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The Disease

Many people believe that nurses are immune from addiction by essence of their intelligence and education.  In reality, exposure, easy availability, and familiarity with medications often lead predisposed health professionals to develop a substance use disorder.

Substance abuse is one of the major factors threatening safe nursing practice.  Substance use disorder is a chronic, progressive illness characterized by the use of chemicals in spite of adverse consequences.  This compulsive-use cycle may have periods where use is controlled, but it is normally followed by at least one episode of out-of-control use causing adverse consequences in one's life.

Not recognizing or dealing with substance use disorder will exacerbate the problem.  Often we are too engrossed in our own problems to be objective and our individual efforts result in more stress that increases the severity of the situation.  Left untreated, substance use disorder will not only risk your life, but the life and safety of patients.

There is a place to turn for help

Nurses often buy into the myth that they should be able to handle their substance use disorder because they are health care providers.  What may seem a tremendous burden to one person can become a lighter load when shared with someone else.

The first step is to admit there is a problem.  It isn't easy to admit to another person that we are having trouble handling our problems alone.  It is a subject that we avoid discussing or confronting.  Yet, once we reach that first step, we can begin the process of regaining our life back.

Eligibility

A nurse may access the program by self-referral, Board referral, referral from another person or agency, such as an employer, co-worker or family member.  Admission to the KARE for Nurses Program is available to individuals who, at the time of application, meet the requirement listed below.

  • Is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse licensed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky or, an applicant for a credential issued by the Board;
  • Request participation in writing to the program regardless of whether referred by the Board, self, or another person;
  • Admit in writing to abusing, or being dependent upon, alcohol and/or drugs;
  • Have not been terminated from a similar program in this or any other state for noncompliance;
  • Obtain a chemical dependency assessment performed by a Board approved evaluator, which conforms to Board guidelines;
  • Follow all recommendations of the Board approved evaluator;
  • Agree to the terms set forth in the KARE for Nurses Program agreement; and
  • Agree not to be employed in any capacity in a patient care setting or one that requires licensure until approved to do so by the program staff.
Services Provided

The KARE for Nurses Program develops individualized Program Agreements based upon the unique circumstances of the nurse.  Monitoring can be facilitated in many ways, some of which are listed below:

  • Assistance with referral to approved treatment providers;
  • Monitoring participants for compliance during recovery and continued nursing practice for a minimum of at least five (5) years; and
  • Providing education for nurses, employers and other groups about the KARE for Nurses Program, substance use disorder, treatment, and related topics.
Case Closure

Participants must comply with all KARE for Nurses Program requirements for a minimum of five (5) years.  Failure to remain complaint, or resolve issues of non-compliance, will result in termination from the KARE for Nurses Program.  Board staff will make determinations regarding violations of the Program Agreement, termination from the KARE for Nurses Program, and the imposition of suspension/denial of licensure. 

In accorance with 201 KAR 20:450 Section 3(3), the partcipant waives his or her right to hearing and appeal as to: any disciplinary allegations or charges; a determination of a violation of the Program Agreement; termination from the KARE for Nurses Program; and the resulting two (2) year suspension. 

Suspension of the nursing license(s) is considered disciplinary action which is reported to the National Council State Boards of Nursing disciplinary database (NURSYS), and other state, federal and certifying bodies, as applicable.

Contact Us

To obtain additional information or to seek admission to the KARE for Nurses Program, please contact Jill M. Cambron, Compliance Program Coordinator at 502-429-3313, or 1-800-305-2042, Ext. 3313.

For additional information regarding the KARE for Nurses Program, you can send a message via the Compliance Section Contact.

 

Last Updated 12/6/2013
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