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Happy Birthday Marie! July 17, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, History, Inspiration, Leadership, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Peer Support Network, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice, Thought for today, Values.
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This is Claire talking (Marie’s daughter, and co-editor of this site), checking in with you on this celebratory day!

I know Marie values each and every one of you, and loves hearing from you and having conversations with you – whether in person, in various professional / civic roles, on social media, here on the blog.

And so today on her birthday, I wanted to formally welcome you all back to this blog.

In the last few months, we’ve started to get active again — exploring various kinds of posts with a multitude of topics including Nursing: it’s history, challenges, future, best practices, values & inspiration etc.. as well as CHCM activities, Marie’s life (Mosaic), Nursing Salons, the Nursing Peer Support Network, activities at the University of MN School of Nursing, and so on.

If you have a moment today, would love to hear any preferences from you about types of content, questions you have for Marie, how often you’d like us to post, how you’d like to hear about posts, and anything else to make this blog a win-win.

We never know how long any of us have here. Marie is the epitome of taking care of herself, taking responsibility for her health and well-being, and we hope to have years and years yet. In any case, the more conversations she can fit engage in, the better!

Oh, one more thing- Happy Birthday Marie!

Thanks much for your participation.

Sobriety and Nursing – a Page from my Journal July 15, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Peer Support Network, Professional Practice.
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I just celebrated (June 26) my 39th year of recovery from the disease of alcoholism.   What an awesome experience this life is.

As I reflect on this period of celebrating both my natal birthday ( July 17) and my recovery anniversary, my gratitude just grows and grows.   In so many ways my experience as a nurse and my experience in recovery blend into one wonder-ful life experience.

Just one example of this deep connectivity and unity is that both nursing and recovery open doors to an unlimited opportunity to grow spiritually…to be open to the universe and all the wonders of nature, physics, culture and relationships.  There is no limit to what can be learned in every aspect of living in either recovery or in nursing.  No limit!

Additionally, both stimulate me to practice non-judgmental acceptance of what is….rather than be embroiled in day-to-day disagreements and conflicts.  Both are helping me put into daily life the wonderful question….DO YOU WANT TO BE RIGHT OR DO YOU WANT TO HAVE PEACE? Think about it!

Thank you for all you have and are giving me.

Position Statement on Substance Use Disorder: Great Step Forward! July 8, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Academia, Leadership, Nursing Peer Support Network.
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http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/nurse-leaders/impaired-nurses-benefit-alternative-discipline-approach#

Impaired Nurses Benefit from Alternative-to-Discipline Approach

Jennifer Thew, RN, June 14, 2017

Nursing organizations advocate for rehabilitating rather than punishing nurses experiencing substance use disorder.

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists is endorsing a new position statement that advocates for an alternative-to-discipline approach for nurses and nursing students with substance use disorder.

The position statement Substance Use Among Nurses and Nursing Students, co-authored by the International Nurses Society of Addictions and the Emergency Nurses Association calls for an alternative-to-discipline approach with the stated goals of:

  • Retention
  • Rehabilitation
  • Re-entry into safe, professional practice

The position statement also says drug diversion for personal use should be considered a symptom of a serious but treatable disorder rather than strictly as a crime.

“It’s about education for prevention and fair handling when it happens,” says Lynn Reede, DNP, MBA, CRNA, FNAP, AANA senior director of professional practice. “Education raises awareness and understanding, and at the same time decreases the stigma related to the disease. Treatment of substance use disorder helps keep patients and healthcare professionals safe.”

Recovery is the Goal

A disciplinary approach to impaired practice or drug diversion involves due process with a state board of nursing and suspension or revocation of a nurse’s professional license. There is no offer of a recovery program and the nurse may be terminated and legal charges can be filed.

Through an alternative-to-discipline program, a nurse does not practice for a specific time while undergoing treatment and establishing sobriety and recovery program. He or she may undergo psychiatric evaluations, specialized treatment like one-to-one therapy and support groups, and random drug screens.  A return-to-work agreement is created and often involves a reduction in hours, limited shifts, and restrictions in assignments with continued treatment and monitoring for periods of up to three to five years. Restrictions are lifted as the nurse demonstrates he or she is making progress.

Alternative-to-discipline programs make it easier for impaired nurses, including nurse anesthetists, to step away from work while they receive treatment, says the AANA in a news release.

“An ATD approach gives Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists three opportunities: 1) To enter treatment to address their addiction, 2) To work toward lifelong sobriety, and 3) When possible, their eventual return to the workplace,” says Linda Stone, DNP, CRNA, chair of the AANA peer assistance advisors committee.

