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Please Help...should I self report?

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RNism RNism (New) New

Long story short...I am an addict and denial has continued me to the path i am on right now. I was recently called into my supervisors office for suspected diversion. What did I do? DENIED it! Ugh....now I find out its being investigated. I guess i denied everything because every example of suscpious activity that was brought up was not what I diverted. I dont know what I should do. well i know what I SHOULD do...but its not what I want to do. I was terminated from that job. I do have a second job that I work at that doesnt know and i am on good standing with them and never diverted from them. So now I am sitting down trying to decide if I should Call the Health Practioner's Monitoring Program...can i still work when in a recovering program? Will I even be able to get in even if i denied the diverting? Please Help!!!!!

jackstem

Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,. Has 34 years experience.

Congratulations on admitting you have this disease. That's the first step in getting well. Your personal health trumps all other considerations, because if you die nothing else matters. Seek out a treatment facility with experience treating health care professionals...we can be a tough nut to crack!

When dealing with your professional life, I almost always recommend you contact a license defense attorney when dealing with accusations of impairment, diversion, and/or actual impairment. This is an emotionally devastating situation and it's difficult to make decisions when emotionally distraught. You need someone who knows the law and the profession. Contact the American Association of Nurse Attorneys for names of attorneys in your area or contact the bar association in your state, county, or city (ask for an administrative lawyer with EXPERIENCE facing the board of nursing). ask your attorney about the risks and benefits of self-reporting. If you have your own professional Liability Insurance with a license defense clause, contact them about an attorney.

Jack

all_over_again

Has 5 years experience.

Call an attorney while you can still afford one! Otherwise, you will find yourself jobless and broke and unable to do anything other than ask "How high?" when your BON yells, "Jump!"

I didn't get an attorney when I should have. It has made my life hell. I have been evaluated by a psychiatrist and a master's educated social worker who both say I am in "sustained remission" and I still cannot get a license. I did community service for over a year and then they asked for more. I showed that I had the required continuing education hours and they made me take a refresher course. I had to prove that I was a person of good moral character by getting a letter from my pastor and I am an atheist. I pay $63 dollars a week for urine drug tests. I feel like I am chasing my tail.

I have recently been readmitted to the college where I received my nursing degree in order to get one in another field because I don't realistically believe I will ever again work as an R.N.

Consider grabbing the bull by the horns and helping yourself in your current situation without blasting your only livelihood left with an atom bomb. It can be done you know. Good luck.

SilentfadesRPA

Specializes in ER/ MEDICAL ICU / CCU/OB-GYN /CORRECTION. Has 14 years experience.

I have nothing more to add except to tell you that your in my thoughts.

Marc

I turned myself in for drug diversion in 200, from the hospital I had worked in since 1985. Lost my ER position. Went to rehab, then out-pt rehab, went to countless NA/AA/Professional Support meetings, joined the First Lab drug testing program...waited for months for the hospital to call me back "with a suitable position for a nurse in the Voluntary Recovery Program....meanwhile, I was (am) a single parent with very little $ remaining in my bank account...8 months later, offered PART-TIME position on IV team (did I mention I am a single parent with a mortgage, etc)...the IV team boss was angry that she had been "forced to take on a nurse with problems", so setout to make my life living hell in the hopes that I would quit (I couldn't quit, but cried every day privately)...asked for more hours on IV team & was denied, so called Hospital DON to ask for supplemental hours on tele or med/surg (2 previously-discussed possibilities),,was denied...got behind on mortgage/started losing house/went bankrupt/declared Chapter 13 to save house....NOW DID SECOND STUPID THING: Joined staffing agency so I could make more $$ to pay bills..things got better for about 1 year, then RELAPSED & was reported to Board of Nursing...License now SUSPENDED for 3 YEARS!!...had to find alternative way to save house/pay bills/take care of family...delivered papers/worked minimum wage jobs until figured out "get a job in Drug Safety." Worked in Drug Safety for 3 years..paid bills..petitioned for nursing license and it was given back, but ON PROBATION!!..tried to find nursing position-no one will hire me on probation...started losing home again; this time no Drug Safety job b/c of tank in economy....last minute, got job as RN in very poor/dangerous area Dialysis Unit...have been here almost 2 years and HATE It but grateful for job...probation up end of October 2011.

