Unemployed and Monitoring Program

  1. So, I currently still have (hopefully) 56 more weeks in my Monitoring Program. (yes, I actually have it counted down. I'm sure other people do too.) I am in a 3 year program my license limited to a very small state. During my active addiction off and on over 12 years I managed to get myself terminated from 3 major hospitals (we have 6) in the state, with no eligibility of rehire. I abused my own prescriptions for narcotics and benzos, often doctor shopped knowing the surgeons so well. After the last termination in 2014, I finally hit rock bottom. After I left rehab in 2014, I got divorced, my children went and lived with their fathers, I moved back in with my parents, got a minimum wage job, and I worked on myself. When I finally felt strong enough I started putting out applications for nursing again. Got an interview. Like others, made the mistake of telling HR I was in a monitoring program. Never received a call back. I did get a job at a Surgicenter, mainly because a friend worked there. He said he told our nurse manager of my addiction issues before I she hired me and her exact words were, "I don't care if she smokes crack, as long as she is a good nurse." I worked there for almost a year. I quit in June because they did not follow policy, correct nursing practice, unethical and illegal practices were going on. I was afraid I would lose my license working there. It just seems the limited interviews I am able to apply for (because of the small state) go very well. But once I tell them about the monitoring program, they want nothing to do with me. Has anyone else experienced this? I know If I lived in a bigger state and had a better previous employment history it would be different. I've got to figure out something because the cost of the random drug screens and regular monthly bills are piling up.
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    About Starprism888

    Joined: Sep '16; Posts: 4; Likes: 3

    14 Comments

  3. by   catsmeow1972
    On the interviewing issue, yep, yep and yep. Many figure out real fast to not say a thing to HR. I find that recruiters are rarely nurses themselves, especially in smaller hospitals. A lot of times a non nurse has no idea what these programs even are. They see what may be on the license or the hear "contract" or "monitoring" and stop listening. Might be preconceived prejudice or just being clueless. If you can make it the 56 weeks (and yes, we all count weeks, day, etc.) you might try to make it instead of flogging yourself. Do you emphasize that you've only barely a year left? Don't know if it'll help but it can't hurt.
  4. by   heynow1313
    who exactly are you supposed to disclose to?
  5. by   catsmeow1972
    Me personally, i bring it up at the end of the interview.
    Interviewer So do you have any questions?
    Me: Well, there is......
    Within the department, the person interviewing me is more than likely the person I will have to answer to so they of course would need to know. What I don't do...and i learned this the hard way (like I learn most things)...Do not put it in a cover letter, do not mention it in that first contact with HR and do not treat it like it is a stone you've been dragging for the last few years. You are not obligated to discuss the dirty details of your background. Just that you have this thing and it'll go away in a year. By the time you get this far, you may well find out that this kind of a background is more common than you think.
    Interviewing is a ghastly chore, as is being the new kid on the block. It's easy to feel you are hiding something from people, but then you don't share what color underwear you are wearing that day, so why should this be much different.
    I consider this to be a "need to know" thing, and most people don't need to know.
  6. by   catsmeow1972
    I must admit that I am also slightly jealous of you in that you've got a 3 year sentence. In my state, 5 years with identical stipulations (key restriction, no home health, no agency, therapist, psychiatrist for med management, no overtime, pee tests, and 12-step meetings, etc) for everyone regardless of why they are there. Supposedly "research shows that 5 years of this results in a lower relapse rate." Right, ok...is that evidence based or a nicely twisted statistic to justify laziness?
    You will make it the next 56 weeks. You've made it this far. You've done so much to rise above this. I do have one other suggestion. Do you have to attend a nurse support group? Even though I am a mental health participant, attendance is part of my contract and the particular one I am assigned to is addictions focused. I must admit, it has been a handy thing. (God, I hate when i have to eat a large slice of humble pie!)I have learned a lot about the folks there and addictions in general and truthfully, I've a new respect for them. They've been a great source of job leads and generally good people.
    Not every nurse job is in a hospital. Insurance companies, outside case management (usually things like Medicare utilization review companies.) etc.
    I hope I've helped.
  7. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    Quote from catsmeow1972
    Supposedly "research shows that 5 years of this results in a lower relapse rate." Right, ok...is that evidence based or a nicely twisted statistic to justify laziness?
    It is evidence based, although the most often cited study only ran for 8 years... Relapse rate drops to less then 15% after five years of continuous sobriety. An eight-year perspective on the relationship between the duration of abstinence and other aspects of recovery. - PubMed - NCBI

    Some studies put relapse rate down to 7% after five years.

