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"Recovery" and public shaming

I've tried but without success to see the point of why state boards post board orders for everyone to see. Has this been shown/proved to increase the recovering nurses morale, spirits or hasten their recovery??? I mean, an employer is required to go to the boards website and in the case of Texas, enter your last 4 SSN digits and your birthdate, print your license and have you sign it. This has happened to all the jobs that I have ever applied to ever since I want an LVN. Why not attach the board order there? That would require someone to have your SSN and DOB and not merely guess your name. Isn't it time that some of these Draconian rules from the 80's and 90's when people barely had computers or internet access become updated? We already have to disclose to employers but I guess the shaming is an integral part of recovery.

What can we do as nurse addicts, recovering addicts or whatever you want to call us to make this change happen??

Remember they are 'protecting the public'...

No its *******. Public humiliation, gossip, judgement before even being met is what this achieves.

I had a problem.. a huge one. I scoured that BON site and saw the names and sentences of the nurses who struggled posted for all to see and I kept my mouth shut. Shut until my actions spoke for me. In the midst of the hell many of us face we lost some common sense, our rational thought, ourselves. Unless you voluntarily spoke up before getting in trouble its all public and always will be.

I recall sitting in the nurses station while some of my coworkers looked up nurses who had been fired and the things they said.. ugh. They were the same things that were said about me I'm sure. That white hot shame had me hiding in my house, deleting social media, paranoid at the grocery story, and nearly have a stroke when I saw someone. Most were kind a few were not.

I don't know how to change it. I believe that doctors, dentists, and other professions have more options than nurses.

I would love to walk into a job someday with a clear name and have pride in myself again. I will never fully be able to do so knowing that my worst moments are on public display for the world to see.

Edited by Silverdragon102
changed to all **

J.Adderton, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education.

State boards of nursing mission is to promote the health, safety and welfare of the public. The reality is.... most of us in recovery did "mess up" and it is a privilege to continue nursing. It is difficult dealing with shame but we are doing the hard work. I try to remember it is none of my business what others think of me.

I'm sorry public shaming has no place in recovery. This is just mean-spirited bile that serves no function. Protecting the Public? That goal seems to be served by allowing perspective employers view this history utilizing a computer code. Unless you think the patients should have access to that which should be considered in most cases confidential medical information but where does that stop? Should they be able to look at our credit report? Should they get a report from all our sexual partners? What about our grades in Nursing School? Church Attendance? Political Party Affiliation? Sometimes you just gotta call BS on this garbage. Protecting the public actually comes in the form of a pee test. You either got booze or dope in your system or don't. How you get there is your business 12 steps, animal sacrifice or just making a choice not to use while big brother is watching (my personal favorite). The only purpose this serves is to put fresh meat on the grill for nurse cannibals to gorge themselves on.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR.

Posting this on websites for all to see is the equivalent of the medieval of putting a person in the stocks so rotten vegetables and trash and insults can be thrown at them, humiliating and embarrassing them. Back then that was the punishment for whatever the crime may have been. Now, not only in the nurse placed in the stocks permantely, thier entire career is destroyed, deservedly or not. Protecting the public, my arse.

J.Adderton, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education.

In my case, I went to work while altered. From a patient's perspective, my alcoholism placed each patient I cared at risk for multiple medical and treatment errors. I cared for patients on heparin, potent IV medications and complicated nursing tasks. Therefore, if I choose to continue working in nursing, I must now follow the requirements of the board of nursing. No, I don't like that the consequences of my breaking public trust is available for all to see. I don't always like having go to meetings, continuing care, counseling, drug tests and all the other requirements of nurse monitoring. I do know, at the end of the day, I am sober and today I have a choice to not drink again. I am just coming from another perspective.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR.

placing a person such as you describe in a montitoring program is an appropriate example of "protecting the public." I think the question is how is the wholesale humiliation of publishing the sins of any and all program participants on a public website whether they had anything to do with nursing practice or not have anything to do with protecting the public or is it just a handy dandy phrase for nurses to do something that some of them seem to be so good at--that is to be very nasty to each other.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

Funny thing is I don't feel shame at all. I never really did. I felt a whole lot of remorse for the pain I caused to a lot of people and the trust that I alone destroyed through my actions. I personally never saw my monitoring contract as anything more than a very expensive tool for getting and staying sober. I am alive today purely because of that monitoring contract. I do recognize however that many people are placed in these programs for mental health issues that were not necessary anything they could control at the time. Others are in this due to youthful indiscretions or mistakes they thought were long behind them, All professional boards Medical, the BAR, Nursing, Veterinary etc publically publish discipline against licensees who breach the public trust. I had a great friend who actually tried to commit a horrific crime while in the depths of addiction and that crime is there in great detail on the public website. I will not go into details here but that person is a great friend of mine and we see each other often. The only way to heal is to move beyond our resentment and back into the sunlight of the soul. Holding onto anger, resentment and shame is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. We only hurt ourselves.


