I answer this question daily but you can probably answer it yourself. You will receive a letter offering you the Board of Registered Nursing or LVN Board’s Diversion program if any of the following have occurred:
- You are a registered nurse or LVN and you’ve been recently been arrested for a Driving Under the Influence Charge (DUI)
- You are a registered nurse or LVN and were at one time convicted of a Driving Under the Influence Charge (DUI)
- You are a registered nurse or LVN and have recently been arrested for Drunk in Public or Disturbing the Peace and there was alcohol involved.
- You are a registered nurse or LVN who has recently been arrested for any domestic disturbance in which alcohol played a roll.
(are you seeing a pattern here? )
- You are a registered nurse or LVN who may have made a medication error and didn’t properly account for wasting medication. This is especially problematic if the medication is a schedule 3 controlled substance.
- You are a registered nurse or LVN who may have experienced an issue with the pyxsis machine at your facility.
- You are a registered nurse or LVN who may have mis-charted when it came to medication; this is especially true if the medication is a schedule 3 controlled substance.
- You are a registered nurse or LVN who takes prescription medication like sleeping aids, anti- anxiety, depression, or pain management substances.
(ok now you HAVE to see the pattern here)
You’ve received a Diversion letter because the BRN or BLVNPT believes that you’ve misused drugs or alcohol. If you have “misused drugs or alcohol” the BRN has cause to discipline you based on this portion of the Nurse Practice Act :
2762(b) Use of any narcotic, dangerous drug, or alcohol to the extent that it is dangerous to self or others, or the ability to practice nursing safely is impaired.
2762(c) Conviction of a criminal offense involving the prescription, consumption, or self-administration of narcotics, dangerous drugs, or alcohol, or the possession of or falsification of a record pertaining to narcotics or dangerous drugs. (See also 2761(f) and 2762 (a), (b) and (e).
If the Boards (BRN or BLVNPT ) believe or can prove that you’ve violated this section of the Nurse Practice act, they will automatically issue you an offer for Diversion. The letter is the same whether you were arrested for a DUI but only had a blood alcohol content of .06 or if you’ve been diverting Dilaudid for 18 months from your hospital. It’s a form letter- everyone gets one.Not everyone should.
The important things to think about when considering Diversion are these:
- Do you have a dependency issue with alcohol or drugs or medication?
- Do you need to take time off from being a nurse to get this addiction under control?
- Can you afford Diversion? ( 6 months MINIMUM off work plus $500 + per month for the program)
Many nurses will accept the Diversion Program to avoid discipline. The offer letter is written to scare the pants off you and make you think that if you decline, the Board will take your license and that is just simply NOT THE CASE. RN Guardian’s panel attorneys have defended nurse’s licenses for each of the alcohol or drug issues listed at the beginning of the article and not one single nurse has lost their license. In fact some of our nurses have got off scott-free. Some have received low level discipline like citations and fines or letters of reprimand. A number of our RN clients have been given probation with a rule out provision. So as you can see, there are a number of options, and none of ours include revocation or suspension.
If you need more answers or would like to discuss your case specifically, please give me a call at 800-506-9766 and ask for Jennifer.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR POSSIBLE CRIMINAL CHAGES
I should note, that if you fall under the category of an RN or LVN who has in fact been diverting medication for use or sale, or falsifying prescriptions it is imperative that you call us. These accusations can not only carry a penalty with your respective Board of Nursing, but there is the possibility of being criminally prosecuted. You need to be aware of statutes of limitations and possible outcomes before doing anything. Enrollment in the BRN’s Diversion Program WILL NOT PRECLUDE A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. 800-506-9766.