If you are a nurse, doctor or other healthcare worker and have been accused of being impaired while working, you should immediately consult with an attorney experienced in matters before the Bureau of Professional Occupational Affairs, the agency charged with investigating and prosecuting healthcare workers in licensing matters.
We recently represented a nurse from a Philadelphia hospital who was accused of being impaired on the job. After the nurse was confronted with the allegations, he was required to undergo a urine test. The urine screen was positive for amphetamines. The nurse did not have a prescription for amphetamines.
Fortunately, we met with the nurse before he made any admission to his employer.
We reviewed his medical history and advised him to decline to participate in the Voluntary Recovery Program offered by the State Board of Nursing.
We advised the nurse that he would soon be required to attend a mental/physical exam before a psychiatrist appointed by the Nursing Board.
We reviewed the nurse's medical records, employment records and other relevant evidence and we assisted the nurse in preparing for the mental/physical examination. It is important that the healthcare worker understand how to respond to questions asked at the medical/physical exam.
As a result, the doctor who conducted the examination concluded that there was no impairment and the investigation was closed without the initiation of any charges against the nurse.
If you are taking a medication without a current prescription, the initial evaluation performed at the request of the Nursing Board will usually result in the healthcare professional being recommended to participate in the Voluntary Recovery Program for three (3) years. This will impact your ability to work as a nurse in certain jobs.
When you are accused of diverting medication or accused of being under the influence while working, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney before making any admissions, or agreeing to a drug and alcohol evaluation.
Any admissions you make will be used against you.
A skilled, healthcare licensing attorney can often help you avoid the pitfalls that are inherent in these situations.