Ok. Protecting the Public? It is the BON's duty to protect the public from unsafe nurses. To me this is an unarguable point as the public has a right to have a competent, sober member of our profession treat them. A nurse is either safe to practice or not PERIOD. BON's apparently decide that nurses who complete these monitoring programs are safe to practice as they are allowed to return to the practice of nursing. What good does this public display of past indiscretions or problems do? As a practical point how many of you have known a patient to look up a nurses license on the internet? In my state you could look up my name but there are several of us. Without the extra identifier of my address or license number you have no idea who I was. I was in the ER for 12 years and never heard of a patient looking up this information. I have seen nurses trolling this information just to add fire to the gossip mill and have yet another way of casting dispersions on fellow nurses and allowing their insecure selves to feel superior. I don't really have a dog in this hunt as there are not blemishes on my record nor will their be so long as I complete this program but I feel compelled to comment on the utter lack of sense on display.

I honestly think these programs are good for some nurses. They say things like "this saved my life". However, from what I've experienced they are in the vast minority. I have attended a weekly nurses support group for almost a year. The best thing about this group is that in a couple weeks I'm getting stepped down to twice a month. Anyway, of the many nurses who I have met and been stuck in this babbling nonsense session with over the last year exactly two have been "this has saved my life" types. Both of them were diverting drugs and admittedly high at work. The rest look at this program with the contempt it richly deserves.

So why did this net get so big? Why do we have people in it for DUIs with no record of impairment at work, because a ex-spouse called the board and stated they were drug addicts with zero proof, for failed drug tests of smoking weed away from work, mental health issues, voluntary admission to treatment with no evidence of impairment at work, failed drug test for taking a Vicodin from an un-renewed prescription for chronic back pain, stuff from many years before becoming a nurse? I think the answer is fairly simple. You could not fund and run what these beasts have become on the meager contributions of the nurses who were actually impaired at work. To employ all these "professionals",maintain the infrastructure that these bureaucracies have become and profit margins of the "non-profit" establishments associated with these evil empires you need lots of money. So where do we get this funding? The state is not paying for this nonsense, insurance companies will only fund that which is medically necessary and none of this Voodoo really seems to work in the vast majority of cases so that leaves the individual nurse. Most of us are here to keep the cash flowing. There is no reason to steal our money and also publically shame a nurse.

PS: I have a friend who is a doctor in our state's recovery program. In our state in almost all cases MD participation in these programs is fully funded by insurance. The meetings, treatment, extra counseling, pee tests all paid for by insurance. Why? The reason is because Docs are not subject to this cookie cutter nonsense. They have independent medical professionals who develop treatment plans based on diagnoses for each patient / participant. If their treating doc thinks they need to pee in a cup for 5 years they do it. If they think one year is adequate they do it. It's not a one sized fits all program run by drones with no independent medical oversight. What we have here is not treatment nor does it really have anything to do with public safety. Its a well funded witch hunt perpetrated for all the reasons that self-hating and backstabbing nurses will never be seriously looked at as medical professionals.

I have to agree with several of the posters. I, myself, am an alcoholic, and although was never impaired at work, I did fail the confidential diversion program within my state, because I just could not stop drinking. Therefore, my transgressions will be out there for all to see.

However, I think placing nurses into these board ordered programs who have DUIs and simple possession charges LOOOONNNNGGG before they were nurses is a bit outrageous. I know that as a kid, I did some stupid stuff (no felonies, DUIs) but, for those who made a one time mistake as a kid or young adult, punishing them with one of these programs when there is zero evidence they are continuing that behavior, is, in my opinion, way over the line. We are punishing people for acts not yet (if ever) committed. It does not make sense to me.

I also understand the need to protect the public. We are responsible for lives, and people have the right to know who is taking care of them. As for the gossip and the snarky nurses who spend their time looking up others on the BON website, etc, I have to let that go. I, like hppygr8tful, do not feel shame, but, I do feel remorse for betraying the trust put in me. I will spend more money than I have or want, I will jump through the hoops, I will pee in cups. I will because I need to make those amends for MY piece of mind. I will not, however, spend my free time looking up my co-workers on the BON site, hoping to find out some gossip about them. I would rather take a hike with my dog, go for a bike ride, read or go camping!

I do hope that someday, these programs are tailored to meet the individual needs of each participant (as mentioned by Spanked). I think that approach will have a much better outcome than tossing everyone into the same pool.

Here's wishing you all a happy holiday and a better year to come!

Wizard 1

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc.

I have always thought this system of posting discipline permanently was a bit perverse. It doesn't seem to serve a good purpose to have it as such. I can see the public protection angle, but face it the boards are not about public protection.

I've said it before and I will say it again, so glad I got sober as a waitress in the 1980's. No 'wait-person' shaming sites. Even then if I'd ever had a DUI my past would have haunted me forever, I am not really big on my own anonymity as I have been sober nearly 30 years now. I'd add I am glad there was no internet, the only evidence of my past was photos which never were uploaded if I appeared to have that 0400 drinking all night look.

