After long negotiations, we were able to convince the Department of Nursing to settle the case with a reprimand, a small fine, and eight hours of continuing education classes.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
Client APRN’s employer had complained about the APRN’s tardiness and performance issues at work. The employer believed the APRN was impaired and claimed to have noticed “track marks” on the APRN’s arms and reported it to IPN. The APRN insisted there were no such track marks and was not an IV drug user. Once referred to IPN, the APRN submitted to an evaluation. All of the APRN’s drug tests, including a hair test, came back with negative results. Despite no clinical evidence of a substance abuse disorder, the evaluator concluded that the APRN must be lying about their circumstances, and that they are an intravenous drug user. The APRN then rejected IPN and subsequently got a letter of investigation from the Department of Health (DOH), which included accusations of impairment.
We collected mitigating evidence and immediately provided a response to the DOH. In it, we attacked the credibility of the IPN evaluator and accused the evaluator of putting aside clinical judgment to “play detective.” An evaluator’s responsibility, we contended, is that of medical professional whose role is to assess impairment, not that to assess whether a practitioner violated the Practice Act. We asserted that this evaluator was overstepping their role and scope.
The Probable Cause Panel dismissed the case without any finding, and the APRN is free to practice without any consequences on their license or any record of an investigation.
This information is a sample of our past results. Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results. Every case is different and each case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits. The circumstances of your case may differ from the results provided. The information provided has not been reviewed or approved by the State Bar.
We were able to quickly gather enough favorable testimony and evidence supporting the RN’s case regarding his reasons for refusing the drug screen, and evidence of diversion was actually just a documentation error.
Our RN client was able to explain the high-usage Pyxis report due to his position as a charge nurse and preceptor in the ICU, and there was no evidence of drug use.
We were able to provide an explanation on why the drug screening was “out of range,” and the substance abuse evaluation confirmed there was no abuse or drug diversion of narcotics.
Is it better for doctors, nurses and others licensed health care professionals with impairment or diversion issues to wait until the COVID-19 quarantine is lifted before they enroll in IPN or PRN?
For nurses and other health care professionals accused of drug diversion, the most crucial thing to do is to fight the allegations as early as possible, in order to prevent formal action and discipline.