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Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 12:15 am
Hi all...
I am wondering what is the punishment for a first time drug offense?..per board of nursing...

Ginger Snap
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 12:19 am
I think that's going to depend on the state you practice in, and the seriousness of the offence, but I would expect some sort of probationary period with restrictions on your license.
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 12:25 am
Thank you! someone told me I would be suspended..I don't think she knew really for sure..Ive read probation for sure. It was a narcotic..first time offense. I am not sure if my urine test will be - or +. We will see soon. It was 3 days since I took the med.
Wildflower63 1
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 10:33 pm
My latest job, RN was Nursing Supervisor at a nursing home. One thing that I have to say about drug use and getting caught, no big deal. You will have to jump a few hoops, but there is a shortage of nurses and they do want to keep us.

This is something I would go as far as laying my own daughter's life on. If, one day, one shift, every employee was drug tested, there wouldn't be enough staff to run one shift and we wouldn't have a DON either. I quickly learned that nursing homes are a different animal than acute care. All that means is acute care nurses never speak of it, but nursing home people do.

There are plenty of licensed nurses out there with a possession charge on their criminal record. Personally speaking, I know drug users when I see it. They tried to hide it from me, without doing a very good job once someone got mad at someone. I couldn't care less what they did on their off time, like how much they drink or weed they smoke. They better show up sober and take good care of the residents.

From what I have experienced, as a KY RN, nurses do keep their license with a drug possession charge. If or when questioned by the Board of Nursing, give a sob story, like a horrible divorce. Don't agree to a drug problem, but a situational one. Agree that you need help and show grand remorse. Go the drug program. They will not touch your license.

The larger problem is the fact that most all employers do a criminal background check. Some facilities care less than others about this, depending on how desperate they are for a nurse. You will be questioned, on interview, meaning they will hire you anyway, with a good sob story.

I have seen nurses placebo patients, while stealing their pain drugs and reported my issues with this. I would only do this, if absolutely sure, by my own eyes, that this is truth. I did report one nurse. The circumstance was too suspicious and I had a friend that worked at her second job telling me she was stealing pain meds from patients. How is it that you have eight patients and the majority are refusing their meds, as she said when I happened to walk by seeing her disposing of evening meds, claiming refusal. I don't think so!

I reported what I saw. I reported that I had a friend working at her second job, where she was the only nurse repeatedly signing out narcotic pain meds, at a nursing home. Everyone knows their habits. These patients live there. She was eventually fired for drug theft, as my friend claimed true. I saw her disposing of an evening med pass claiming the majority of eight patients refused their meds? She was fired again because of my initial report and follow up. She was never reported to the Board of Nursing.

I don't really care what people do on their own time. I do care about letting patients suffer, with a placebo med, when drug theft is the reason they suffer pain. She works somewhere else now. I'm sure she is still depriving patients of needed pain medication. If reported, she could still have her RN, with a sob story, and drug program.

I'm not exactly sure what your problem is. Did you get caught stealing drugs at work? I suggest not doing that. Buy your drugs on the street. This is serious patient abuse. I think the Nursing Board will smack your hand, limit your license, and make you go to drug rehab, at most. This is temporary and you will get your full license back, without restriction. I don't suggest applying for a nursing job, with this sort of thing. People talk.

If you got caught with some weed, as criminal record, big deal. Go to a drug program outpatient and hire a lawyer to expunge your criminal record. You have no problem.

I have seen enough to know, you don't have anything but a temporary problem, either way. Jump the hoops, show remorse, give a sob story of your circumstance, and you walk. Big deal, if you have to go to rehab drug counseling. This can be done outpatient. Work outside of nursing until you have a clean criminal record and no restriction on your license.

Have I seen too much? Probably.... You need to straighten up. People are depending on you. I know how easy it is to get caught into this trap. I am sure that you have family and friends that want to see you do well. I suggest go to NA meetings and cut it with this. You are hurting yourself, family, friends, and your patients. Just think about it. I don't mean to criticize you, just make you look at how serious this can be, even if you do get away with it.

Feel free to ship me an e-mail. I understand problems and how easy it is to fall into a trap. I cannot say that I would ever take drugs from work, but a lousy divorce and the familiarity with drugs makes you have no fear of them, unlike most people. There were times I wouldn't pass a drug test or drank too much, coming to work sober, but feeling like hell the next day. This isn't how to live.
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2005 04:13 am
Thank you for taking the time to write that lengthy response. I do apprecate it.
I didn't get caught red handed taking the drugs from the facility. Between the narcotic sheet and the MAR, there was reason so suspect I probably did. This was found the day after I worked. I was never asked by the facilty to take a drug test. They just contacted my agency and wanted to talk to me, then wanted me to come to the hospital and "straighten out a documentation question". I called the facilty first hand and talked to them. They told me the same thing. I could not get to that facilty for two days or so because of transportation. Transmission was out on my car. And I told the facility this. The next day, the Board Of Nursing called me. They wanted a drug test in two hours, which I could not do for the same reason. Plus I was babysitting my 2 year old nephew that day and didn't even have a car seat even if I did have a car available. I told the Board I could take it the next morning when I would have a car and would not babysit my nephew. That is what I did. I went to my agency to get a release form, then the drug screen. It may NOT come back negative. It has been over two days and I had used Demerol. I have a lean body and I work out alot. I am expecting to have to do probation either way though. With a fine.
If I am tested clean, they may still want to put me on probation or fine me for something. If I do test and show drugs, then I will do as you say. Sob story, contrition and do what they ask me to do. I am probably finished with that agency. I doubt they will let me work anymore.
I do work for another agency at another hospital. Maybe I can keep that job. Its where I am working now.
The drug test was on Tuesday. I have not gotten results back yet.
I have taken drugs a few times before in the last year. Not caught or suspected really til now.
I do think I need rehab or something regardless.

