Nurses General Nursing


I have a question for you all: what are your thoughts on working with nurses who are in recovery from alcohol/drug addictions? I've been an RN for almost two years. I've been clean now for 3 months and am starting to look for another job (which is kinda hard, employers seem to be shying away from me) but I'm running up against a number of obstacles. Assuming I can push past these and find a job, I'm also concerned about my future co-workers. I've only worked at one hospital, and everyone there knew everyone's else's business and wasn't afraid to tell the latest bit of gossip, whether it was true or false, inspiring or demeaning. Any comments?

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,512 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I have no problems working with nurses in recovery.

But I strongly recommend you keep this bit of information to yourself.


15 Posts

Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy

I have no problems working with nurses in recovery.

But I strongly recommend you keep this bit of information to yourself.

Trust me, it's not something I'm gonna go around and shout from the rooftops! It's just because the program that I'm working with will have a relationship with my employer for the purpose of monitoring my recovery progress for a while. And we all know that if one person is told something, it inevitably finds its way to others. Thanks for your input.


3,778 Posts

Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research.

Personally, I would rather work with someone who was working a program of recovery than a bunch of codependents who are doing nothing about their own issues. I agree that it's nobody's business except yours, those you addiction has affected, and those who you have to answer to. You have bigger things to worry about right now, and you have a right to privacy as long as you aren't comprimising your patients. I don't think your employer would have hired you under these circumstances if they planned on making it public info that they knowingly hired someone with a drug/etoh history. And if they are working in conjunction with a 12 step program, they should honor the anonimity factor, and might even be able to do it better than you at times.

Change and the unknown can be scary. And just because you might be putting yourself under the microscope right now, just know that others aren't doing it as well. It can be very easy when you decide to take a long hard look at yourself (which a program of recovery can often entail) to feel very exposed and raw. It can be a very rough place to be in, but if you work your way through it, it can be one of the most enlightening and rewarding things you can do for yourself.

What you're going through can be a very hard but rewarding task. The only people you have to answer to right now are yourself, and maybe your family (when you're ready to do so) if they were affected by your addiction. Don't worry about having to answer to people in the future. Because right now, it's all about being in the present. One day at a time, right? Deal with today, tomorrow will come soon enough and you can't fight those battles until then anyway.


626 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Long Term Care.

I once worked with a nurse in recovery, and she made it a point to tell everyone she worked with about her situation without going into much detail. She pretty much had to because she was not allowed to administer narcotics for the first 3 month period of her position. It was kind of a pain that we'd have to give narcs to her patients on top of our own (it was a busy orthopedic floor), but I really respected her openness and willingness to be vulnerable, and it was obvious she was a great nurse.

There but for the grace of God go I....

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