*****

Response from Marie: This position statement is also included as a position statement of the American Nurses Association.

In our work creating and building the Nursing Peer Support Network (NPSN) in Minnesota, I believe the position taken here is vitally important.  Within the culture of nursing, there are negative attitudes toward addictions which act as a disincentive to get help when the person with the addiction is a nurse.    One large piece of the problem is the lack of education for student nurses to understand the heightened risks and extreme consequences experienced when a nurse becomes an addict.   The incidence with nursing is now thought to be one in seven!!!   Fortunately, the U of M SON has developed a curriculum module that DOES present important information about the RISKS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ADDICTION IN NURSING. See our earlier post here for more information about that exciting curriculum addition!

For more information on NPSN go to the website www. npsn.org/mn

It’s great to be part of this point in time, moving forward together on this important issue!

The Mosaic of Marie Manthey’s Life April 30, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, History, Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Peer Support Network, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice, Values.
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ColoringBookCover

by Marie Manthey

I became ill at the age of 5 and was hospitalized for a month at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago. It was a traumatic experience in a couple of ways. First of all, my parent’s didn’t know how to prepare me, since they had never been hospitalized themselves.. so they just said I was going to a large building. They left me there for a month, visiting twice a week, and sometimes when one or the other of them came, a very painful procedure was done involving an IM injection of their blood. As a result, I felt not only abandoned but also frightened and confused about the pain associated with their visits.

Florence Marie Fisher is the name of a nurse who cared for me. One day she sat at my bedside and colored in my coloring book. For me, that translated to ‘cared for me’ … and I decided then that I wanted my life to be about that kind of caring.

From that time on I knew I would be a nurse. I entered a hospital diploma program right after high school, and worked for the next four years as staff nurse, assistant Head Nurse, and Head Nurse. During the last of those years I started going to night classes in the community colleges .. not necessarily at first to get my degree.

I was invited to enroll in the degree program at the University of Minnesota, which was one-of-a-kind at that point. After 15 months of full-time study, I received my Bachelors degree in Nursing Administration. Soon after I was recruited into the U of M’s Masters program in Nursing Administration, in what was the last of the 3-quarter Master’s degrees.

Before finishing that degree, I was recruited by Miss Julian to be an Assistant Administrator of Special Projects. This was a new position that gave me an unbelievably valuable opportunity to learn first-hand about leadership and administration. I was able to experience directly not only organizational dynamics, but was also privileged to work with a group of administrators who used Senge’s principles of a learning organization even before he’d written ‘The Fifth Discipline.’

It was during this time that I became one of two Project Directors for Project 32 (at the University of Minnesota), a pilot program to improve hospital services from an interdisciplinary/interdepartmental perspective. This project eventually morphed in to Primary Nursing, and my career became about understanding and implementing organizational changes that result in the empowerment of employees and the accompanying development of healthy workplace cultures.

Throughout the next ten years of my life in nursing administration – first at another community hospital within the Twin Cities, and then at Yale New-Haven Hospital in Connecticut – I freely helped others with Primary Nursing.. Always accepting visitors and often speaking both locally and nationally as well as publishing as time allowed.

During this period of my career, what had been a manageable, socially acceptable level of alcohol consumption escalated in to full-blown alcoholism. There was an intervention and I entered a 6-week residential treatment program on the East Coast, and have been sober ever since.

In my first year of sobriety as I was feeling my way forward, there were no positions in Nursing Administration available to me. Instead I wrote my initial book on Primary Nursing .. and returned calls to all who had ever asked me to speak, putting out the word that I was available for speaking and consulting. The result was that Creative Nursing Management, Inc. was born, now the longest-running nurse-managed health care consulting firm in the U.S.

When I finished writing Primary Nursing, the publisher asked me who I wanted to dedicate it to.. and that had to be Florence Marie Fisher, the nurse who had colored in my coloring book when I was five. We weren’t able to contact her then, and so I gave up on that idea of actually connecting with her.

My career as a successful entrepreneur has continued ever since. Running a business was not ever something I thought I would do. I didn’t see myself as a businesswoman, but rather as a professional woman. Nevertheless, through many trials and many errors, the company grew. I often say we were successful not because of my business acumen, but rather because my work was authentic and based on real-world realities and values.

