Drug diversion is taken very seriously in the healthcare field, as it can cause great harm to patients. Diversion occurs whenever a controlled substance that's prescribed to a patient isn't administered to them, whether it's taken by the nurse charged with administering it or sold illegally to other people. When a controlled substance is diverted, patients aren't getting the medication that they need, and it can also impair a nurse's work performance if they're using narcotics at work.
Due to the seriousness of drug diversion, allegations of diversion are almost always reported to the state's board of nursing. The board of nursing will examine witness statements or medication records to determine if a formal investigation should be opened into the case. If you've been accused of drug diversion, it's best to prevent this from happening.
One way you can stop an investigation from being opened is to hire a nursing license defense attorney. Read on to learn three reasons why it's a good idea to hire a nursing license defense attorney.
1. An Investigation for Drug Diversion Can Make It Difficult to Find Employment
When your state's board of nursing decides that there's adequate evidence to open a drug diversion investigation, the fact that you were investigated will become public record. This will occur regardless of the outcome, and you'll need to disclose the investigation to employers whenever you apply for nursing jobs in the future.
Employers are sometimes reticent to hire nurses who have been investigated in the past, so this can make finding employment more difficult for you. To protect your career, it's best to seek the aid of a nursing license defense attorney and try to prevent the investigation from being opened in the first place.
2. License Restrictions Can Disqualify You From Certain Roles
Being investigated for drug diversion doesn't mean that you automatically lose your nursing license forever, as states commonly have rehab programs if necessary. Whether you were diverting controlled substances or not, you may be tempted to enroll in these programs to save your license.
Unfortunately, enrolling in one of these programs will place restrictions on your license. Even though you're in a treatment program, you'll be barred from handling controlled substances. Since many nursing jobs require administering narcotic medication to patients, this will significantly limit the number of jobs you will be able to work in. Most inpatient nursing jobs in the hospital setting, for example, won't hire a nurse who is unable to handle controlled substances. Having restrictions placed on your license can derail your career and prevent you from working in the roles that you previously enjoyed.
3. Drug Diversion Investigations Can Sometimes Become Criminal Investigations
Many states have agencies that will investigate suspected cases of drug diversion, since some health care workers who divert drugs are selling them to other people rather than using them, which is a serious criminal offense. An investigation from the board of nursing can cause you to lose your license, but a criminal investigation can send you to jail. It's worth working with a nursing license defense attorney to help prevent the investigation from escalating into a criminal one.
Overall, contacting a nursing license defense attorney can help prevent drug diversion allegations from ruining your career, regardless of whether the allegation is true or not. An attorney can contact the board of nursing and explain your case to them before the investigation formally begins, and stopping the investigation at this point means that it will not become public record and won't affect your license in any way. If your director of nursing has talked to you about suspected drug diversion or if you've received a letter from the department of health alleging that you have engaged in drug diversion, contact services such as Spiga & Associates.