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Returning with a suspended license - a nurse in recovery. Advice?!

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Hello fellow nurses,

I currently have a suspended license due to misconduct in 2016. I had substance abuse and mental health issues. I’m celebrating four years in recovery next month. I am eligible to reinstate my license if I can find an employer to hire me with my supervised practice (if I’m in a setting with narcotics) or a full scope of practice in a setting without narcotics. Now I have an interview and I’m so nervous! Please help!

It has been a challenging road but I’m ready to reintegrate into nursing again. I lost my mom suddenly and unexpectedly within the first 6 months of my sobriety and my recovery is a testament to her. It took me nearly four years to get myself in a place where I feel emotionally, spiritually and physically strong enough to nurse and I’m thrilled about it.

I managed to get an interview for Monday and I am eager to have an opportunity to join their team. I will discuss my history with manager. I need advice on how to proceed and how to approach it. I’m going to be honest, of course but how much do I Go into it?

I have already told HR I have an “eligible” license and provided my registration number so I am certain they will be aware of my history at the time of the interview.

Any tips or ideas on how to move forward? Honestly ANY interview tips would be greatly appreciated. I truly hope I can find a future employer who believes in second chances.

thank you for reading this if you’ve made it this far. I’d really appreciate any feedback, advice, comments, anything.

Hi, I'm sure you've had your interview by now, but just thought I'd mention I'm in a similar position, just got my registration back and am going to start looking for work. I am so anxious about going for interviews but I've been told that if you contact the nurses union they can help guide you with what to say in interviews.

Good luck 🙂

 

 

J.Adderton, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education. Has 28 years experience.

The fact that I was in an alternative to discipline program helped my case.  But, this facility hires many nurses in recovery.  I would emphasize that you work a solid recovery program, but don't go into unnecessary details about your addiction ect.

Thank you for your responses! I did get a job offer (causal position) following the interview. 
 

Since I’ll be returning with restrictions on my license and I’ll require a supervisor during all my shifts, my BON requires all supervisors to have read my order. The order outlines my misconduct and details my addiction, unethical behaviours, etc. Normally, only one or two supervisors would be Aware of the nurse’s order to keep confidentiality. But in my case, being in a causal position, my employer has informed all LPN’s & RN’s at the hospital all be working with. 
 

Having all staff members aware of my order and previous misconduct then allows me, as a causal to pick up any shifts without having to worrying if my specific supervisor would be on duty at the same time. However, this also means over 55 nurses will know of my past history of substance abuse & related behaviours. To say I am anxious is an understatement. I am terrified of how I will be accepted by this new team. 
 

I asked my BON for any feedback and they basically told me, they’ve never seen a situation like this because generally only two nursing supervisors know the history. 
 

Does anyone have advice? When I start my first shift, everyone will have already read my order and have preconceived judgments. I have faith that once they get to know me and I can prove myself to be a reliable and trustworthy coworker, things will improve but before then, how can I ease this integration? 
 

I will be moving to a new province, a new place, leaving my friends, home, and family. I’m open to any and all advice. If you learned a new nurse was joining your team with a history of substance abuse, what could that nurse do/say to help you give her/him a chance? 

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

29 minutes ago, Nurse in recovery said:
30 minutes ago, Nurse in recovery said:

Normally, only one or two supervisors would be Aware of the nurse’s order to keep confidentiality.

 

 

32 minutes ago, Nurse in recovery said:

The order outlines my misconduct and details my addiction, unethical behaviours, etc.

 

32 minutes ago, Nurse in recovery said:

However, this also means over 55 nurses will know of my past history of substance abuse & related behaviours.

 What an inappropriate action! I am so sorry that this is the case.  How discouraging and this rule probably stops rehabbed nurses from looking for a job. 

I only know a little of what you might be feeling....In a hospitalization I had an adverse reaction to Ativan, going out in the hallway, looking up my orders in the computer, my gown open in the back to the world. The Ativan made me disoriented and unruly. I was discharged with a psych appointment (that I finally did accept that I needed for depression). Following my recovery, I had to go to the same floor for clinical instruction. I wondered how much everyone knew.

It is extremely intimidating. Thanks for sharing your journey. I want to stay positive and keep faith about this new position. However, I can’t help but feel self-conscious and full of shame about my past. It’s been 4 years but I feel like I’ll be reliving it all. I wonder if I should share my fears with my coworkers and tell them I was afraid of being judged? 
 

As well, when I said 55 people, I wasn’t exaggerating; I was sent a copy of the formal practice setting and supervisor proposal so I read all the names. I stopped counting at 55. 
 

How would you approach this? I also forgot to add it’s an extremely small town. There’s less than 1500 people. 

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

29 minutes ago, Nurse in recovery said:

I also forgot to add it’s an extremely small town. There’s less than 1500 people. 

If it is this small, they all probably know.  I was lucky in that, in a hospital, there are continually new things/people/people's problems and behaviors to gossip about. 30 years later I  want to believe that no one remembered (or had left).

Keep you head up, back straight. You have faced what a lot of people hide or deny and you are a better person. The manager has faith in you. You said the following words and they came from deep inside you:

On 8/21/2020 at 8:52 PM, Nurse in recovery said:

I feel emotionally, spiritually and physically strong enough to nurse

 

On 9/11/2020 at 1:26 AM, J.Adderton said:

I would emphasize that you work a solid recovery program, but don't go into unnecessary details about your addiction ect.

I have been almost always a member of a support group. The current one is "Hope for Helpers". It is a small group and the members all have different coping backgrounds but work in a health care field.  I don't think it is national and I am sure you attend many groups with your rehab.

 

Best wishes - I am hoping for only the best for you - 

On 9/14/2020 at 12:45 PM, Nurse in recovery said:

How would you approach this? I also forgot to add it’s an extremely small town. There’s less than 1500 people. 

Just based on experiences carefully observing human behavior:

I would own it.

I would comport yourself in a kind, über professional manner while at the same time stating your history outright as needed, without a hint of shame.

My rationale for this suggestion: Those who love to cause trouble really act up if/when they think there is a potential to cause trouble. Being upfront an unashamed effectively stymies this type of behavior.

This is true for a lot of different life situations, but in this particular case I have also worked with someone who handled this just this very way I am describing. She was very forthcoming about the fact that she had made a mistake in the past and had more than "paid her dues to society."

What meddling and bullying can really happen after that? Based on what I observed, not much. People just accepted her story as matter of fact. As far as I could tell they even admired her for her forthrightness.

There is far more exciting material for trouble-makers to work with. They'll be too BORED to care, as long as you don't act like it bothers you. Be very strong but also kind.

Best of luck. 🍀