I wish I had taken a leave of absence, gone to rehab/attended meetings and requested a job on the IV team on my own, instead of going through all the living hell and trauma I just described to you.

In addition, I lost the respect of my family, and lost the respect and friendship of just about every "friend" I ever had, spent precious hours chasing my tail instead of spending time with my mom, who died from cancer during this whole ordeal, made my young daughter anxious and upset from my constant depressed and scared mood..and now I have a permanent mark on my professional license that will let every future employer know all about my drug addiction....

Edited by RNZenpeaceful

KD CVICU-RN

Specializes in ER, CVICU, Rapid Response. Has 9 years experience.

I was in a similar situation three years ago and am grateful that I am in a program now, however, there are some very sticky things that can happen if you are not well-informed about the process. DO NOT SELF REPORT TO THE BOARD, only their alternative to discipline program. You DO need help, but you do not need the board making public your coming forth. I would be happy to talk to you about this more. Just PM me :)

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Get the help you need without reporting yourself.

Had a friend admit she drank too much occasionally(never @ work). Her life became much worse with that program.

iluvivt, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

I would never self report unless I was backed into a corner..BUT everyone is correct you do need help so you do not self destruct. You must NEVER jeopordize your source of income and that includes diverting STOP now and get help privately. You already know you have a duty to your patients so I will not go into that...project into the future all the awful things that can happen if you do not get help immediately and whatever you do DO NOT divert anything from the job you have that you are in good standing. That is what I would do but I am a very strong women and when I begin a course of action to solve a problem there is no stopping me.

catmom1, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

I would say "ditto" to what everyone else here has said. RNZenpeaceful, what an awful experience you had! I am glad that you at least have the dialysis job.

I self reported (there is no alternative to discipline in my state) back in 2000, foolishly thinking that if I were just honest that I would get a chance at help. WRONG!!!! I have since gotten help but it was no thanks to my state BON. I stayed out of nursing for 5 years because I was so ashamed. Then I took a refresher course, got a job in 2006, and completed 4 of 5 years of probation.

I lost my job over a year ago and haven't been able to get another one so my 5 years was not over on June 28 of this year as originally scheduled. Until I can work enough hours for one year, I am on perpetual probation, paying $80 each for drug screens, going to 3 meetings per week, etc. This is not hard when I have a job but being on probation is hell when seeking work.

Just last Friday I was turned down by a big insurance company where I aced the interview and I know the only issue they could have is with my license. This would have been the best job I have ever had and would be an end to this nightmare of unemployment. But this was not to be.

What a naive fool I was back in 2000 to think that I would get help if I was just honest.

Get help on your own and don't involve your state board, RNism. If you have an alternative program, I would definitely go for that because you might need the structure it provides to help you stay on the straight and narrow.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Catmom :paw:

jackstem

Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,. Has 34 years experience.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive, potentially fatal disease affecting the pleasure, motivational, and decision making centers of the brain. It's not about strength of will or moral character. If you haven't sought treatment, do so now. It's pretty rare that an individual can achieve recovery alone. Be sure to consult with an experienced (as in with the board of nursing...which is a completely different animal than the medical or pharmacy boards) license defense attorney.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like.

Jack

Speaking not as a nurse, or even a professional in the healthcare field, but as someone who through the years, due to my alcoholism, has seen his fair share of legal issues, including multiple state funded vacations, loss of driving privileges, and other assorted inconveniences, I offer this advice:

If a lawyer posted on LawyersRUs.com looking for advice on how to handle a significant MRSA infection in his neck, he would be told to go seek medical help asap. And if he chose, rather, to try and treat the infection himself by following medical advice he received on the legal forum, I imagine a large majority of nurses here would think he was an idiot.

