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Posted about 5 years ago
I have been in a constant battle for 10 months now trying to get my RN license through the state board of nursing. I had some alcohol violations from high school and in college of which consisted of alcohol on the breathe of a minor and minor in possession of alcohol. In processing my application for RN licensure the state boards claims they can not make an accurate decision if I would be a safe nurse so I was told to seek an addictions counselor for further evaluation.
I applied for my license in January. As many of us know the process of the application, if you have committed a "crime" you are required to explain the offenses. So, I explained in writing what happend in each offense. In March the state board sent me a letter claiming I was approved to take my NCLEX. I set a date and studied like never before. In this time I also managed to find a job that was willing to hire me after I passed my NCLEX. So, I started work at a hospital after successfully passing my NCLEX only to find out 2 weeks later that my license was under review for alcohol violations. I was laid off from my job as a nurse and was given the option to work as a CNA.
The state board meets once a month to review the current status of my application. The first month I was required to send in the court documents and police reports for these offenses. I didnt get these documents into them by the 3 week prior to the review date that they require so it wasnt until the next month that the board reviewed the documents. They came to the conclusion that they needed more information so I was told to seek an alcohol addictions counselor. I spent time browsing the internet for local providers that could do this evaluation. I was in a time crunch to meet that 3 week deadline with the board so I found 2 providers. I faxed both of their information to the board for approval and made an appointment with the one who could get me in the soonest. The board did approve both counselors mind you. So I met with the one who could get me in soonest and she did her evaluation and submitted it to the board just in time for that 3 week deadline for the month's meeting.
The day after the board was scheduled to review my case of that month I called in to see the status of my application. I was told that they had to cancel that meeting because they didnt have enough panel members on the board show up....so I asked, "well when will they meet again?", thinking it will be in a few days, a few weeks...no the end of the next month. So I wait it out with much patience untill the next month. At this point I'm thinking that this is the last meeting, the counselor that I saw was certain that I did not have any issues with an "addiction". Well, the next month's meeting finally came and I called again to find out the status of my application. I was told that information could not be provided to me over the phone and that I should be expecting a letter. I waited a week and a half and no letter. So, I jumped in my car and personally headed downtown to their office building. I verified who I was and asked a secretary if she could assist me in finding out any information reguarding my application and what the board decided after their meeting. She told me, " I cant give you that information....you should be recieving a letter." I explained to her that I have been waiting a week and a half for this letter and it has not arrived. She finally revealed that all she can tell me is that my case is still open and there will be another meeting at the end of next month.
I finally get the letter which includes information on why there would be another meeting. It stated that the counselor's evaluation was invalid and that she didn't do what was needed for the board to accurately make a decision. They needed certain tests done in this evaluation which was never communicated to me, or the counselor they approved. I contacted the counselor to get the tests done and she isn't even qualified to do such tests. The bottom line is the state board approved a counselor that should never have been approved!!!! Keep in mind they canceled the last month's meeting because they didnt have enough people to review my application. So this invalid evaluation sat on somebody's desk for 2 1/2 months, while I just waited patiently.
This all left me with a 2 day window to find a new counselor that could do these tests, get them approved by the board and then schedule an appointment and have their evaluation sent to the state board in time for the 3 week deadline before the next meeting....it just wasnt gonna happen. So....I wait again!!!! I finally just saw a new counselor who again claims I do not have any issues with an alcohol addiction and the state board will meet again at the end of October to most likely decide what hoop I must jump through next.
I have heard some crazy stories very similar to mine and just wanted to know if anybody was willing to tell their stories as well as advice to not only finally obtain the RN license, but how to stay sane in the process.
1 postback to top
| Posted about 5 years ago
I, too, am in a similar situation. Let me first start out by saying that the state board of nursing is NOT on the side of nurses. They serve only the public interest which is absolutely a matter of necessity. I knew this, but I also thought they would at least give a nurse/nursing applicant a fair chance. My advice before you have to speak with a nursing investigator - get a lawyer no matter what. In the eyes of the state board of nursing, you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.
I have been in minor trouble with the law involving alcohol nearly 8 years ago. As part of my nursing school, a background check was done and I was accepted. I still brought the matter to the head of the nursing department, she contatcted the state board of nursing, they told her that if I successfully pass nursing school, I would most likely be granted my license.
I graduated nursing school with a bachelors degree a few months ago (June 2008) with very good grades. I took my NCLEX about a month later and passed on the first try. Also, before I graduated, a great hospital had already hired me and I was to begin just days after my NCLEX.
So I thought everything was great and that I should be receiving my license anyday as others were while we were all going through the hospital's orientation program. I received my schedule and had a date to begin my preceptorship in the ICU and was really excited. Around this time I received a letter from the state board of nursing that I need to meet with an investigator to discuss my criminal history. I figured it was standard procedure but I had to put my schedule behind because the investigator couldn't meet with me for weeks. After talking with the investigator through email, he explained that it wasn't my criminal history that was the issue, but whether I had a drug and/or alcohol problem.
Meeting with this investigator was the worst experience of my life. It was 2 hours of the most intense interrogation I have ever had. I had to reveal some very personal issues to this investigator. After our meeting, he gave me his opinion and said that he doesn't believe I have a substance problem and that I would probably get my license shortly. He just needed one more piece of information. That was from a doctor I was seeing for depression prescribing me zoloft. He wanted diagnoses, prognosis, summary of treatment, etc. I figured this would be no problem because this doctor was going to write me a letter of recomendation anyways.
I was wrong. The doctor had diagnosed me as being alcohol dependent based on the 6 times I met with him over the course of 3 years. Our conversations were mainly about medications, school, etc. and rarely about alcohol. In my state, Oregon, a new applicant will be denied licensure if they have a diagnosis of substance dependence and cannot reapply for 18-24 months and then only after going through a treatment program and observed for abstinence this whole time period. I was enraged to put it lightly. I have never been addicted to alcohol. It caused my minor problems with the law 8 years ago but that was it. I drank only a few drinks per month at the most.
I wrote to the OSBN about taking the opinion of one doctor who I met with very rarely and only for antidepressant meds. I let the board know that I was also seeing another doctor for therapy and had met with him at least 30 times in this same time period. At first, they didn't want his professional opinion but then changed their minds. This doctor absolutely did not think I was substance dependent and let the board know.
This has only been going on for 2 months now and I am being laid off from the hospital in a few weeks (I was getting paid to do online ICU education). I can easily forsee this going on for many more months.
I just can't believe that they are using my very personal and private health information against me and from a doctor who misdiagnosed me! I feel as if I am being punished for seeking treatment for my depression which I've had for almost 2 decades. I thought I was being a responsible adult by seeking medical and therapuetic treatment. Had I known that my personal health information would be used against me after nursing school, I would have never sought treatment.
The moral of the story is, if you deal with the board of nursing, get a lawyer. Do not admit to seeking any sort of treatment for substance or psychiatric treatment - this is protected information and they cannot ever access it. If you do, it will be used against you. That's it for me ranting.