In time we grew into a multi-faceted, multi-national firm called Creative Health Care Management. I sold the firm when I turned 65 (in 2000) to the employees themselves. Now in semi-retirement (still, in 2017!) I remain involved in the important work of developing nursing practice and improving patient care.. just without the stresses and challenges inherent in leading an entrepreneurial entity.

An additional aspect of my work today involves tackling the challenge of Substance-Use Disorder. A group of us concerned with the problem of shame and stigma associated with SUD formed a Peer Support Network here in Minnesota, and we are partnering with entities involved in all aspects of the situation.

Another vitally important component of my professional life today has to do with my involvement with my alma mater. After transitioning away from day-to-day involvement in the running of CHCM, I became active in the Alumni organization at the U of M School of Nursing, and also became an adjunct faculty member there. In 1999 the University of Minnesota awarded me with an honorary doctorate, which was thrilling beyond compare. Today I am also active with the Heritage Committee at the School of Nursing, and am engaged in other ways as well with the University.

I also continue to be a part of my own and others’ Nursing Salons – a safe space for nurses in all walks of the profession to share conversations and support one another.

My ongoing interest in changing the way we think about workload and resources is part of the same picture. As healthcare incorporates more and more technology, the temptation strengthens to discard the human caring aspects.

As nursing matures as a profession, I am more convinced than ever, that the choice to care – and to express care and compassion by one’s behavior – is the absolutely correct choice nurses must make in order to continue to serve society justly.

Clinical competence must be on one side of the nursing coin, and care on the other. This is the ‘Coin of the Realm’ nurses must choose if, in fact, the covenant between nursing and society is to continue to exist.

MN Daily: UMN SON Curriculum to include Substance-Use Disorder April 29, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Academia, Nursing Peer Support Network, Professional Practice.
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The School of Nursing incorporated a specialized curriculum into its degree program last year to make students aware of addiction and to address stigma surrounding the problem.

Professor Christine Mueller started the curriculum with doctoral student Dina Stewart, who will become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner upon graduation.

Stewart said addiction and substance abuse among nurses wasn’t something previously covered in her coursework.

Mueller said substance abuse has always been taught in the nursing program but only how it pertained to patients.

The curriculum is an attempt to highlight substance abuse as an issue among nurses, Mueller said.

Even though the addiction rate among nurses is on par with the general population — around 10 percent — substance abuse is often more evident and problematic given that nurses have easy access to medication, Stewart said.

“Just having that access puts them at a higher risk for developing substance abuse or misuse,” she said.

Mueller said nurses also work in a high-stress environment, which can lead to alcohol or drug abuse to cope with the stress.

“We want nursing students to be aware that this disorder is a risk for nurses [and] that they themselves can be at risk,” Mueller said.

The curriculum will teach students to identify the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and how to recognize behaviors in themselves and their colleagues, said Carol Flaten, director of pre-licensure programs for the nursing school.

It will help them understand that the earlier they seek help, the better the outcome will be, Flaten said.

Nurses need to be in a good position to provide safe care for their patients as well, she said.

Stewart said the curriculum would also cover the stigma and attitudes surrounding addiction.

Nursing is considered one of the most trusted professions in the healthcare system, Stewart said, and there are high ethical standards for nurses.

Nurses who find themselves struggling with substance abuse might not seek help because of how they will be viewed, Stewart said.

“But the truth is being addicted is a disease and it’s something that has to be identified and treated as a disease … when we think of something as a disease, then the stigma is lessened,” Mueller said.

If addiction is understood as a disease, then it will help nurses understand how to seek help and move forward rather than have it concealed, Flaten said.

The curriculum is part of the nursing program’s senior course titled “Nurse in Transition to Practice” and is intended to help prepare to join the professional world.

Mueller said the nursing school hopes to package and send the curriculum module to other Minnesota nursing  schools.

Substance-Use Disorders in Nursing: U of MN curriculum incl Manthey’s story (video link) April 26, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Academia, Nursing Peer Support Network.
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School leads collaborative efforts to address substance use disorders in nurses
by: Brett Stursa

The numbers are well documented. About one in 10 people in the United States has a substance use disorder, which mirrors the number of nurses and other health professionals with the illness.

That means about 300,000 nurses nationwide are living with a substance use disorder, and in Minnesota that translates to about 12,700 nurses.

While the numbers are straight forward, the consequences of substance use disorders on lives are complicated and nuanced. Concerned about the scope of the problem and its impact on patients and nurses’ well-being, Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, sought to identify strategies to address the issue of substance use disorder in nurses.

