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rn narcotics diversion

I am being investigated for narcotics diversion. Management and pharmacy are investigating and I am waiting for them to initiate a meeting with me. Pyxis records will show that I pulled many doses early. All my wastes are accounted for but not at the time I pulled them. I do not know what to do or say to them. I will tell you here that I did divert narcotics, Either I took the "administered dose" or I took the waste and replaced it with saline. I stopped 2 weeks ago and have started counselling on my own. I cannot tell you what an absolutely horrible nurse I feel like.

Can anybody share their experience or give me some guidance here? Is there any hope of keeping my job? Of not having to admit my failures to my family and my manager? Of keeping my license?

Thank you for any help you can give.
6 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm a nurse and decided to wean off my Narco use. Im just sick of having to go to the pain clinic. I truly have chronic pain with MRI's to back it up. Yet, even with pain med nursing became so hard after my car accident. At the time I had a small amount of Narco perscribed but it was not enough since I could not walk for 6 months and shortly after I could I went back to work thus developing a chronic limp. I have never at work taken pain med from a patient, nor used IV pain medd from work. What I would do is if a pt was sleeping at night I would take out their next dose of an opiate at the right time and use it. I'd record they took it. If they were not big users of pain medicine I didn't do it. So, as a result fortunately I never went to far with it and fel so bad after about 5 times I stopped. I just couldn't luve with that. BUT, I can see how it can and dues happen to nurses and I've  worker in many places that do want to help you. It depends on how severe it was for you, what state or even hospital your in. I hated to feel like s drug addict so instead of being in so much pain having to be on my feet I quit nursing even though we surlely needed the money. I decided if I stayed at work in pain I'd always be tempted and at least I went out on my terms. Honestly is the only way and let the chips fall. If you lie then it's an example your not in full recovery. True recovery is about telling the truth, no more secrets. I know where I work in general we have programs for recovering nursing and it doesn't necessarily mean your loose your license forever. You may have a temp suspension, ordering you to complete a program and once working again not be able to give Narcotics for at least a year. Again I am not sure how bad you got into taking meds from work so that will play out in what they decide. I would not lie. Your family should love you and support you being honest and getting help. If you lie and get away with it you will for sure down the road do it again. I quit because I had pain and didn't want to get into stealing and I saw to my shock I sure could go down that road. I think if your willing to own it, get the help, work with your employer you can one day return. Please take that road, and I'll pray they are the kind of hospital that supports recovering nurses. You will never find happiness or long term job security if you lie . Good luck/ I wish you the best. Please be honest, hold your head up, and get the help you need.
Avatar universal
You make a very good point. I do not want it to happen again. The stress of getting caught was always so great. I don't know how the administration is going to approach it but I've already looked into the program at the board of nursing and will self report if I need to. I've had a session with a counselor and it was the first time i ever talked to anybody about it. It was really really good. I've also started looking at jobs out of acute care, which is also really really good.
Avatar universal
Call the union rep immediately. Be sure they attend the meeting. You may not get to keep your job, but if you go into a program they will not take your license. Keeping you in my prayers.
Avatar universal
non-union, so no union rep. i thought about calling an attorney but i can't afford it.
Avatar universal
No, not yet. Wait to hear them out. Answer yes or no whenever you can and don't elaborate. But do be completely honest. It is unlikely they will keep you on. Honey, what were  you thinking trying to beat pyxis! That's crazy. I'm so very sorry this happened. Your attitude is good though and a program might be a great addition to your recovery plan. You will find work again that doesn't involve med administration. Hang in there.
569676 tn?1315641158
Hi Kim,

You are in a really tough spot, and I truly sympathize with you.  I wish I could tell you one way or another what your out come will be but I can only share my experience at my hospital.

I was a CST working in the OR on the open heart team.  I won't get into specifics because they really don't matter much.  But we used huge amounts of Fentanyl on our cardiovascular cases, and I began diverting from the OR.  I swapped doses with saline, dug through sharps boxes for "waste" etc.  It was pitiful.

After months of diverting, I was called into our DON's office and asked bluntly to which I promptly denied.  She then told me that a diversion had just occurred from the OR I was assigned to and the ampule of Fentanyl that was taken was dusted with a powder that stains a persons hands if handled and is visible only under UV light.  She asked if I would allow security to check my hands, which I did.  I lit up like a christmas tree, my scrubs were glowing, hands, face, and anything on myself that I touched.  

I immediately broke down into tears, out of disappointment in myself, anger, frustration, relief... My DON came and hugged me and told me "We will work through this together".  We didn't have much of a personal relationship but she really cared about our team.  

I was removed from the floor on "Medical leave" and sent to our EAP department whom placed me in outpatient treatment.  After completing treatment and a series of negative drug screens, I was offered a position back in the hospital, but not where I had acesss to narcotics for a period of 6 months.  During that time I had to submit to random UA's, and routine check ins.  

There was no action by the board, and eventually I left the hospital because I missed being in the OR so terribly.  

Fast forward 10 years later, after a ton of personal work, cognitive behavior therapy, thousands of hours of NA meetings, meeting with other impaired medical professionals, I now work as a Veterinary Anesthetist and handle the very same drugs daily that I was abusing back in the day.  

I was extremely fortunate to be in the situation I was in, and working for the organization that I worked for.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck, if they question you, I would surrender.  Follow their recommendations to a T, and start thinking about some additional therapy after your treatment because the guilt of diverting narcotics from our patients can be detrimental to your self worth and recovery.  

You can still have a successful career in nursing!  Its just going to take a ton of work, honesty, and willpower to get it!  Feel free to message me any time if you need to chat.

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