In our last post, we began discussing the Professional Assistance Procedure, a program aimed at helping nurses deal with addiction problems. On a website promoting the program, it is said that PAP does not provide treatment, but rather monitors the progress of participants with approved treatment providers. PAP is supposed to be confidential and apparently allows chemically dependent professionals to obtain treatment without losing their professional credentials.
The website also says, however, that participation in PAP does not exempt a chemically dependent professional from disciplinary action, particularly in the event of relapse or dropout. As we noted last time, participation in the program is low in comparison to other states that have similar programs operated by independent entities, and this very well may be due to the Wisconsin program’s ties to the state board of nursing and its disciplinary process.
Nurses who struggle with drug addiction, of course, need to get help to ensure they don’t harm their patients and that they can get their own lives in order. Defending oneself in the disciplinary process is also a valid concern, though. Nurses who find themselves involved in a disciplinary proceeding don’t have to go it alone. Working with an experienced legal advocate can help ensure that one has guidance and advocacy throughout the disciplinary process.
If the disciplinary process is connected to chemical dependency, an attorney can also help ensure that a health care professional receives direction regarding appropriate treatments, particularly when pursuing treatment can help minimize the negative consequences of a disciplinary proceeding.