Monday, September 24, 2007

Can TPAPN Help?

Frequently, I get inquires from nurses that have been referred to TPAPN (Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses) and the nurse was wondering if they should go to TPAPN. If a nurse has substance abuse/addiction issue or mental health issues, TPAPN can be a beneficial rung on the ladder to recovery or health and the nurse should definitely consider entering the program. TPAPN offers not only recovery support, but also the ability to avoid a disciplinary action by the Board.

But, if a nurse is thinking of going to TPAPN solely to avoid being reported to the Board, the nurse should know this is risky and frequently backfires. Several steps in the TPAPN process require a nurse to admit to being an addict or alcoholic and to continue to do this when a nurse is not; it begins to wear on the nurse (especially with the emphasis on truth and accountability in the recovery process). Also, once a nurse admits to a problem it is very difficult to back track and declare there is now no problem. I have heard from nurses that have come close to completion of the TPAPN contract and then decided they can’t “live the lie” anymore and they announce they are not an addict and don’t belong in TPAPN. If this nurse was a third-party referral, TPAPN must report the nurse to the Board, which puts the nurse right back where they started.

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to Find a Nurse Attorney

I often get inquires from nurses in other states looking for an attorney to represent them before their state’s nursing board. Since I can only represent nurses before the Texas Board of Nursing I wanted to give some hints for nurses to find an attorney in their state. The area of law involved is Administrative Law, so you want to look for an administrative lawyer, not a family law lawyer, not a criminal defense attorney, not a medical malpractice attorney, and on and on. Look for recommendations from –

· State nursing association
· The American Association of Nurse Attorneys referral line (1-866-807-7133)
· State Bar
· co-workers, supervisors (if appropriate)
· sometimes even the Nursing Board will provide names of attorneys that frequently practice before them

· online
· yellow pages (although most attorneys seem to be placing their advertising money into internet advertising)
· professional journals
· articles