1pm. Did not pay the bills, but it did help. Feel free anytime to pm if u need to - good luck and hugs to u!

Anne, RNC

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Sharonrninva has 16 years experience.

995 Visitors; 16 Posts

Thank you both for your post. This whole thing really makes you feel alone. I did find out that there are no charges being filed. That is a big relief. I have been trying to find a job anyway and have not had any luck at all. I am in the monitoring program through the state. I am hoping that I dont have to wait too long to go back to work. I have a decided to sell my house since I will probably lose it soon anyway. Not sure what will happen next. But I will keep you informed. Thanks for all the caring comments!

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1,939 Visitors; 16 Posts

sharon, i've read your posts since the first and was hesistant to respond, but want to offer several things. in 2006 i had to deal with what was developing into a major problem in my life/practice. thought it wasn't affecting my work. my life was in chaos, and i saw work as my time of peace. i was totally denying not only my errors, but misjudging the whole situation. i diverted, got by for long time, then got "caught' for something that i didn't even do, but investigation would have probably turned up many things that i had done that hadn't been found out. total meltdown. joined vahpip, no other choice, but felt put upon to jumpthrough their hoops. still had criminal charges, ending in not diversion charges, but possession of percription control and non control drugs, and a petty larceny tacked on for good measure. spent one weekend in jail. couldn't find work, finally got hired cleaning public spaces for a resort, but not allowed to clean rooms r/t larceny charge. total lack of face in a small rural community, where i had been born and raised. could hardly afford drug testing fees, community services therapy, etc. dropped out for about 10 months cause my $7.00 an hour and food stamps, etc. couldn't pay for gas to classes. did not relapse on substance, but still pursued chaos as a way of life. finally got through all that, re accepted by vahpip and worked the program. after 2 years of working for resort, was miraculously offered mds job, administrator moved to va beach, and offered me a charge nurse job there. worked there for 1 1/2 years, renting a room and going home to see my family every other week. point being, kept going cause there were no other options. just last week was released from vahpip, successfully completing program, letter from board, saying congratulations, no more restrictions, good luck continuing your recovery. had to move me and family to house down here, five hours from old community and all people i "knew". life is better now, i have peace and my employer trusts me. i never thought this could happen, but it has. i learned many things, completely lost any arrogance, "yeah, but i didn't" type of attitude. you can make it though this. i think that maybe because i did go through this in va i could be of some help to you. i could share in that total im' a bad person and ruined everything with my own hands, to 'i didn't really do anything that many others aren't doing" to "i did the best i could then but have built up different resources/supports now". please contact me if you think i could answer any questions, or help you in any way. don't know other states practices, but do know that va puts you on the ground, watches you pee, and at least at first doesn't believe a word you say. it's because they really don't have an easy way to help you correct the mess you made, but are mandated to try to help you return to work safely. please know that you have been on my mind, contact me and maybe we can help each other. i am sure of one thing--you are not a bad person, you have talents/strengths and limitations, and can learn to maximize the one, and minimize the limitations. i do hope to hear from you.

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