Treatment programs may help addicted nurses regain their career

November 20, 2020
Treatment programs may help addicted nurses regain their career

From long, often emotionally intense hours on the job to the high risk of developing musculoskeletal and other stress injuries that require ongoing pain relief, nurses and nursing assistants may face a higher risk for developing a substance abuse issue. 

In addition to the personal and legal consequences of addiction, substance misuse may lead to temporary or permanent loss of professional licensure. However, in certain cases, nurses facing addiction and potential loss of license may be eligible for either an intervention or alternative program. 

What are the intervention and alternative programs?

When receiving a report of substance abuse or finding evidence of substance abuse during an application review, the Missouri State Board of Nursing may offer a treatment program at its discretion. 

Both the intervention and alternative programs seek to help identify, treat and monitor addiction issues with the goal of returning the individual to his or her professional status. 

Who may be eligible?

The intervention program may be available to individuals who self-refer, test positive for a drug or alcohol screen, or receive a misdemeanor or felony drug conviction. 

The Board may offer entry into the alternative program for those who admit to having a substance abuse disorder and want to seek appropriate treatment. 

Under either program, the participant may face several years of random drug and alcohol testing as well as mental health and substance use monitoring. 

What are the benefits of these programs?

After successfully completing either program, the licensee may avoid professional disciplinary action and participation in the program will remain confidential. Record of program participation may also remain confidential in the event of future criminal, civil or administrative actions. 


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