As California starts to overhaul the regulation of its 350,000 registered nurses, one of the nursing board’s most promoted and trouble programs is under the microscope. The nursing drug diversion program, which seeks to help nurses maintain their licenses while they kick addiction to drugs, has apparently not been the success the nursing board would like the public to believe.
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica discovered several examples of nurses in the drug diversion program who practiced nursing while intoxicated, stole drugs from bedridden patients, and committed fraud to prevent from being caught.
Most troubling is that since the program was started in 1985, more than half the nurses who entered the program were unable to finish it and numerous nurses who failed the program were deemed to be “public safety threats.” Yet despite the identification of incorrigible nurses, several continued to work after the findings were made.
These healthcare professionals may be in the operating room. They may be serving you when you’re sick,” said George A. Kenna, an addiction researcher at Brown University. “You just don’t want that sort of person who’s impaired” at the bedside.
To read the complete story in the L.A. Times click here.
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