Addiction Intervention and Recovery Services for Nursing Professionals

The Program for Recovering Nurses (PRN) is a confidential alternative to formal disciplinary action offered by the Idaho Board of Nursing. This program monitors impaired nurses suffering from chemical abuse or dependency, mental health issues, or behavioural problems. The PRN works in conjunction with the Idaho State Board of Nursing to assist in the education of nurses and employers regarding provisions of the Nursing Practice Act and providing a safe environment in a health care setting.

The Board believes that nurses who acknowledge that their practice may be impaired as a result of chemical dependency or mental conditions and who are actively engaged in recognized recovery methods and as a result do not represent a threat to the public, should be allowed to continue practicing nursing. In order to ensure public safely, the Board supports monitoring of these nurses outside of the process of formal disciplinary investigation and action under provisions that ensure support of recovery and prevention of relapse.

The purpose of the program is to assist nurses and their families in identifying alcohol, drug, or behavioural problems that pose a potential threat to that nurse, the family, or the patients. The PRN will work to identify and facilitate acute treatment and to provide long-term support for the nurse to return to a productive place within his/her profession. While the program provides no direct counseling, treatment, or aftercare services, it does support and endorse the development of self-help groups at the local level.

The PRN is a resource for nurses, their families, colleagues, and other affiliates. Disciplinary action does little to intervene in the disease process and may frequently be counterproductive to identification and professional reintegration. Treatment has proven to be effective for both the individual and society. By providing nurses an opportunity to enter into treatment and to recover from their diseases early in the disease process, the PRN can serve to minimize negative impacts on the nurses, patients/clients and their families and friends.

The Program for Recovering Nurses receives financial and staff support from the Board for Nursing and from individual nurses enrolled in the program. Enrolled nurses are responsible for many of the costs of treatment and recovery, including costs related to assessment, hospitalization, counseling, aftercare, random testing, and others.

  • Confidential Consultation
  • Interventions
  • Assessment
  • Referrals
  • Recovery Monitoring – The PRN program monitors participants while in treatment and recovery.
  • Relapse Management
  • Education and Research
  • Consulting resource for Idaho Hospitals, medical staff and organizations
  • Support Resource
  • Advocacy – The PRN advocates for the right to continue working when there is documentation of abstinence and recovery from chemical dependency.

There are two different treatment tracks into our Recovery program:

Track 1—Self Referral: The nurse seeks treatment and monitoring on his/her own behalf.

Track 2—Non‐Board Referral: The nurse has not been reported to the Board of Nursing for violation of the Nursing Practice Act or Rules. The nurse or an agent of the nurse (employer, colleague, family member, etc.) contacts the PRN for assistance. The nurse agrees to enter treatment and signs a contract for monitoring.

Track 3—Board Referral: A formal compliant has been filed with the Board of Nursing, the nurse voluntarily surrenders his/her license to the Board and has admitted to a disability relating to substance use or to mental health disorder. The nurse waives the right to a hearing, agrees to enter treatment and signs a contract for monitoring.

Visit the Idaho State Board of Nursing

Additional Resources:

Substance Use Disorder in Nursing
Idaho Board of Nursing PRN Guidelines Booklet

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