Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nurses and Addiction

I still continue to find bias against nurses battling addiction. There continues to be a misconception that addiction is a personality defect or a choice. A recent article on Addiction Nursing was published in Advance for Nurses. This article discusses the specialty field of addiction nursing. I thought the article also contained a good description of addiction.

Berthilde Dufrene, MSN, RN, CARN, PRI-C writes, "Addiction is a chronic, incurable, but treatable brain disease. Patients with this disease undergo recurrent cycles of relapse and recovery. Much like other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, patients usually receive care during an acute phase of the illness and are stabilized with the aid of medication. Pharmacotherapy during the acute care stage aims at interrupting the addictive process through medically supervised detoxification and relieving withdrawal symptoms and discomfort.

Continuing care involves counseling and behavior modification with hope of guiding the patient toward a recovery lifestyle."

So, since addiction is a disease, why does it continue to be treated as a crime or a choice. Why are we so supportive of co-workers that are diabetic or have cancer, but we turn on nurses with drug or alcohol issues. Why are we not fighting to get a non-public rehabilitation order to help nurses with addiction (it also applies to mental illness). In Texas, physicians, physician assistants and acupuncturists all have the ability to be put under a rehabilitation order, which is a non-public, non-disciplinary monitoring of a practitioner's practice. Why is there such a push to punish addiction rather than support people on their recovery road? Some of this push comes from public advocacy groups, so why are we not educating them so that they see that the steps they have instilled have only resulted in health care providers not seeking help for fear of retaliation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Horrible Medication Error!!

A patient in error has an IV medication injected into his spinal canal and then learns that there is no cure for the error and that he will die a painful death usually within days. What a horrible medication error for a nurse or physician to have to live with. every day.

The ISMP error newsletter has a very good article on the erroneous intrathecal (via the spinal route) administration of IV vinca alkaloids, primarily vinCRIStine. The article has helpful hints regarding this error and other medication errors. Nurses should be reading every issue of this newsletter to help protect patients.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Buy Malpractice Insurance Now!

All nurses that provide patient care should have a malpractice insurance policy. It is not enough that your employer covers you under their policy, every nurse should have their own policy. I think with the financial situation, it is even more important to protect one's career and how horrible to have to go without legal representation or reimbursement for expenses because of financial constraints.

You most likely have health insurance, car insurance and home insurance. Isn't your job worth protecting? Isn't your career more important than your car? You may never get sued, but the number of nurses being reported to the BON is increasing. Insure yourself and be protected.