Hello—I just joined. I am from the other “popular” nurse websites and have posted many, many times about the nursing boards, how corrupt they are, the legal implications of board actions, how publication of a nurse’s charges/offenses is actually illegal & how it blacklists them because their dirty secrets are accessible by their family, friends, neighbors plumber, and how legislation must be changed in order to prevent the nursing boards from running amuck ruining people’s lives without a second thought. I have been a nurse for a long time, I have done legal work faced the BON over some pretty ugly charges which resulted in being humiliated on the internet.
PLEASE BE PREPARED: My post is long, like most of my posts are. But, hopefully, they are informative and get you to think about things, both board related & non-board related. I went through my own crap with the BON, not understanding why or how it happened to me. Now, so many things have transpired that I feel very strongly about trying to work together with the people that actually have the power to change things based on recent findings about opioid addiction. Sometimes what I say is more like free thought and things don’t go together at that very moment, but if you continue to read, they will make sense. If you dare, read on……….
I read other posts from nurses that are facing the BON, and I feel that I can give some pretty good advice based on my experiences retrospective thoughts and ideas about the mistakes I made in dealing with them. I am still a bit leery about who, exactly, is being let into this forum because I do believe that the state BON’s employ people to monitor these boards/forums to make the BON aware of what is going on out there among nurses that they have disciplined. It’s not that I really care—they really can’t do much more to ruin my career than they have already done. I am just suspicious & don’t want other nurses to get entangled in the BON’s nasty wrath because of things that were said in online forums.
I’m not sure who the administrator is—I am trying to figure out the format of this board/forum. I’m not sure how to respond to specific posts, but I guess I will get the hang of it by observing.
At any rate, I have an interest in trying to get legislation changed with regard to how addiction/diversion/drug abuse issues are handled by the BON, especially in these times where opioid abuse has been considered an “epidemic”, and addiction has formally been inducted into the DSM as a disease. Prosecuting nurses in such a way that humiliates them, shames them, publishes their disease/disability for the entire world to find on the internet, punishes them in such a way that actually prevents them from progressing in their rehabilitation efforts due to costly evaluation & UDS requirements, as well as conditions of employment that restrict their ability to find a job, does not “protect the public”, despite what the BON states their purpose is.
Getting a DWI 15 years ago, long before somebody even became a nurse, and then being thrown into a 5 year program by the BON with all the requisite UDS, inpatient rehab, board ordered “evaluations” by individuals and organizations that are intimately involved with the BON in a financial manner, before the board will even grant that nurse a license is absolutely ludicrous and SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.
The only way these things will change if there is legislation to regulate how the BON functions that creates laws for the actions that the BON is permitted to take in all possible situations. The BON cannot treat a gambling addict the same as an alcoholic, they BON cannot treat a drug addict the same as someone convicted of shoplifting—-yet, it seems that many of the consent agreements & board orders contain the exact same conditions & requirements: “evaluations” by specific, board-recommended individuals that will not accept a nurse’s health insurance who charge $1,000 or more for a 45 minute evaluation, UDS for $40 a pop, inpatient rehab at only the places the BON allow a nurse to attend that also do not accept a nurse’s insurance, continued counseling by one of their “recommended” practitioners, conditions/restrictions about where, when & how a nurse can work for 3 to 5 years.
It seems that the consent agreements/board orders are a blanket disciplinary process that do not take each complaint/allegation/charges into individual consideration and which lump all nurses into the same group due to lack of specific laws that govern the actions of the BON. A nurse with an addiction problem should not, and cannot, be blacklisted because what they are suffering with is a DISEASE, not a moral failing.
The BON would not treat a nurse with brittle diabetes or labile hypertension the same way that they treat a nurse with addiction, even though both are considered diseases. When we have a government with their own health organizations that say addiction is a disease based on scientific research & studies which have proven that to be true, we cannot have a BON that does not comply with those scientific results and chooses to treat nurses with addiction as total failures & unable to control their impulses because they have a character flaw that resulted in this “moral failing”. It is becoming increasingly agreed by medical professionals that the 12 step system that has been disseminated as the best treatment for addiction by the Society for Addiction Medicine is not very effective at all, because it is being treated as a moral failing (in fact, in the 12 steps, it actually states this) and not the disease that it is.