What are you further thoughts?
Thank you so much...you have been most kind!!

Wildflower63 1
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2005 05:14 am
If it was Demerol, look up the half life. You know the last time you took it or any other drug. You might be a done deal with your current agency. I seriously doubt your entire nursing career is over, even if the state gets involved.

I am sure that you have life problems that led you to the choice of taking this drug. I only hope that you didn't take from a patient who needed pain control. You may have, which is why I am saying straighten your life out, now. You are headed for the state pen, if you keep this up. It isn't worth it.

Please, follow what I said in the last post. It will get you out of hot water. You want drugs? Don't get them from work. Buy it off the street. You are going to have a tough time finding Demerol, but you already know this is a serious problem.

I am sure that you are a good nurse, but need help with your personal life or wouldn't get caught up in this dangerous type of game. As I said before, people are depending on you, family, friends, and patients. You have to get off this rough ride.

We all make lousy mistakes. The mistake you made with Demerol is a big one, but so what. We all do things we regret, in grand form. Look at what you are doing to yourself and your career. Is it worth a Demerol high? I seriously doubt it.

You are far from the only one who has gotten caught up in this sort of thing, as a nurse. You are far from the first and you will not be the last. Do as I suggested. You may want this drug, but you don't need it. It really isn't worth what you are going through now, is it?

Life problems seem to build to larger problems, at times. As I said before, e-mail me. I have my share of problems at home too. It is going to be ok. You have to stop this problem now. You want someone to talk to, I will be there for you, just write me at [email protected].
Ginger Snap
Reply Sat 18 Jun, 2005 11:55 am
I'm sorry, but this is some really bad advice. If you end up in front of the Board of Nursing, you will need an attorney to protect your right to continue working. Diverting drugs from patients is a pretty serious offence, and, at the very least, you are going to end up having to comply with some sort of treatment program in order to maintain your license. Beyond that, the Board can severely restrict your ability to work, including dictating where, when and how you can work. If you don't have an advocate, you could end up with enough restrictions that it will be difficult for you to find work.
Wildflower63 1
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2005 03:38 am
I'm sorry, but this is far from bad advice or other nurses would be hanging me from a tree. This is a nurse with a serious problem, who needs advice and support from fellow nurses. She got caught stealing Demerol from her employer and is in big trouble.

Sorry again, but I have seen more good nurses go down, as drug addicts, than bad ones. I do not participate in this. I would like to know exactly what part of my advice to her was bad. I did say to get drug treatment help. If I failed to mention how serious this is, she already knows this. I did say to straighten out life and not work as a nurse without a clean license. You criticized me, so go for it....

Stop being catty and understand the fact that nurses do not fear drugs. I have yet to give IV Demerol to anyone that didn't like it. In times of hardship, you want to make life go away. Did you, who criticized my advice, ever consider this nurse may need support, from fellow nurses or are you out to outcast her and anyone supportive?

Hire a lawyer is common sense, with this type of problem. If that is all I neglected to mention, then shut up. We all know the rules, which I told her exactly what a lawyer would, correct? I did advise her to get help for herself, didn't I? I believe that I did.

Aside from stating, 'get a lawyer', which is common sense and will give exact same advice I did, explain to me exactly what bad advice I gave? In my opinion, you are not supportive of a fellow nurse needing all the help and advice she can get.

If you can't give more than on one line criticism, shut up and let someone be compassionate and help her, me. Obviously all you want to do is criticize and outcast her, without knowledge of what led up to this.

Critic, let's hear your grand advice, beyond a one liner of criticism of me and the nurse who needs support and help from us.
Ginger Snap
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2005 10:45 am
It already looks bad enough that this nurse has not shown up for her drug test. And I'm sorry, but diverting drugs from a patient or encouraging someone with a drug problem to "buy drugs from the street" suggests that you have some real character flaws. Wrong behavior is wrong behavior, it doesn't matter what the reason is. The kind of stuff your suggesting is called "enabling", and isn't going to help a person with a problem get better.

From some of your previous posts, it's apparent that you have some real anger issues with the profession of nursing. You don't like what you do, or who you work with.

The only other thing I would suggest to you is not to take things so personally. Nothing I wrote was a personal attack against you, but an attempt to clarify an important point --- THE BOARD OF NURSING IS NOT YOUR FRIEND AND THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO HELP YOU.
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2005 08:20 pm
I sent you an email...from [email protected]
tell me if you got it please...
Wildflower63 1
Reply Wed 22 Jun, 2005 01:51 am
Ginger, I think that you are seriously misinterpreting my words. I think that she has a serious problem an needs help. I am not enabling at all. I did say that I think she needs help. She is far from the first nurse to get caught doing this and is far from the last.

I think that she needs emotional support to get through this, not criticism. She already knows that taking needed drugs from patients is ethically and legally wrong. She knows that she has a serious drug problem or wouldn't be taking Demerol.

I'm sure she is terrified. I know that I would be. I'm not minimizing the seriousness of this. I'm trying to help her get through a very difficult time, one step at a time or have a heart attack worrying about everything all at the same time.

I'm glad someone was able to go through all five of my post and make a grand evaluation that I hate nursing and I must be a bitter person. Whatever!
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2005 11:05 am
First time?
Well, I think if you've been at it for a while (stealing) then your "marked" that's convict speak for....they're gonna gitcha one way or another....
and it depends on who is sitting on the other side of the bench......with that said...I've seen it go both ways....from revoking of licensure to probation and moving the offender away from the "cookie jar".....
lets think about this from a criminal prespective....your innocent until proven guilty...having admission still could leave some gray area, but a piss test is usually definative.
I try to understand where offenders come from, and I also realize it is a choice......but we must know our limitations.

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