“Nobody is untouched by addiction,” said Delaney. “Even though it brings to the surface many difficult issues, it is critical to the health of our patients and nurses that we talk openly and address it.”

In 2014, Delaney invited state leaders in licensing, education and recovery, as well as the school’s largest clinical partners University of Minnesota Health and Fairview Health Services, to develop a deeper understanding of the landscape in Minnesota and identify a blueprint for action. All who were invited were quick to accept the invitation. Shirley Brekken, MS, RN, FAAN, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Nursing, was eager to get to work. “I think that each of us was looking for something, for a way to protect the public, be supportive of recovery and make nurses aware of how easily addiction can occur,” said Brekken. “There was recognition that if we do it together we can have a far greater impact than if each of us is operating on our own.”

“Nobody is untouched by addiction. Even though it brings to the surface many difficult issues, it is critical to the health of our patients and nurses that we talk openly and address it.” – Dean Connie White Delaney

The group, called Prevention Awareness Addiction Recovery Reentry and Support, quickly determined that education and support were priorities. Since the first meeting in 2014, the School of Nursing developed and launched an integrated statewide approach encompassing education, prevention, recovery and support.

Educating students on the risks

A stressful job, stigma and shame about substance abuse, and a lack of education regarding self-identification all contribute to the risks nurses face. “There are a lot of risk factors that are unique to nurses that weren’t being discussed in the education that the students were getting,” said Dina Stewart, RN, a Doctor of Nursing Practice student who worked with Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for academic programs, and others to develop a learning module for all pre-licensure students. “It’s largely something nurses don’t talk about still because of the stigma.”

The module, which will be made available to pre-licensure programs across Minnesota, is designed to help students understand the risk factors nurses face, with the idea that if nurses know their risks they are better equipped to avoid them. Another objective is to give emerging nurses a plan of action if a colleague exhibits symptoms. “One of my biggest hopes is that it can be discussed openly without any shame associated with it,” said Stewart.

Many nurses don’t seek help because they fear they will lose their licenses to practice. The education describes the protections in place to assist nurses and other health professionals. Minnesota offers nurses and other health professionals a confidential monitoring program. “Nurses are worried they are going to lose their livelihood when really there are protections in place to assist them if they come forward on their own,” said Stewart.

Introducing peer support for nurses in recovery

The goal is that the education being taught in the classroom will be bridged to extend to orientation and ongoing professional development in practice settings. Until recently, nurses who sought treatment and hoped to re-enter the profession had little assistance from each other. Nurses in Minnesota now have a peer support network, which works to foster peer support for nurses in recovery.

The meetings do not take the place of treatment or AA, but rather provide an opportunity for nurses to talk about their recovery and the challenges unique to nursing. “The main hurdles are stigma and shame. That’s especially true in nursing because we are dedicated to helping people and when we realize that we may have harmed people, the shame of that is overwhelming,” said Marie Manthey, RN, Nurses Peer Support Network board chair. Manthey’s own story of recovery is shared in the School of Nursing’s module.

Regular meetings of the network are held in eight cities across the state, and on any given week, there are 10 to 15 people at each meeting. Plans are underway to expand to more cities. “We would like to have meetings in every area where there are groups of nurses who would benefit from it,” said Manthey, a School of Nursing alumna.

Reflecting on the progress made and the work still to be done, Dean Delaney credits the group’s collaborative spirit and willingness to be vulnerable during difficult conversations for its successes. “What’s underlying the development of this integrated model, ultimately, is ensuring the highest trust and safety of the public and also supporting our professionals,” said Delaney. “The way to enhance the health of the public is ensuring the health of care providers, including nurses. We have the framework and we are committed to build on it.”

Substance-Use Disorder Awareness added to UofM SON Curriculum April 20, 2017

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With high-stress jobs and access to sometimes-addictive medications, some nurses are at elevated risk of developing substance-use disorder.

The very real issue of substance-use disorder among nurses isn’t something that gets talked about all that much in nursing schools. A new curriculum created by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and made available to nursing schools around the state is trying to get that timely conversation started.

It’s almost as though the profession has been avoiding talking about the issue, said Christine Mueller, RN, Ph.D., associate dean of academic programs at the U of M School of Nursing.

“If substance-use disorder gets talked about in nursing programs at all, it is usually very superficial,” she said. “At the University of Minnesota, prior to the development of this curriculum, we had not been intentional about making sure that this was an official part of the conversation. But now we’ve created a way to devote an entire class session or online module to the topic. ”

This focus is important, Mueller added: “At the end of the day, substance use disorder among nurses is a quality and safety issue for patients, and we have a big focus on patient quality and safety in our program.”

