Self reporting?

Nurses Recovery


Any advice for self reporting? What questions do they ask? What should I not tell them? I got caught diverting and tested positive and got fired. What happens after you self report?

All the states are a little different but I would say that you don't have to totally spill every detail. For example, there was someone from one of my support groups that used to come in on his/her day off and pull narcotics from the Pyxis, in addition to diverting while actually on duty. So I recommended to this person to simply leave it at divulging that they took meds from the Pyxis and to not share the part about coming in on their day off (unless it comes up... you aren't supposed to lie but you can choose to not OVER share).

They are probably wanting to hear that you know and accept that you have a problem and probably wouldn't take it too well if you minimized anything. Let's say you "only" took a couple of pills (most of us here have done a lot more than that but I'm just using this as an example). I wouldn't say "But I only took a couple of pills." But you could say (in a matter of fact way) "yes, I took a couple of pills and I recognize that I have a problem."

Also... assuming your former employer has reported you... you don't want to give info that will conflict with that report. You never really know what the report says so just keep that in mind.

Whatever you've done, they've heard worse.

Did you talk to someone from the alternative to discipline program yet?

Also, did they actually press criminal charges against you? If so, I would also get a nurse lawyer or at least call one of them. I know in my state it's worse if there is a criminal charge. In my state the BON waits until the criminal trial is over before doing anything but they do go easier on you if it's a charge that CAN be expunged eventually. But again this is state specific.

My employer said that they are going to press criminal charges but have not done so yet. They said they will call me when they are ready and I will have to go turn myself in and then try and post bond. They haven't said what the criminal charges will be yet. I was diverting for a couple months and they know that. This was a casual position at a hospital and I have a job during the week that is strictly doing phone calls and no medications are involved. I am hoping I can keep that job and not lose my license or have it suspended but North Carolina seems to be pretty strict so I am really worried. I don't know how I will pay for everything if I lose my license and can't have a job.

Have you admitted to anything? If not, keep it that way. I don't think most hospitals pursue criminal charges, usually they just turn you in to the BON. I would think without your confession it would be hard to prove, so don't confess! I'm not saying deny, either, just don't answer their questions and certainly don't go turn yourself in. And get yourself a lawyer who specializes in this stuff if they do pursue criminal charges.

Yeah... I have heard that it is best not to talk to police, as in "you have a right to remain silent." Hopefully a lawyer can get this pleaded down to a misdemeanor and/or get this expunged at some point. I have unfortunately heard of charges being filed... in my two groups I go to I know of three nurses who have had charges. It seems like it's more common lately.

You're right... looking at the alternative to discipline in North Carolina, it does look strict. If I'm reading it right, they make you quit any job requiring an RN license for something like 3 months. I hope your job would take you back if you take a three month leave.

I have no idea what it would look like if you didn't do the alternative program. Would NC BON suspend you or just put you on probation... would the terms of the probation be the same or worse than the terms of the alternative program... these are questions you should find the answers to. I can say for sure there would at least be a public discipline if you don't do the alternative program, making it harder to get new jobs in the future. In my state, I know of nurses who weren't allowed the alternative program and had to do probation instead... some were currently employed at the time probation started (they started new jobs after being fired/reported) and were kept on at the new job they had at the time. In my state this means the employer has to fill out a quarterly report so they have to find out about your probation status.

It can't hurt to try to find a lawyer who specializes in nursing licenses in your state and see if they can do a free consultation of some kind or even just talk to you briefly over the phone. I know I got some free initial advise over the phone that way.

Request medical leave from job. Go to treatment. The may let you return. File FMLA to protect your job. Loose lips sink ships. Don't tell them where you hid the bodies. Saying you have a problem and need help is suffice. The board Generally looks at diverting one pill the same as 1000 pills. Most hospitals don't file criminal charges. Not saying it won't happen but I bet if you poled nurses onhere caught diverting not that many had criminal charges. Don't talk to hospital people anymore. You don't work there and you don't have to answer their calls or questions. Timing your FMLA is crucial to not losing your regular job. I'm not from your state, but in Texas they let me go back to work. I started treatment October 15 and was back at work about 3 weeks later. Some people need more time off. Depending on your health, how you feel, etc. I was sick for two weeks. Good luck. This won't be easy but you can do it.

Specializes in Critical Care, Addiction, Peer Support.

Okay, I always go with this, my brother is a former criminal prosecutor and assistant DA , he told me a long time ago, that "you have no business talking to the police without legal representation, the cops, no matter how friendly they seem, are NOT you friends." So, there you go, I know that there are expenses and you don't think you will be able to make, I think I can say that we have all felt that way, but you will get through this, and money comes and goes, but a criminal record.... that STICKS, and makes the prospect of making money difficult. I know it seems like a Catch 22- but in the long run, you will not regret having legal representation for the criminal side of things. I have been through this ordeal twice, and both times the hospitals (2 different ones) each pressed charges. The first time I was able to get "treatment in lieu of conviction," so that may be a option for you as well. My advice regarding the BON, call them, ask about the Alternative to Disc program, do not wait until they call you. Get a jump on things with the Board. Things will seem to get worse before they get better, I remember thinking 2 years ago, "OMG, when is the bad news ever going to end?" It seemed that every day something new and dreadful came up...this will happen, just keep your chin up, take things as they come, and try not to obsess and "what if?" That will make you nuts!! Focus on getting better, getting your disease into remission. Best to you, hang in there.

Forgive me if I missed it, but did you admit that you diverted?

Yes I did admit to it. I didn't think there was anything else I could do since the hospital had more than enough evidence I was diverting.

Specializes in Critical Care, Addiction, Peer Support.

I agree, with you, I mean the evidence was there- I admitted to the hospitals as well. The criminal charges I left that up to my attorney. My charges both times were Theft of Drugs. Again you may qualify for treatment in lieu. The second time around, I had already called the BON and had begun the process of getting into their monitoring program and was in treatment by the time I went to court for my charges, I put together a list for the judge of things I had mentioned above along with other things I was doing to stay clean and get healthy. The judge was impressed and even shared with me that his brother was in recovery, and was very encouraging to me (it was kind of a surreal experience). I received 2 years probation, was successfully released from probation after 11 months. Like I said, when you are doing the right thing, the right things will happen. Hang in there.

Thank you all for the support! I feel so alone and ashamed at what I have done. I did self report. I asked if there was anything I could do in the meantime to help save my license but I haven't heard back. I met with an EAP counselor who didn't feel I needed inpatient or outpatient therapy but instead a therapist that specializes in addiction. I was taking Roxi once a day at night for 6 months to deal escape from my alcoholic husband. We just separated and I was going to stop the Roxi but now I will probably have to take him back. I never went through any withdraws when I stopped. I am afraid the board will still make me do treatment though. I still haven't heard from the hospital and it has been almost 2 weeks.

Specializes in Critical Care, Addiction, Peer Support.

You're welcome, we've all been there, and it sucks, I mean it SUCKS. But here's the thing, whatever happens, whatever is recommended, go with it. You are in this situation for a reason, and clearly you already have a good idea why you were using, dig into that, that's where the magic happens, that's where healing lives, and don't stay silent, keep talking about it and reaching out, our disease grows in the dark recesses of our minds, you must shine a light in there. Most importantly, know that you CAN do this, it might be the hardest thing you will ever do, but in the long run, it is so worth it.

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