They say the best defense is a good offense—and where it comes to protecting your Texas Nursing License from disciplinary or revocation due to substance abuse, this is certainly true. When you begin to suspect you have an issue with abusing substances, it is always best to get out ahead of the problem. Texas nurses are fortunate in that the Texas Nurses Association has established a program to aid them in their struggle.
The Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) was established to give nurses support and guidance with the goal of overcoming any issues they may have developed with the abuse of substances. It operates from the standpoint that substance abuse disorders, like any chronic disease, can be treated and ameliorated—or at least kept under control enough to permit a nurse to safely practice their profession. The goal is to protect the people of Texas who are being served by nurses by protecting nurses themselves.
The way it works is that, once a nurse experiences substance abuse, you may either personally contact TPAPN or be referred there by another professional. Then you will meet with TPAPN, and there undergo an assessment to determine the state of your substance abuse—an assessment including diagnosis, recommendations for treatment, recommendations for recovery support, a determination of your fitness to continuing practice at present, and a determination of what sorts of monitoring of your practice you may need.
The program will then determine your individual participation requirements, such as treatment, drug testing, recovery support, practice monitoring, and, possibly, refraining from practice until your substance abuse is under control. So long as you adhere to the practice requirements, you may be permitted to continue practicing with an unencumbered license. If you should fail to keep to the program, however, TPAPN does refer your case to the Texas Board of Nursing—because both programs do hold the public interest as their highest purpose, and nobody is well served by a nurse who may be addled by substance abuse. Not even the nurse, who, if they make some sort of mistake because of their substance abuse, may find their license at risk of revocation.
When you are referred to the Board of Nursing—either by TPAPN or because of a formal complaint filed against your license—you should contact an experienced professional license defense attorney, like us here at BERTOLINO LLP. The earlier in the complaint process that you contact an attorney, the better. We proudly represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.
If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas Board of Nursing for any reason, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 to schedule a case evaluation.