With high-stress jobs and access to sometimes-addictive medications, some nurses are at elevated risk of developing substance-use disorder, Mueller said. Though at an estimated 10 percent, the rate of addiction among nurses is no higher than in the general population, the risks of coming to work impaired or diverting patient medication could put lives on the line.

Jace Gilbertson, a senior in the U of M’s BSN program, said that nurses with addiction issues sometimes find themselves in a particularly tough spot. And it’s not something they warn you about in school.

“As nurses, we are right there on the front lines,” Gilbertson said. “When I finish my degree, I’ll be working in an emergency department. That is a chaotic environment where things happen fast and the stress levels are high. In the nursing profession, there is that stigma and shame around the idea of substance use, but by just being a nurse we put ourselves at a higher risk of coping with stress by using medications and alcohol. Being open about that risk could help stop a lot of problems before they get out of hand.”

Designed to respond

The curriculum, which was developed by Mueller and Dina Stewart, a University of Minnesota doctor of nursing practice (DNP) candidate, was “prompted by the fact that there had been some press about nurses who have substance-use disorder and the role of the Board of Nursing plays in this issue,” Mueller explained. “Our school decided to be proactive and work with the Board of Nursing and others to think about what we could do together to address the issue of substance-use disorder in nurses. One very obvious thing that a school of nursing could do is to ensure that our students are knowledgeable about the topic. That’s where our new curriculum came in.”

Christine Mueller, RN, Ph.D.

Christine Mueller, RN, Ph.D.

The curriculum was added to the University’s degree program this semester. Other nursing schools around the state are also in the process of incorporating it into their programs.

The curriculum’s goal, Mueller explained, “is for students to develop an awareness about substance-use disorder in nurses and about the risks that substance use creates.”

Mueller said that she and Stewart designed the module in part to provide answers to common questions that nursing students ask, including “Why are nurses more at risk for substance-use disorder? What can nurses do to mitigate that risk? What can a nurse do if they come in contact with colleagues that have substance-use disorder? How can you recognize the problem? What is your responsibility if you suspect diversion?”

The format worked well for Gilbertson.

“In this module, we learned how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an impaired nurse,” he said. “We learned it is not a punitive thing to report a colleague if you suspect substance use — it is for the benefit of that nurse to help them get he help they need and put the patient first. It puts the integrity of the profession front and center.”

Real risks — and help

The curriculum also provides important information and warnings about the real risks of substance-use disorder for nurses and their patients.

“We try to help students understand the consequences,” Mueller said. “If you come to work impaired, you could lose your job or you may not be able to work until you deal with the problem. If you get to the point where you divert medication, that is a felony, and you can’t practice in this state if you have been convicted of a felony.”

This information hit home with Gilbertson, who sometimes struggles with what he sees as a pressure for perfection within the profession.

The curriculum helps nursing students step away from the myth of the “perfect nurse,” he said: “As nurses we re not immune to suffering from substance-use disorder, even though we are some of the most trusted people in the hospital. As our patients’ advocates, we have to be strong all the time and not show any weakness. Because there is a stigma around substance use and addiction problems, nurses try to hide their addictions. That’s when things can get dangerous.”

Jace Gilbertson

Jace Gilbertson

The course also includes a recorded interview with University of Minnesota School of Nursing graduate and substance-use disorder advocate Marie Manthey. In the interview, Manthey tells the story of her own struggle with substance use when she was a practicing nurse.

“Marie’s story really brings it home for students,” Mueller said. “She does a great job explaining how substance use can be so insidious in the profession.”

Through Manthey, students also learn about the Nurses Peer Support Network, a program designed to help nurses recover from substance-use disorder and support them in their recovery.

“One of the most important things for new nurses to understand it that substance-use disorder is a disease, not a moral deficit,” Mueller said. “People can recover from this. We try to make that point clear in the curriculum.”

Realizing that it is possible to recover from substance use disorder and continue working in the nursing profession was an important realization for Gilbertson.

“There are steps a nurse can take to be rehabilitated from substance-use disorder,” he said. “It is reassuring as a nurse going into the profession to know that there is a safety net and there are people out there caring for you.”

Part of closing course

At the U of M, the new curriculum is now a required element of the program’s final “Transition to Practice” course. Mueller explained that the placement was intentional, serving as a key introduction to the realities of life as a working nurse — and as a reminder of the importance of being aware of the risks that substance-use disorder creates.