I see not point in the 'publicity' the BON attaches to sober nurses. It seems to me no one is permitted any privacy on what I would say is a HIPAA issue, I doubt they publicly post details of nurses with any other medical issues, anyone can do anything if they insert the word safety but your past should be private, operative word is it is your PAST. Best of luck to you on surviving it all!


Specializes in lots!!!.

i so agree with you berdeenbird!!! it's like we are in the middle of the town square in the dark ages with our heads in the headlock for all of the village to shame and throw rotten food at....

Edited by Junebug59

Wizard 1

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc.

Yep that's the ticket!!! It's a symptom of the larger disease process. Nurses hating Nurses

Yes. Nurses follow the Divide and Conquer actions so well.

I am grateful to have come across this thread. I am new to PNAP by way of NJ RAMP. Long story but was doing travel/agency nursing and applied for a NJ RN license. Due to having a DUI prior to becoming an RN I was forced into this monitoring for 5 years. Needless to say, I am feeling all of the emotions that go with this..any helful advice? I was selected today for Option 4. I am not concerned about not "using" any substance as that is not even an issue its the being professionally shamed, finanically imited, etc. I have just completed my MSN and just feel really despondent. Like many have said on here, I have not found one thing useful intis "cookie cutter" process, down to being watched urinate. If anything it has made my Depression worse. Any tips on survival?

Wizard 1

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc.

Welcome! You aren't alone in your feelings.

What many of us do when we are having out in these programs is, simply, do the do. When the depression and frustration gets too much, come on here. We have all been there and know where you're at.

I struggled with patience when I was in monitoring. When things got difficult, I reminded myself that I was not going to allow this challenge to beat me, nor was I going to give the powers that be the pleasure of telling me I failed.

I am grateful to have come across this thread. I am new to PNAP by way of NJ RAMP. Long story but was doing travel/agency nursing and applied for a NJ RN license. Due to having a DUI prior to becoming an RN I was forced into this monitoring for 5 years. Needless to say, I am feeling all of the emotions that go with this..any helful advice? I was selected today for Option 4. I am not concerned about not "using" any substance as that is not even an issue its the being professionally shamed, finanically imited, etc. I have just completed my MSN and just feel really despondent. Like many have said on here, I have not found one thing useful intis "cookie cutter" process, down to being watched urinate. If anything it has made my Depression worse. Any tips on survival?

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR.

I don't have the worry of "using" either. That was never my issue. I spent the first few years crying and raging. It got me no where. I was and am still right. I don't belong here and got a royal ***** job in the process. However it still is and there is not a whole lot I can do about it. im not giving up though. Just taking a different angle.

I have a sick, dark and twisted sense of humor (don't most people in healthcare?) and I rely on it get through. Anything from jokes about pole dancing to make money for P tests to figuring out how to email stinkweed to someone. If I send a note to my case manager, I sign it with my file number simply to be an ***.

In all seriousness....don't let these people get to you. Do not allow them to talk down to you. You are a highly educated professional adult. Don't let them treat you otherwise. When dealing with the case managers and such, keep meticulous records, printouts and screenshots. Do not trust them a bit.

Keep your head up. It does end. I also count days.....597 to Go


I'm not gonna lie. There is nothing good about this program in my opinion. However, it is doable. You have gotten some good advice from Wizzard & Cats so far. Don't let these dirt-bags beat you. Hatred keeps me trudging along this road. No way does PNAP win. To win this fight you need two things. First, attention to detail in complying with the idiotic rules. Give them everything they ask for when they ask for it. Don't question the sense of it as it makes none. Like it or hate it we gotta do it. The second thing you need is time. Know that everyday served on your sentence is a day closer to the end.

Depression!!! Yeah me too!!! Do not turn this hatred inward. You gat a DUI. You didn't take part in serial killing. We come from a strange tribe that simply loves the taste of our own kin's blood. The more you give into depression and anxiety the less you keep your eye on the prize of completing farce.

Nurse Practitioner School: I'm in my last semester but I had to take a year off so I didn't miss the wonders of intensive outpatient rehab aka baby sitting for drunks / addicts with halfwits in charge. The limitation here is clinical hours typically. My clinical hours (except for research on my CAPSTONE) are done so I can go to class.

Money: Yeah this year cost me about $40K in wages and a year of pay bump due to NP graduation. Tons of money!!! In addition you gotta pay for all this "professional help" which is simply horrible drivel and your pee tests. You got to make enough money to feed the Pig that PNAP is. If not they will therapeutically toss you out of the program. If you have ever seen the film "GoodFellas" they have a line in there that sums it up pretty well "F U Pay Me".

Sounds pretty crappy? It totally is!!! However, you are a nurse who has faced many challenges to include NP studies. You can do this. Collect yourself and don't let these do-gooding, self righteous pigs take anymore from you than they already have!!!


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