Need Advice on how to re-enter nursing

  1. Hi Everyone. Please be open-minded as you read this. I am a RN. I was addicted to pain pills. I self reported to State Board and my license is on probation. I have been "clean" for over 14 months. I am trying to get a job, but it has been hard because of the restrictions on my license. I am even applying for PCT posistions. I am honest with all potential employers. I feel a lot of shame and remorse for my addiction, but I do feel that we all deserve second chances. Any advice? I have also told potential employers that they can feel free to drug test me anytime.
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    About pickles98

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 13; Likes: 1

    5 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    I recall that the one time I saw a situation like this first-hand was when I was assisting in interviewing several years ago for some open positions at the child mental health facility where I was the CS. One nurse came in for her interview with a whole stack of papers which she spread out on the table we were sitting around for the interview (she, the program manager and I).

    She told us right up front that she had become addicted to drugs (and, in her case, she had gone on to dealing them, had lost her license, and actually was convicted and did prison time for the dealing! So it sounds like her situation was much worse than yours ...) She then walked us through all the paperwork -- which was documentation of her successful completion of a drug treatment program, results of the monitoring by the BON in the state where all this had occurred, results of the ongoing monitoring in our state, references from clinicians in her drug treatment program and her sponsors in her on-going relapse prevention program, references from past employers, documentation from the BON about the reinstatement of and restrictions on her license and how long that was expected to continue, etc., etc., etc. -- anything she could think of to document that her ongoing recovery was successful.

    She was not defensive or evasive about her situation at all, but was v. open about the mistakes that she had made, AND all the work she had done to overcome them. We were v. impressed with her honesty and initiative, and we did hire her.

    I know this is a v. difficult situation to be in. In addition to talking to potential employers about your history and current status, it may be helpful to assemble (as she did) as much documentation as you can of what you've accomplished in getting back on track and are continuing to do (if you haven't already done that, I mean ...) Best wishes --
  4. by   southern_rn_brat
    I agree. Be open and honest up front at any interview. You will probably have to go to alot of interviews before you find the right job but don't give up! Remember what you have accomplished. You are doing the right thing now and living clean. Don't apologize for being an addict. Instead, turn it around and use it as a chance to show off your accomplishment!!

    I'm in recovery too. Many nurses in my weekly support group have talked about having difficulty finding a job but they all have found one eventually!

    Don't give up! Be honest and keep doing the next right thing.

    Don't beat yourself up about your past. If you stand with one foot in the past, and one foot in the future....you are pissing on today!
  5. by   Q.
    I wonder if perhaps taking an RN Refresher Course might help, just to also erase any doubt that you're "out of practice" due to your time away.

    I realize there are restrictions on your license - perhaps you can apply at clinics for a telephone nurse position?
  6. by   BETSRN
    Quote from Q.
    I wonder if perhaps taking an RN Refresher Course might help, just to also erase any doubt that you're "out of practice" due to your time away.

    I realize there are restrictions on your license - perhaps you can apply at clinics for a telephone nurse position?
    I am just curious. Do the restriction stay there forever or are they lifted after a certain amount of time?
  7. by   elkpark
    I am just curious. Do the restriction stay there forever or are they lifted after a certain amount of time?
    Every state BON gets to decide its own way of handling this kind of situation, so there's no straight single answer to that question. But a typical scenario would be that the Board requires you to complete some kind of drug treatment program and maybe accumulate some amount of time that you have been clean, then you get a restricted license under which you are allowed to practice nursing but not in "high risk" areas for you -- e.g., not allowed to carry narc keys or handle narcs, or work in settings where there are lots of narcs easily accessible. Then, after you have maintained your recovery over some time with those safeguards in place, eventually the restrictions would be lifted. The idea is to ease you back into practice slowly and see how you do, without dumping you right back into a situation that would set you up to relapse (and, also, the mission of the Board is to protect the public ...)

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