“It made a lot of sense to place it in our curriculum in the last semester or the last year of the program when students are beginning to think about transitioning to practice,” she said.

Gilberson agreed.

“I think the curriculum is placed well,” he said. “It’s a good reminder of how we should be taking care of ourselves as we go into the profession of nursing, a good call to action for nurses just entering the workplace, a good opportunity to teach nurses early on that this is a reality that they may face during their careers.”

R & R continued, with the Nursing Peer Support Network January 3, 2016

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Here it is the first Sunday in January and I am actually keeping my resolution to post regularly!   Sort of squeezing it in a busy day but here it is.   The third area of my current interest and energy choice is the Nursing Peer Support Network we recently created in Minnesota.   Many of you know that I have been an active member of the larger nursing community for many decades….over 50 years as a nurse.  Some of you also know that for  37 of those years I have been in recovery from the disease of alcoholism……in fact, the majority of my ‘visible’ contributions to nursing have been accomplished during these 37 years.

At no time during this period of my recovery, during which I have been an active participant in a 12 step program …..did I even SEE what generally happens to nurses who become addicted to either drugs or alcoholism.   During the past 2-3 years, I have seen this clearly and am frankly appalled.   Two issues in particular ‘appall’ me;

One is the lack of knowledge nurses have of the continuum that exists from taking that first Percocet or Vicodin ….by ‘diverting’ it from a patients supply…….to a consequence a few years later when up to 15% of them are facing criminal proceedings even perhaps a felony conviction, which essentially means loss of ones license to practice nursing.   We are not doing a good job of making this danger clear to nurses.    

The second issue is the paradoxical thinking that leads to an enormous issue of profession shame about the stigma of addiction.    The paradox that we hold simultaneously in our ‘profession’s mind set’ is that addiction is both a disease and a moral failure.

The ambivalent feelings and attitudes many nurses have about addiction can be attributed to many factors having to do with family issues, as well as experiences caring for addicts.   Nevertheless, as a profession we really need to step up in a mature understanding that addiction is a disease from which individuals can recover and return to their profession with full capacity to be highly effective practitioners.

Many states have programs to help nurses into safe recovery.    Minnesota did not until we established one a little over a year ago.   It is called the Nursing Peer Support Network and the website is http://www.npsnetwork-mn.org.

I will periodically be posting more on this topic as recovery from addiction is a process very similar to what we in nursing are doing in recovery from a state of co-dependency to our rightful state of full professional status.   I have learned so much in this past year and feel deep passion about the necessity to face the stigma of addiction fully, in order to help the ‘still suffering addicted nurse’.

 

NURSES IN RECOVERY….. September 1, 2014

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Substance use is a serious problem in society and even more serious in the nursing profession.
Nursing is the largest single licensed group within health care. Nurses spend the most time of any health professional in close contact with highly addictive drugs. Historically, chemical dependency and alcoholism have long been identified as significant issues for the profession. Addiction continues to be a major problem….and yet, no nurse enters the field expecting to succumb to a hidden trap that will jeopardize his or her own life and/or license and which may in fact cause harm to vulnerable people entrusted to their care.

The sacred, trusting covenant the nursing profession has with the public is ripped apart by the disease of addiction. Statistically, at least one in ten nurses will acquire a Substance-Use Disorder (SUD) within his or her lifetime.

SUD identification often results in an intervention that brings the individual into a place of treatment.

Regardless of how that identification is triggered, two actions ensue:

  •     the regulation of practice to protect patients, and
  •     treatment of the disorder.

Both the regulation by the Board of Nursing and the reality of treatment and recovery are major life consequences that are challenging and life changing. The need for peer support groups is well understood and already established for most other health professional groups, including physicians, pharmacists and dentists, but there is no such support group for nurses in Minnesota.

UNTIL NOW. A new organization is being formed called the Nursing Peer Support Network. Contact me for further information until our website is up. Meanwhile….this is a draft of our eventual goal statement.

To create within the nursing profession a commitment to value every single nurse….especially those on the road to recovery from SUD. This commitment is manifested by ‘return to work strategies’ that permeate every level and type of employment opportunity throughout healthcare. Nurses will become literate about SUD and recovery and be able to help others in places of employment better understand how to reduce the risks of employing in recovery…..even those with felony convictions. Various strategies and educational opportunities will be created to achieve this goal.

We need you help and support. Feel free to contact me via blog directly to my email or call me at 612-827-1611