From the high risk of musculoskeletal injuries that may require ongoing pain relief to the fatigue and stress of long, intense hours on the job, nurses are far from immune from developing a chemical dependency. In addition to potential personal and legal consequences, substance misuse may easily lead to loss of a practicing license and a career derailed.
The state’s Professional Assistance Program aims to help nurses and other licensed professionals with addiction issues receive treatment before they cause harm to a patient, themselves or their career.
What is the Professional Assistance Program?
The PAP is a confidential program that offers professionals an opportunity to receive appropriate treatment for a substance use disorder while maintaining their professional status. The program allows an individual to temporarily surrender his or her license and potentially avoid disciplinary action.
How do nurses qualify for the Professional Assistance Program?
Approval for participation in the PAP requires several criteria, including:
- Voluntary surrender of professional license
- Abstinence from all mood-altering chemicals, including alcohol
- Participation in a PAP-approved treatment program
- A minimum of two years’ monitoring after license reinstatement
Ongoing monitoring may include toxicology results, random drug screening and work-site reports.
What are the benefits of participation in the PAP?
The PAP offers eligible nurses the benefit of a thorough and individualized treatment plan with the goal of returning to professional practice. Additionally, nurses who participate in the PAP may receive immunity from charges of professional misconduct and potential reduction of other charges or penalties related to substance misuse, including criminal proceedings.