Drug Monitoring Programs
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Monitoring Programs

The Board offers 2 monitoring programs for nurses whose practice may be impaired because of a substance use disorder:

  • Alternative Program for Nurses in Recovery (AP), a voluntary alternative to traditional discipline. Participation 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.
  • Discipline Program for Nurses in Recovery (DP), a disciplinary program for a nurse who is not eligible to participate in the AP. Participation is public information with relevant documents posted to the licensure verification system.
Objectives of the AP and DP include:
  • Protect the public by monitoring nurses experiencing a substance use disorder.
  • Provide a structured monitoring program to return the recovering nurse to safe nursing practice.

Enrollment

An eligible nurse may enroll in the AP or DP by signing a consent order prepared by the Board agreeing to the facts of the case and terms for participation. Upon entry, the AP participant’s license is held in abeyance (temporarily inactive) and DP participant’s license is suspended for a minimum of 3 months while the participant establishes compliance with random drug screening, substance use disorder treatment, and mutual support group meeting attendance. Following the minimum abeyance or suspension period, the participant may be approved to re-enter practice with restrictions.

Any cost incurred through participation is the responsibility of the participant including, but not limited to, random drug screening, substance use disorder treatment and addictionologist evaluation(s).

Successful Completion

Participants must be successfully monitored by the Board for a minimum 3 years of satisfactory employment in a licensed nursing position or after a minimum of 5 continuous years of random drug screening.

Non-compliance

Failure to comply with the program conditions may result in termination of participation and suspension of the license for a minimum of 1 year. Unsuccessful participants must submit evidence of a minimum period of continuous sobriety as defined by the Board’s Sobriety Notebook prior to applying for reinstatement.

Related Documents

The Resource Manual for Nurse Leadership serves as a resource for nurse administrators employing nurses participating in the AP and DP.

The Sobriety Notebook outlines requirements for submission of evidence of continuous sobriety prior to requesting reinstatement for a nurse with a substance use disorder diagnosis following the 1st suspension of the license.

Intervention Program (IP)

The Intervention Program is a voluntary alternative to disciplinary action for a nurse who:

  • Submits a random or pre-employment drug screen which tests positive for a controlled substance that the nurse is not legitimately prescribed.
  • Has multiple convictions for Driving While Impaired (DWI).
  • Has not been diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

The primary objective of the IP is to protect the public by monitoring nurses who may abuse substances.

Enrollment

An eligible nurse may enroll in the IP by signing a consent order prepared by the Board agreeing to the facts of the case and terms for participation.

Successful Completion

Participants must be successfully monitored by the Board for a period of 1 continuous year of random drug screening.

Non-compliance

Failure to comply with the program conditions may result in termination of participation and suspension of the license for a minimum of 1 year. Unsuccessful participants must submit evidence of a minimum period of compliance with random drug screening, an addictionologist evaluation and submit additional documentation prior to applying for reinstatement before the Licensure Review Panel.

Last Changed 3-Nov-2022

North Carolina Board of Nursing

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