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Additional employment obstacles for CRNA’s with drug and alcohol issues

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2020 | Medical Licensing

If you are a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and are accused of having a drug or alcohol problem, you can face serious consequences with your employment.

If an RN is found to have an alcohol problem, and opts to go into the Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP), the RN will usually be able to return to work after a drug and alcohol evaluation .

If an RN has a substance use problem and is diverting controlled substances, most of the time the RN will not be able to return to work until after an evaluation and several urine screens. When the RN returns to work, the RN typically will not be able to pass any control substances for one (1) year period.

As a CRNA, if you are diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you are usually prohibited from working as a CRNA for one (1) year. You can return to work as an RN; however, if the underlying problem is a substance use disorder, as noted above, you will be prohibited from passing controlled substances for one (1) year.

I recently represented a CRNA who was accused of diverting Fentanyl. The allegations were proven to be false; however, the Nursing Board insisted on a drug and alcohol evaluation which resulted in an Alcohol Use Disorder diagnosis. After the CRNA spent thirty (30) days in rehab, she was told she would be unable to return to work as a CRNA for one (1) year.

If you are a CRNA, RN, or LPN and are accused of an alcohol or controlled substance related matter it is important that you make no admissions to anyone and that you consult a healthcare licensing attorney immediately.

You should not rely on the Nursing Board or the Pennsylvania Nursing Assistance Program (PNAP) for legal advice.

In the past few months, I have been involved in several cases which could have been resolved fairly easily in favor of the RN or CRNA; however, in each of those situations, the healthcare worker made admissions about drug or alcohol use which have caused significant employment challenges.