About the Program
The AP is a voluntary alternative to traditional discipline action for a nurse whose competency may be impaired because of chemical dependency. Participation in the Program is not published unless disclosure is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public or as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The objectives of the AP include:
- Ensure the health and safety of the public by closely monitoring nurses impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
- Achieve earlier intervention with intent to decrease the time between the nurse’s acknowledgement of chemical dependency and entry into the recovery process.
- Return the nurse to safe and effective practice in a more efficient manner while minimizing financial impact.
- Provide an opportunity for nurses to recovery from impairment in a therapeutic, non-punitive and non-published process.
How the Program Works
To be considered for the Program, the Licensee must speak with NCBON staff. If Licensee is eligible for the AP, he/she will submit a signed Consent prepared by the NCBON requesting consideration and indicating that he/she will not work in a licensed nursing position until approved to do so by the Board. The nursing license is held in abeyance (a state of temporary inactivity). Licensee is eligible to petition to re-enter practice a minimum of three (3) months from the date treatment is initiated.
Any cost incurred through participation in the AP is the responsibility of the participant. Expenses include, but may not be limited to, substance abuse treatment, addictionologist evaluation and random body fluid screening.
Within two (2) weeks of the date the statement is received at the NCBON, Licensee must submit the following evidence from a participating treatment facility:
Confirmation of treatment start date
Licensee is required to follow all recommendations of the treatment facility. Once Licensee has completed the initial phase of treatment, he/she is required to participate in Aftercare for one (1) year, which is a minimum of one (1) treatment meeting per week.
Upon receipt of treatment information, Licensee will come to the NCBON to sign a contract to enroll in the AP.
Upon signing the AP Contract, Section I:
- Within three (3) business days of signing AP Contract, Section I, Licensee is required to submit to random body fluid screens, as requested for the duration of the program.
- Licensee is required to attend a minimum of three (3) 12-step meetings each week for the duration of participation.
Re-Entry to Practice Process
After Licensee has been enrolled in treatment for three (3) months and shown evidence of compliance with AP requirements, Licensee is eligible to petition for reinstatement of the nursing license with the Re-Entry and Reinstatement Committee.
Licensee is required to meet with an addictionologist and comply with all recommendations prior to petitioning to re-enter nursing practice.
If Licensee petitions, but is denied re-entry into practice, the Committee will specify the length of time before the Licensee may petition again, along with evidence of compliance that Licensee should provide for review.
Once approved by the Committee to return to nursing practice, the Licensee will sign the AP Contract, Section II.
- The Licensee will be monitored from the date he/she returns to licensed nursing practice and until he/she has been employed in a licensed nursing position for three (3) years. Any lapse in employment or noncompliance with program requirements will delay completion of the program.
- All nursing positions held during participation in the AP must be pre-approved by the NCBON and the employer agrees to submit work performance evaluations as scheduled.
- Licensees must work a minimum of sixty-four (64) hours per month in a licensed nursing position for employment to apply to the three (3) years of required licensed nursing employment. Additionally, in order for Work Performance Reports to be acceptable, License must show employment at same facility for two (2) consecutive months during first year of return to licensed nursing employment and employment at same facility for three (3) consecutive months after one (1) year conditions have been lifted.
- Upon return to licensed nursing practice, the following conditions are in place:
For a minimum of one (1) year:
a) Shall not work 11 p.m. - 7 a.m. or more than eighty (80) hours per two (2) weeks or more than forty-eight (48) hours in a seven (7) day interval unless approved by the Program.
b) Shall not work more than twelve (12) hours in a twenty-four (24) hour period.
c) Shall not have access to or be accountable for controlled substances.
d) Shall not work in critical care specialty areas or ER.
e) Shall not work in a substance abuse treatment facility.
f) Shall not work for more than one (1) nursing employer at a time.
g) Shall not float from unit to unit within a facility.
h) Shall work under the direction of an on-site RN or, with approval, under the direction of an on-site work monitor who is a licensed health care provider.
For a minimum of two (2) years:
1) May not work as a CRNA;
2) May not work for a staffing agency; and
3) May not work in home health or hospice.
Conditions may be extended in accordance with an Addictionologist’s recommendation(s) or incidents of noncompliance.
Any failure to comply with program requirements may result in termination of the contract. If the contract is terminated, the nursing license is voluntarily surrendered for a minimum of one (1) year. Licensee must submit evidence of a minimum of one (1) year of sobriety prior to petitioning for reinstatement.
Successful Completion of the AP
Participants must be successfully monitored by the Board for three (3) full years while employed in an approved nursing position. Therefore, if there are any delays in obtaining a nursing position, interruptions in employment or issues of noncompliance, the monitoring period will extend beyond three (3) years. After three (3) years of satisfactory nursing employment the Board reviews the Licensee’s file for possible completion of the AP. Once successfully completed, the Licensee is no longer required to submit random drug screens or report to the Board of Nursing and there are no longer conditions on the practice of nursing.