Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a far too common problem among registered nurses and other medical professionals. The extreme stress and emotional toll of the job, combined with long hours and access to drugs, all contribute to it.
The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) offers a confidential and voluntary Intervention Program for RNs to get the help they need, avoid disciplinary action and return to the work they’ve studied and trained so hard to do. Its primary goal, however, is to protect the public.
What does the Intervention Program entail?
The program was established by state law back in 1984 to identify and rehabilitate nurses who are suffering from SUD or mental illness. They seek to rehabilitate them and let them return to work without endangering the health and safety of those whom they treat.
Nurses who enter the program receive an individualized rehabilitation plan that provides access to treatment services, continued encouragement, guidance, support and monitoring of their recovery.
How does the Intervention Program affect your license?
An RN who completes the program can avoid suspension of their license by the BRN. However, if you enroll in it, you must agree to “temporarily remove yourself from practice.” Your license will be changed to “inactive” status. That’s not a disciplinary status but an optional action nurses may take for numerous reasons.
Getting help with a substance abuse problem can help nurses prevent more serious issues involving drugs like criminal actions involving diversion of controlled substances. You can protect yourself from allegations of negligence or taking actions that can harm patients.
If you’re facing the suspension or loss of your license by the BRN, it’s essential that you seek the help of an attorney experienced in nursing license defense.