Throwing in the towel, and feeling liberated


Hi all, I would like to start this off by thanking everyone on this board for their continual encouragement and support. In the last few months I have been doing a lot of personal soul searching and have decided the best thing for me to do is surrender my license and go on with my life.

I was placed on probation in May 2016 for a DUI I got four years prior. The last year since then has thrown some major challenges my way. In November 2016, I lost my mom to a ten year battle with ALS. In March, my practice was ceased due to a positive ETG test and in June, I had a four year relationship come to an end. While the monitoring program is obviously not to blame for all of this, it has been an added stress that has nearly broken me several times. I still remember how low I felt the day of my mom's wake when I found myself peeing into a cup in my best suit as I had been selected to test that day.

As such, I have recently been taking stock of what is truly important in my life. I like nursing, and I'm a great nurse, I've got patients that come back to my facility all the time to visit me, awards for my nursing care, and co-workers that still turn to me for answers even now when I legally can't practice. However, when I think of the things I truly love in my life, spending time with my friends and family, traveling, my personal freedom; my job doesn't fall anywhere near the top of the list.

I have recently downsized my apartment, minimized my bills to only what's necessary, and am in the running for a few non-nursing jobs that will allow me to pay my bills and still have some fun money left over. I am also looking into grad programs in bio or chem as clinical research has always been an area that interests me. As soon as I find a new job, I will initiate the license surrender process and not look back.

For the first time in over a year, I am truly excited for what the future holds. There is some fear, but all my life, the people around me have pegged me for success so I know I won't fail. I realize that I am taking the harder road here, but if the last year has taught me anything, its that I have the strength to do it. Would love to hear from others who are no longer in the nursing field and what you did after.


79 Posts

Best of luck to you in your future. Sounds like you have figured out what you want. :)


38,333 Posts

Your post is a respectful explanation for what must have been a very painful decision. Nursing is losing a sensible human being. Best wishes.


149 Posts

Please don't hate. :)

First, so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine the indignity of having to go for a drug test on the day of your mother's wake. What a horror.

As for leaving nursing: OK. I totally respect your decision. It may be the best thing you've ever done, and I hope you are totally successful. (Deep breath.) But are you absolutely sure this is not an attempt to continue an unhealthy lifestyle?

I don't know you, I don't know what your situation is. I want to support you unequivocally. However, I have met too many people willing to change everything in their lives except the one thing that was destroying them.

All I want to say is, if you are doing this for purely practical reasons, or because you have had doubts about your career choice in the past but been unable to act on them, so be it and best of luck to you--I mean that sincerely. But if you simply don't want to face the music and feel this is the easy (or not-so-easy but acceptable) way out of your problems, you are only making things worse. Please don't be offended if I am completely wrong--I only say this because I feel compelled to do so; because addiction is a nasty, pernicious, devious disease, and if you have it you are not thinking clearly. If you aren't an addict, then I wish you well and rock on. No matter what you are, I wish you truth and the wisdom to see it. Be honest with yourself, and don't be afraid to stand up to the Board if you are innocent. I wasn't an addict, but I chose to fight and beat the bastards at their own game rather than withdraw in disgust at the stupidity around me. If you choose to fight, you can prevail--many of us have done it. You can do it, too. But if you honestly feel you should leave nursing, I wish you all the best. You sound hopeful, so I have hope for you. Good luck!



8 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

I say I think you should go with what your heart is telling you. I am in a similar situation. I worked my butt off to put myself through Nursing School almost 20 years ago as a single mother, and after working full time as an ER/trauma nurse found myself addicted to opiates because my body was in so much discomfort from working 12 hour night/overtime shifts in understaffed departments with minimal help lifting patients and pushing my body beyond what it could take. So I voluntarily surrendered my license and went to rehab. I thought this was the right thing to do but was it? When I decided to try to get my license reinstated I have been made to feel like a low life horrible criminal and am having to jump through hoop after hoop.

Now since I have been diagnosed with bipolar and and a few other things i too have decided this isn't really worth all of the stress and pressure, I have been on SSDI for 8 years now, and have been comfortable. I feel life is more than just the luxuries of things that money can buy, my sanity is a much more important luxury, and the RN license is not going to keep me sane. I am not going to chase it I too am "throwing in the towel" I believe the instinct is what you should follow and don't let anyone tell you that it makes you any less of a beautiful person! Best wishes.....

Jealous and happy for you all at the same time. Just kidding about the jealous part :). Wish I could do the same....


93 Posts

Thanks for all the positivity guys! The past couple weeks have been really busy with me moving into a new place, following up on job leads etc. With each step I feel more and more optimistic and excited. In response to Chryssy D's post, no offense taken. I understand where you're coming from, and I also understand that for addicts, these programs could mean to difference between life and death. I also understand though that only a small percentage of people that get DUIs in this country are true addicts. Most of us just made a dumb decision one night. And I don't say that to belittle my situation, I fully understand what a dumb decision it was and every day for the past 5 years I've been forced to face the consequences of that decision. I am thankful no one was hurt.

