An interview with Lorie Brown, Brittney Wilson, + Jamie Davis
If you’ve been asked to go into a peer assistance program or if you voluntarily choose to go into the program to protect your license, here some things you should know.
First, you will need to sign a recovery monitoring agreement which basically is a contract that you are entering the program and agree to certain of its requirements. Getting into the program, you will need to know how long they want you to participate in it. Usually there is a monthly participation fee and the fact that there also is urine drug screen means that it can be costly. The shorter time you are in the program, the better.
If they offer you three years, ask how you can get that amount of time reduced. And ask that before you sign the contract!
The second thing to know is that you will be required to attend meetings. So, you might want to look at this ahead of time to see what meetings are in your area and when do they meet. Also, find out if these will qualify for the types of meetings that you are expected to attend.
There are A.A. meetings, N.A. meetings and nurse support group meetings. If you’re required to attend a nurse support group meeting and there are none in your area, you may want to challenge that provision. Again, do that before you sign the agreement.
When you go into this program, set yourself up for success and do your homework ahead of time so that you can do the program as easily as possible to get through it successfully.
Number three: you will be required to have a worksite monitor where you are working. That person will send reports to the administrators of the peer assistance program.
So, if you currently have a job and before you sign the agreement, make sure that your boss is supportive of what you’re going to do. If the boss is reluctant to support you, it might mean you should perhaps look for another job.
Random drug screens will be another facet of the program. You should research this because you will be required to pay for the screenings and you will want to make sure that you will be successful with these screenings.
I am fully aware of how difficult these programs can be. I tell my clients that they should work these programs like their lives depended on it. Some clients will tell me: “I don’t have an issue so why do I need to be doing this?” Again, it’s the best way to protect your license.
After completing the program, a number of clients have told me how it was an eye-opening experience and that they learned so much.
If you do have a problem and really need the peer assistance program, I want to congratulate you for realizing your need to take action to help yourself. This will be the way that you can be healthier and overcome the problem that you’ve been facing. Personally, I have great admiration for those who are willing to admit to having a problem and then undertake the necessary treatment to better their lives.
Although no one wants to be in a program like this, especially one where they are monitored and made to feel like they are being watched constantly, it is the best way to protect your license.
Not only will you learn about substance abuse, you will learn so much about yourself and be a better person when you get through the program.
Here’s wishing you the best of success.
I can imagine how awful it might be to get fired from a job. You know, with many of us, our life is our profession. We really care about our patients and want to do the best job for them. So, when we do get terminated, it is a huge blow to us both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, if you have been terminated, you are required to disclose that job and the termination on all your future job applications. With that in mind, I have some tips for you on how to write your employment application so that you have the best chance to get a position.
First, when you fill out your job application, it is going to ask you if you have been terminated. You have to put “yes.” But then, it asks the reason for the termination. You don’t have to give a reason. Just simply put down that you will discuss it in an interview. In that way, you have control over what you say and it is not forever a permanent record on your employment application.
Look at the reasons why you were terminated. Was the position you were in a poor fit? Were you understaffed? Did you forget something? Think about the reason or reasons but do take responsibility. Owning it is the biggest power that you have. Owning whatever happened, whatever the situation, because if you DON’T own it, then you’re always at the effect of somebody else.
Where, if you are choosing what happened and learning from it, then you have much more power. It is a much more powerful place to stand.
If you think about times in your life when a bad thing has happened, think about the good that came from it. I know there is some. I know when I was laid off from my position as a partner in a law firm doing medical malpractice defense, I was devastated. It was a horrible time in my life and I was pregnant with my second child. But what a blessing it was for me to start my own practice and to be here for my children. So, find the good in your termination.
Also, make sure you keep a copy of your last employment evaluation. If it was shortly before the time that you were terminated, it may show that whatever happened was an isolated event and could show that you are good nurse and should get hired for whatever position you are seeking.
I hope these tips can help you in realizing that although termination is very unfortunate, they can help you in dealing with it and to move forward with your life.
Employment law is not my area of expertise but if you do have an employment situation that can result in a Board matter, that’s where I come again. With that in mind, I want to share these tips with you to help you protect your license and to provide you with some information on what to do if this should happen.
Being human, mistakes are going to happen. Nurses tend to be somewhat obsessive, compulsive and perfectionist. Or, at least I know I am.
When our boss invites us to their office for a talk, it can be scary. We don’t want anyone to question our professionalism or nursing competence.
So, when you do get written up, it is important to look at the documentation which supports the write-up. If you disagree with the write up, make sure that you put your version of the story on the written notice. You are usually asked to sign the written notice and, while it’s okay to sign it, if you disagree with the facts, you need to write down that you disagree but that you are signing to provide acknowledgement that you received the notice.
This will help you if there is a problem down the line. If they won’t let you write you version of the facts, I suggest you write down your version of the facts, then date and sign it and keep it. It may be important at some time down the road to have your side of the story that was recorded close to the time of the event.
If your employer will not let you write your version of the facts on the write-up or not allow you to supplement their write-up with your version of the facts, make sure you write down your version right away and keep it yourself. It may be important down the line if there is a Board or a medical malpractice matter.
Your employer must follow their policy and procedure manual as far as discipline. Therefore, it is important to know what your employer’s policies and procedures are. I suggest that you look at you copy of your Employee Handbook to make sure you know what the steps are. Your employer is required to follow the steps but, if they don’t, you may have some recourse.
Another thing that I would suggest is to talk to your boss to let him know that you want to work together with him to be the best nurse that you can be. Ask him what you can do to help the situation.
I am always bothered when someone gets written up; it is punitive which does not help address the situation. What classes can you attend? What continuing education can you go to that will help prevent the problem in the future?
And remember, if your job is not the right fit for you; try to find something else because your license is too important. If you lose your job, you will have to disclose on every job application in the future that you were terminated from that job.
So, your assignment is to look at your employee handbook and know your policies and procedures regarding discipline. Also, partner with your boss so that they can help develop you into the best nurse you can be.
Have an empowering day and happy nursing.
Lorie Brown discusses what happens if you get called before the Nurse Licensing Board.