Kentucky Alternative Recovery Effort (KARE)


​​​​​​​​The Kentucky Alternative Recovery Effort (KARE) for Nurses Program was developed and is offered by the Kentucky Board of Nursing to identify nurses whose abilities to provide nursing care are compromised by a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and to assist these nurses so that they can return to competent and safe practice.


​​What is Substa​nce Use Disorder?

  • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic, progressive illness characterized by the use of chemicals in spite of adverse consequences.
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  • ​​SUD is one of the major factors threatening safe practice.
  • This compulsive-use cycle may have periods where use is controlled, but 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 SUD will exacerbate the problem.
  • Left untreated, SUD will not only risk your life, but the life and safety of patients.

The foundation of the KARE for Nurses Program is that Substance Use Disorder is treatable and that the recovery and return of competent nursing practice is in the best interest of the nurse and public health. 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.

Eligibility for KARE for Nurses Program

  • Candidates for the KARE Program must be a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse licensed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, or an applicant for such licensure.
  • Candidates must Request KARE Progra​m Participation in writing.​​
  • Candidates for the KARE Program must admit in writing to abusing, or being dependent upon, alcohol and/or drugs. Guidance documents titled self-test-for-drug-addiction and self-test-for-alcoholism​ can help determine if there is an issue or concern.
  • Candidates who have previously been terminated from a similar program in this or any other state due to noncompliance may be ineligible for the KARE Program.
  • Candidates must obtain a SUD evaluation performed by a Board-approved evaluator, which conforms to Board guidelines. A list-of-evaluators-by-city is available via the KBN document library by searching for the terms list of evaluator.
  • Participants must follow all recommendations of the Board-approved evaluator.
  • Participants must agree to the terms set forth in the KARE for Nurses Program agreement.
  • While the main purpose of the KARE Program is to facilitate participants' safe return to nursing practice, participants are not permitted to work in any capacity in a patient care setting, or one that requires nurse licensure, until approved to do so by a KARE Program.

Case Closure

Successful completion of the KARE Program is conditioned upon compliance with all terms of the Program Agreement.

Violation of Program Agreement

  • Failure to remain compliant, or resolve issues of non-compliance, will result in possible termination from the KARE for Nurses Program and suspension or denied reinstatement of licensure.
  • A suspension or denied reinstatement of licensure is disciplinary action that is reported to the National Council State Boards of Nursing disciplinary database NURSYS online validation, and other state, federal and certifying bodies, as applicable.
  • Board staff will make the determination regarding violations of the Program Agreement, subject to applicable laws and regulation​s


KARE Program Forms and Document Names​​