Back after multi year hiatus and in monitoring

  1. I left nursing in 2000 after diverting benzodiazepines. At the time I never intended to return. My license was suspended a few years later, for a term of three years.

    That changed in 2013, and in 2014 I hired a few lawyers to facilitate the dealings with the BON and to get two felony convictions from this expunged. The expungements took place in 2014. They were for Theft of controlled substances.

    I was required by the BON to get a substance abuse evaluation, a psychological evaluation, three months of successful completion in the ISNAP program for the State of IN, and monetary fines. Slowly but surely I got the evaluations done, paid the fines, and got enrolled in ISNAP. I just got my RMA contract signed, notarized and sent off. My license was also renewed.

    It's odd to be doing all this and to be returning after all these years. It's even stranger to be given this huge list of things that can cause false positives on UDs. I went through treatment and went to a lot of meetings years ago, when I was on Probation for criminal convictions. I am required to attend AA or NA meetings now. I went to one yesterday, and it was very strange. I feel completely out of place. Alcohol was never my drug of choice. I've had plenty of time (15 years) to develop a problem with that if I was going to, and I haven't. Even my Addictionist agrees with me.

    The frustration I feel is related to the "cookie cutter" approach that is used in these programs. I understand there's a risk of cross addiction. I didn't develop one. I stopped using benzodiazepines when I left 15 years ago and have been clean since.

    I've turned my life completely around, gotten a second college degree, remained out of trouble and have significant clean time. It has taken a lot of courage to get to the point where I am now.

    It just feels demeaning and unproductive to have to get rid of/not use things such as household products, hair color, benadryl, mouthwash, even hand sanitizer and perfume. Shall I throw away my shower soap too? Sheesh.

    I also found out that on the OIG Exclusions list I am listed as having a felony conviction for Healthcare Fraud, which I never got. Whoever reports these things made a mistake. Yes I can come off the list after five years (it was put on there in 2003) but that's not the point.
    I'm also making queries on the National Practitioner Database to see what's on there, and add my own statement if I find any incorrect entries.

    Thanks for listening. Has anyone had experience with ISNAP here, or the IN BON?
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  2. Visit SororAKS profile page

    About SororAKS, ADN, RN

    Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 730; Likes: 1,628
    from US
    Specialty: 12 year(s) of experience in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc

    17 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Welcome! (edited to add some more thoughts)

    From what I understand, the best way to get through programs like this is to "fly under the radar" and do EVERY thing you are asked exactly how you are directed.

    That means avoiding all meds/products your monitoring program suggests you do.

    I read somewhere about 60% of folks who enter into state monitoring programs actually graduate them. The other 40%, for whatever reason, either cannot or will not comply with everything set forth by the BON to stay active in nursing

    So yea, that may mean you have to toss out your favorite mouthwash, forgo poppy seeds, etc, to be able to give clean drug screens.

    I have friends who have succeeded in such programs, but only because they submitted COMPLETELY and 100% to the requirements set forth and complied with everything in their contracts.

    I have a vested interest in addiction and recovery due to knowing MANY people, loved many more, in my life, who were or are addicted to alcohol or other substances. Roughly ten percent of the US population (about the same number of health care providers) are addicts, recovering or not. I think when I finally get to that point, my master's thesis will have something to do with addiction in health care providers and/or recovery programs designed by states to assist health care providers to be able to practice actively and safely in recovery. I used to be VERY judgmental against addiction/addicts but no more.

    Anyhow I digress.

    I can't imagine it's easy, but it's the only way if you want to continue as a nurse.

    I wish you the best and congratulate you on taking the steps to get healthy and be productive as a nurse. I honestly hope the best for you.

    PS---- there is a forum here for people in recovery. Check it out!! I bet you can get a lot of help/assistance and advice there.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 7, '15
  4. by   SororAKS
    Thank you, Blue Eyes I intend to comply 100%. I've come too far to stop now. I am too driven and determined.

    Even if I am frustrated.

    Thank you for having empathy.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Frustration is something I have heard from my couple of friends/acquaintances who are/were in State Diversion programs. A LOT OF IT. The ones who succeeded submitted themselves completely, were honest with themselves and others, and had a real desire to live clean and sober lives. I have attended a LOT of al-anon meetings and learned much about addiction and addict behaviors and challenges. I love several addicts/alcoholics and know they are GOOD people who have a disease, much like any other disease. It takes determination and devotion to treat and recover from addiction. This is a family disease and very resistant to treatment.

    That is why so many fail at their State BON programs.

    But from what I see here, you are likely to succeed. And when you do graduate, just think how GOOD you will feel. Stay focused, like you did in nursing school----this WILL END someday.

    ((((hugs))))
  6. by   Horseshoe
    Were you required to take a refresher course after being out of nursing for so long? In my state, if you don't work for four years, you are required to do a refresher course AND 80 hours in clinical with a preceptor, regardless of the reason you have been inactive.

