Nurses aren't immune from substance addiction, and when they enter treatment, basic clinical procedures are similar to any other patient. For nurses, however, special issues relating to license status and the functional nursing role must be addressed. Many nurse employers are required by New York state law to report to the State Education Department’s Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) any nurse who's been:
Nurses are often not aware a report has been made. It is important to address licensure consequences as part of a psychosocial assessment and identify appropriate resources for assistance with licensure issues, while providing clinical support. Possible legal implications of nurses in treatment, and reentry into practice considerations should be incorporated into the counseling assistance provided.
Additionally, concerns about retaining a license or the possibility of disciplinary action often motivate a nurse to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Also every nurse in treatment must focus on personal recovery, deserving the same care as all patients. Therefore, they shouldn't be asked to share their expertise while in treatment (e.g.: a nurse in treatment being asked to provide nutrition lectures to other clients.)
Contact NYSNA's Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses at 518.782.9400, ext. 250 or by e-mail.