This is your career. You have a HUGE personal, professional and financial stake at risk.

Stop looking for advice on the internet and GET A LAWYER before making any decisions.

Best of luck to you.

afbc

Karl Farmer

Specializes in LTC, MDS, plasmapheresis. Has 25 years experience.

Funny thing- professional organizations usually protect/nurture those who are in their folds- medicine, law, etc. Nursing boards alone seem to be in existence to throw THEIR own under the bus at every opportunity. Not to mention the underlying mood among nurses that they are probably all guilty of something, and just have yet to be 'caught by the board'. It's sad that the vast majority of everyday nurses can't rise to the holiness of those on the boards, eh?

foraneman

Specializes in CRNA, Law, Peer Assistance, EMS. Has 22 years experience.

You have not mentioned what state you live in, but since you mentioned "Health Practioner's Monitoring Program" I am going out on a limb and guessing Virginia. You have heard some horror stories about self reporting to the board....and depending on the state this CAN be a bad idea. However, in states with programs similar to Virginia's Health Practioner's Monitoring Program, self reporting to such an alternative to discipline program is NOT the same as self reporting to the board, preserves your license, gets you the help you need, and allows you to return to work successfully.

You have little choice here. The employer who terminated you will almost certainly report you to the board of nursing. You are a self admitted addict. You know by now that you cannot stop using on your own and that you will NEVER get better on your own. Don't give it a second thought that you denied your use when confronted...in that regard you are the same as 99.9% of health professionals who are confronted with their addiction. It does NOT affect whether you are accepted in the program whatsoever. You can call them anonymously remember, and obtain the information on how things work. If you do nothing at this point, the $hit WILL hit the fan eventually and the consequences may be MUCH worse. You are ready....clearly...so now it is time to stop being sick and tied of being sick and tired. Call them, arrange treatment, and go on medical leave from your current employer.

jackstem

Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,. Has 34 years experience.

Long time no see foraneman...welcome back!

Jack

foraneman

Specializes in CRNA, Law, Peer Assistance, EMS. Has 22 years experience.

jackstem said:
Long time no see foraneman...welcome back!

Jack

Hello Jackie my boy....still fighting the good fight I see!

jackstem

Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,. Has 34 years experience.

foraneman said:
Hello Jackie my boy....still fighting the good fight I see!

Doing my best, but can never have too much help!!

Jack

lzink

Specializes in air & ground ambulance. Has 40 years experience.

RNism said:
Long story short...I am an addict and denial has continued me to the path I am on right now. I was recently called into my supervisors office for suspected diversion. What did I do? DENIED it! Ugh....now I find out its being investigated. I guess I denied everything because every example of suscpious activity that was brought up was not what I diverted. I don't know what I should do. well I know what I SHOULD do...but its not what I want to do. I was terminated from that job. I do have a second job that I work at that doesnt know and I am on good standing with them and never diverted from them. So now I am sitting down trying to decide if I should Call the Health Practioner's Monitoring Program...can I still work when in a recovering program? Will I even be able to get in even if I denied the diverting? Please Help!!!

If your supervisor is investigating, she may well report the incident to the board. My personal opinion is this. I self reported and the board couldn't jerk my license fast enough. If this gets turned over to the state board they will also contact your new job.

None of this changes the reality to this question. Did or did you not divert drugs? If you answer this question yes, then I would contact your state nurses association for information on what if any programs are available for treatment. I would not be calling the board to ask any questions. With this approach here are the advantages I see. One, you will receive treatment and in doing so this would put you one step ahead of the board. Rather your supervisor didn't catch the "specific" drug you were diverting, isn't the point. It may be painful to hear and to except as you admitted earlier, you have diverted drugs. If you read my earlier post, I don't encourage anyone to talk to the board over the phone, if they call just to ask you a few questions all very innocent, keep in mind you are know giving information to an investigator working on behalf of the state board. Let the board find their information on their own. You are not alone, and if you have any other questions let me know.

My hope is that you seek treatment so you can continue nursing. Linda