    Congrats on your recovery and good luck in the future.
    Last edit by Horseshoe on Oct 8, '15
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to Nurses in Recovery.

    Best wishes!
  8. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from SororAKS
    Thank you, Blue Eyes I intend to comply 100%. I've come too far to stop now. I am too driven and determined.

    Even if I am frustrated.

    Thank you for having empathy.
    Way back in March I posted a list and resources for products that do not contain alcohol or metabolites from alcohol. It's largely anecdotal as it was formed from contributions from nurses who had had dirty tests w/o drinking. Also most Organic products are safe to use.

    Good luck

    hppy
  9. by   SororAKS
    I had to renew my license to even get in the monitoring program. Renewal rules differ somewhat in my state for nurses suspended then working towards reinstatement. The Board takes it on a case by case basis. I was allowed to turn in CEU's and not take a refresher course. After I am reinstated, I will, however, be applying to a state that has a re entry program in place for those out of practice for longer than five years, which I will be taking. That has 40 hours of CEU's and 160 clinical hours for requirements.
  10. by   SororAKS
    I saw that, and I sure appreciate the list. My monitoring program provided one too, but not as inclusive as yours. Thank you!
    Last edit by SororAKS on Oct 9, '15 : Reason: rewording
  11. by   debkj
    I, too,am trying to return to nursing after leaving in 1998 from diversion and depression. I was in the IPN program for a while and jumped through the hoops, but decided I didn't want to be a nurse really and left the state to go to seminary. I voluntary relinquished my license with eligibility to re-apply after 2 or 3 years. I became a minister, got two degrees, had two more kids, got re-married, etc. I decided to apply for my nursing license again because I live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere! I love it out here, and am teaching on an Indian Reservation. I've seen the need for nurses and feel like I need to redeem this part of my life from 18 years ago.
    So I applied in Nebraska and got a letter back from the board stating they were doing a Pre-licensure Investigation and needed my sponsors name and number, documentation of attending 12 step meetings and documentation of doing the steps. My question is--I have documentation of doing the steps like 3 times in a workbook format. I did it each time with a different sponsor (they kept dying :-(). I can copy this and send it to the investigator, but am concerned this might not be a good idea from a legal standpoint. Can they take the things I've written in there and charge me for diversion from 1998? It sound silly, but as I look through some of my work and copying it, I'm getting nervous. Step work is like a written confession of all kinds of things!
    Anyway, it's good to know there's someone else out there going through what I am. Best of luck to you! I know the frustration of going through recovery when you haven't used in a long time, but on the other hand we can usually find that we are addicted to something. And the steps help with all that. Plus it's a great opportunity to help others.
  12. by   catmom1
    Please, please don't give them a copy of your 4th step!!! You can provide documentation of stepwork without that. I am from Nebraska and completed 5 plus years of monitoring several years ago. It was disgusting to me to endure the observed urine drug screens, quarterly notes from my sponsor attesting that she was my sponsor, etc, etc, etc ad nauseum.

    Anyway, you can just use a statement from someone who knows you now or knew you when you were doing the steps that says you did do them.

    Don't give THEM any more ammunition to make your life miserable than is absolutely necessary.

    As I have said many times here and elsewhere, I recovered in spite of, not because of the bone crushing punishment meted out by my BON.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    Catmom
  13. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from catmom1
    Please, please don't give them a copy of your 4th step!!! You can provide documentation of stepwork without that. I am from Nebraska and completed 5 plus years of monitoring several years ago. It was disgusting to me to endure the observed urine drug screens, quarterly notes from my sponsor attesting that she was my sponsor, etc, etc, etc ad nauseum.

    Anyway, you can just use a statement from someone who knows you now or knew you when you were doing the steps that says you did do them.

    Don't give THEM any more ammunition to make your life miserable than is absolutely necessary.

    As I have said many times here and elsewhere, I recovered in spite of, not because of the bone crushing punishment meted out by my BON.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    Catmom
    This!! Like cat says, please don't give them your 4th step if u don't have to -

    Cat, the RNP people wanted my sponsor's cell number so they could "spot check my sobriety and step work". She wasn't thrilled but said ok. After the first month or so getting phone calls on her days off before 8am she actually had her cell number changed!


    Anne, RNC
  14. by   catsmeow1972
    I staunchly refuse to submit to the ___ anonymous thing because my issue is a bipolar/ mental health thing. For some idiotic reason I am stipulated to go to the meetings even though I don't drink, don't do drugs, don't even smoke, but my state, probably like most works on a cookie cutter approach. Anyhow, I go to the meetings but sit in the back row and discreetly read. I do not identify with the folks there, who I am sure are very nice, I just don't click with, so I keep my trap shut. Anyway I digress. Based on what little I do know regarding the substance of choice.....anonymous thing, I'd like to know how any program can ask for any information regarding who your sponsor is and what work you have done with them. Does that not violate the sponsors anonymity? My contract self report just asks a yes or know regarding sponsorship, not who they are or how to contact them.

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