The Addiction Medicine organizations were formed by the same nucleus of physicians that have made a tremendous amount of money from shoving the 12 step program down everybody’s throats for decades, even though it was determined that the success rate for long-term sobriety with the 12 step program was terrible. They just made people go through the same 12 step rehab programs over and over again, somehow in an effort to show that addiction was something that could be treated by repeating the “Serenity Prayer” over and over in a group of people with the same disease.
Now that physicians and other healthcare practitioners have become interested in addiction medicine as a medical problem and not a moral failing, a new board specialty is going into effect in 2017 for physicians interested in treating THE DISEASE, and not stroking people’s heads to repeat “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, blah blah blah” in their $1,000/day treatment facilities. Oddly enough, the disease of addiction was perpetuated by the exact same people that are now joining the movement against the opioid epidemic—-PHYSICIANS.
How would the BON treat nurses who became addicted to narcotics after a traumatic event that left them physically injured, or surgery for a fractured bone or torn tendon, or big belly surgery, or for a chronic pain condition considering their addiction was the result of being prescribed massive amounts of opioids in an effort to control their pain, because the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured these drugs (hello, Purdue Pharmaceutical) managed to get the “pain is the 5th vital sign” pushed through so that their drugs would be prescribed on a massive scale? Whose fault is it if a nurse became addicted to Percocet after knee surgery, and when that nurse could no longer get Percocet, started diverting narcs from work? WHOSE FAULT IS IT? Is it the nurse’s fault for not being able to “control” themselves? After all, if medical professionals didn’t control patients pain adequately, they had points taken off their “report cards”. And now, the doctors are being blamed for something that they were actually forced to do so they didn’t face board action for not treating pain properly. For a very, very long time—-and actually, currently as well—-nurses do not have anywhere to go to get help for addiction.
Being honest with a nursing supervisor amd admitting you need help immediately results in a complaint to the BON because it is REQUIRED that they do that. I even know of a nurse who disclosed to her psychiatrist that she was self-medicating due to depression insomnia, to which the psychiatrist actually reported her to the BON despite the fact that she was not working at that time nobody’s health or well being was being “threatened” by this nurse. Nurses do not have any safe haven for self-reporting—due to professional “requirements”, they get reported to the BON, which in turn ruins their lives. How many nurses, had they been able to tell someone confidentially, would have continued to use drugs or drink alcohol if they had been able to seek help without the repercussions of board action against them? How many nurses continue(d) to use drugs or drink alcohol because they feel trapped and unable to disclose this to anyone in an effort to seek help?
THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT REQUIRE CHANGE, along with how the BON’s handle cases like this. I am not saying that a nurse diverting narcs should be allowed to continue to work while in active addiction—that is not what I am saying at all. But to restrict a nurse who has worked in the ICU/PACU or any other environment where passing narcs is a requirement to not being able to work nights, not working double shifts, not passing narcs, not doing home care & not working in critical care units makes it practically impossible for a nurse to work at all, despite the fact that the BON requires nurses to work to fulfill the conditions of the consent agreements or board orders. If the BON wants to take nurses in active addiction away from working, then that nurse should be allowed to apply & receive disability, since they are being forcibly removed from the workplace by a government organization for a legitimate disease & at least disability would give the nurse a little bit of income. The nurse should also be entitled to Medicaid, which would pay for inpatient and outpatient rehab, UDS and any other “necessary” things like psychiatric evaluations by “BON selected” individuals/organizations. The BON simply cannot suspend a nurse’s license, force the nurse to comply with all kinds of “conditions” that require money & expect the nurse to be able to pay for it all. And then publish the nurse’s name on the internet for the world to see is the final nail in the coffin.
This post is long enough. I’m sure there will be comments & I will read other posts as well. Right now I have to get my snow blower ready for the 18+ inches of snow they’re predicting for my area tomorrow………..