    Agree that the best place for job leads is going to be with other recovering medical professionals. OP, if you don't have to attend a monitoring meeting with other nurses who are also under monitoring, you might try looking around for healthcare professional based AA groups and/or Caduceus groups. (Caduceus can be hard to find because they tend to cater to physicians, at least in my area, so don't exactly advertise.) You're not the only one under monitoring in your area and not the only one under monitoring with a crappy work history, so hopefully something will work out...I'm assuming you've tried dialysis, nursing home, psych hospitals?
  8. by   catsmeow1972
    My snark about the flat 5 year thing is that study was regarding addiction/sobriety statistics. For the addicted persons, that may very well be true. The mental health folks get put in the same box because "we just don't have that many." so I've been told. Kind of a "we don't have the medicine for your illness so we're going to give you this other one which will probably do more damage than good" mentality. The standardized contract for a nonstandard illness has been discussed in other threads.
  9. by   Starprism888
    Trust me, I originally thought I was only going to be in the program for 2 years. I then learned it was 3 years and was let down. Then I found this site and saw that the norm is 5 years. I feel I was let off easy compared to what some of these nurses are going through. I have restrictions too (like you: no home health or anywhere without direct supervisor, urine tests, therapist, NP Psychiatry for Meds, 12 meetings...I'm not sure about the key restrictions, I worked in the OR so I never gave meds anesthesia did and my boss allowed me to stay out of med counts). I read the post about the changes that should be made regarding these programs...individualizing the care. I agree with everyone of them. I have been struggling with whether or not I would advise a nurse who told me they thought they had an addition to self report to the BON. I feel if they were putting patients in danger or diverting then yes it would be a duty to report. But if it was something different, these programs are not to help you. I have never experienced this much stress in my life. Worrying about what I eat, whether it has poppy seeds or was cooked with alcohol. If I use too much hand sanitizer. An over the counter medication can give you a positive test result and then you're accused of using. And they won't believe you, because you're an addict and addicts lie. Then if you are unemployed because of the monitoring program, you have to decide if you want to feed your children or pay for your urine tests. Can't pay for your urine tests? No problem, that's breaking your contract and you'll lose your license. My life is better now than it ever was, so yes I do owe something to be in this monitoring program. But there needs to be another way besides "this is the contract - sign it" or "lose your license."
  10. by   catsmeow1972
    I too am OR. Although the stress of a badly run OR is what helped out the crash and burn episode that got me here. My first job out of the gate with this ball and chain was also run like a nursery school sandbox. I am looking for something outside OR now. Its difficult considering that's all ice done for 15 years. I'm at 2 years and 11 months to go....not counting or anything.
  11. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    Quote from catsmeow1972
    My snark about the flat 5 year thing is that study was regarding addiction/sobriety statistics. For the addicted persons, that may very well be true. The mental health folks get put in the same box because "we just don't have that many." so I've been told. Kind of a "we don't have the medicine for your illness so we're going to give you this other one which will probably do more damage than good" mentality. The standardized contract for a nonstandard illness has been discussed in other threads.
    But the OP identifies as an addict.


    Fwiw I would never tell someone to self-report. However, if you end up in monitoring for a legit addiction issue, you've usually earned that spot by diverting and/or acting erratic or impaired enough that someone reported you. Obviously this doesn't include folks under monitoring for most mental health problems, positive UDS for marijuana, most first time DUIers...etc.
  12. by   catsmeow1972
    Agreed! And precisely my points.
  13. by   Twoyearnurse
    Agreed. I earned my contract! I do feel for individuals stuck in these programs for mental health. Really, how is paying for $$$$ of UA's helping someone who has bipolar disorder? I am pretty fortunate, my state- though it does not have an alternative to discipline program, does take the individual into account and adjusts the contracts accordingly.
  14. by   Starprism888
    Yes, I am definitely an addict. I am lucky or maybe not, depending on how you look at it, that no one reported me to the BON during the 12 years of active addiction. I self reported while in rehab. The 3 places I was terminated from, I went to all of them impaired. It was at the beginning of my shift, so no patient care took place. But still for no one to turn me in....I think now though it would be totally different with all of the education on SUD and impaired nursing. I was actually diagnosed as bipolar in 2009. Funny thing is, since I've stopped using the bipolar symptoms are gone. I feel so much better being off the bipolar meds for over a year and a half. I think the bipolar symptoms were the constant getting high (sleeping/depression) and withdraw (mania/staying awake). But for anyone else...who is forced a whole five years in these programs for like you said the occasional pot smoker, someone who gets a DUI, or mental health problems - making them identify as an addict (which is something they are not) is not right. Especially for 5 years. I'm paying the consequences for my actions, going to work impaired. Why are you paying such stiff consequences for your actions needs to be a serious question asked to all Boards of Nursing. *Just a side note: I think that if it was legal to smoke marijuana, you wouldn't have all of this diverting narcotics, self medicating, and the general public getting addicted to narcotics, cut off by doctors and turning to heroin. Just my opinion. But then again you can't patent a plant and the government wouldn't make any money off of it...

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