Having said that, it took 3 years for the Board to reach a resolution on my case, and I think any pattern of addiction would've revealed itself by then. Instead, I used that time to advance my career, cut back on my drinking, and never got behind the wheel after so much as a beer again. My desire to leave this program has nothing to do with my desire to drink again, but rather to go on living my life without being chained to unneccesary stipulations. As my board monitor said, if you're an addict, that's a life long battle, and no 3-5 year program is going to fix that.

Prior to the board order, I had started volunteering for a few child advocacy groups in the area. My mom was a elementary school teacher in at risk areas, and doing that was a way for me to continue her work because she wasn't able to do so. When I got placed on probation, I tried continuing this but with all the various meetings we have to go to, and the time I have to spend finding a testing site some days being a male (In California, only another male can observe you give a sample), I had to drop my duties. I'm looking forward to getting back to that, to exploring new passion projects etc.

I know I want to spend my life helping people. That's what I liked about nursing, but I also know nursing isn't the only route to do that. And if I fail, well, I fail and I'll figure it out from there.


149 Posts

gnurse--Glad you took my post in the spirit it was intended. I did the same thing--got a DUI for being stupid with my muscle relaxant, it kicked in before I got home, I swerved, a cop was behind me, and the rest is history.

These programs are a crying shame, they actually do help some people but I believe they harm many more. They are infantilizing, humiliating, unreasonably costly, and have ended more than a few careers. I hate to see it happening yet again. Best wishes in whatever you choose to do--we're all pulling for you!


1 Article; 720 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

I have mixed feelings as I read this. I am glad that you listened to your heart and that you realize you have options other than nursing. A perceived lack of options keeps some people stuck. On the other hand, I am saddened that there is yet one more committed nurse leaving, because of a system that does not even come close to meeting nurses half way.

I left nursing a number of years ago because of benzodiazepine addiction. I got clean and am still clean. For a long time, I wasn't even interested in returning to nursing, until a few years ago when I changed my mind. I did everything that the BON told me to do, successfully completed monitoring, etc. They reinstated me on Probation, and set conditions that make it basically impossible for me to return to active practice...which really wasn't necessary. These Boards are out of control, no accountability, and unless one is wealthy with money for a lawyer it is almost impossible to bring them to account.

It isn't impossible for me to return, but I have to look at all this and ask myself some hard questions. From what I am seeing and hearing, things are far worse in healthcare than they were when I left. Is it really worth it. I'm still asking myself this. I haven't completely given up returning, but there comes a time when you have to look at the costs and the benefits of what you're trying to do.

In the meantime, I have started a little home business, making aromatherapy oils blends, incense, and powders. I'm not making the money I did in nursing, but I like what I'm doing. I have control over my schedule and my day, and don't have to fight with anyone over time off. I can help people in this way, and have a small but devoted customer base.

Each one of us must decide when to say when. If this time is now for you, good luck to you! Keep in touch with us and let us know how things are going.


27 Posts

I am happy and saddened. Another great nurse going somewhere else. I can empathize with you. I am thinking about quitting the Board probation and surrendering.

I worked my butt off away from loving family at home to get me BSN and MSN. Apart from that, it was yrs after getting a BA that I got a BSN. Got trouble for what happened as RN, not NP, and haven't found any jobs for almost a yr, after going to several ( approx 30 interviews).

And I am thinking.... What the heck did we work so hard for? To get dinged on a one time mistake that involved several ppl, but only you have taken the fall? All my good work, all my great skills being the first NP and being exemplary in initiating the boarding on of other NPs to the program because of what I showed what I can do...anyhow, none of that matters when you have one probation ding on the record.

It seems I'm a leper looking for a position, and it makes me want to cringe. Makes me want to surrender all that I worked so hard for and quit. So, I'm happy for you that you have found peace. I'm happy that you can go on with life. Happy you still value that you are of worth. Because sometimes, I feel that my worth is not being looked at enitrely and only depends on that probation. I hope I can find happiness like you some day.

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

When I got in trouble back in 2000 with the BON, I foolishly admitted everything, thinking I would get "help." Instead, my career was ruined in spite of me following every single requirement of my five year probation, which took me six years to complete because no one would hire me with my black mark.

And, I will have that black mark on my license forever. I sure wish I would have gotten into ANY other profession that would have treated me like a human being who made a mistake at one time, instead of like damaged goods.

Now I am crippled by knee arthritis and have no health insurance to get treatment.

I have been reading and posting here since I got my license back in 2006. The license has been "unencumbered" since 2016 but again, the black mark is there forever and I have been denied many, many jobs because of it.

I admire and support OP's decision and wonder if I should have done the same instead of accepting being treated as an unredeemable subhuman for all these years.

My recovery was absolutely IN SPITE OF not because of what nursing did to me when I showed weakness.

I am a good human being no matter how long nursing keeps telling me otherwise.


20 Posts

Hi Gnurse I am exploring other options as well! What are your ideas to look into? How is it coming along??