Recently in Montreal, two nurses were fired for stealing opioids (narcotics) and using them themselves rather than administering them to patients.
You must login to vote
In addition to hearing it on the news, I happened on this story online and read comments people made. The jist of these comments was zero tolerance, no second chance and jail time for the perpetrator.
In the hospital where I work, on my unit, one nurse has been fired, investigation ongoing, and another is pending investigation and on sick leave .
While it is indeed illegal to steal from your employer, the legal aspect cannot be so easily teased away from the medical aspect of this: when you're addicted, your judgment is impaired. When your depression is untreated, you reach for a "buzz". The consequence of this is that you use while your patient's pain remains uncontrolled because you've substituted water for the actual drug and injected water into the patient. Unrelieved terminal cancer pain is true agony, and this kind of cruelty to another human being is unthinkable.
I can tell you that if some addict had my mother as his/her patient, and did that to her, I would feel homicidal towards that nurse.
Only now, that nurse on sick leave is a good friend of mine. In drug rehab and undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression. I cannot picture her in jail. It is very difficult to be objective.
Where does "medical" stop and "legal" begin? What should the punishment be? Should there be mandatory random drug testing on all of us nurses all the time? Is a serious, first offense, breach of ethics, reason for irrevocable dismissal from the profession?
My opinion: the public needs to be protected from the dubious practices of substance-dependent nurses. But, striking a nurse off the Roll for a period of one, three, or five years is insufficient. Because of the shortage of health care workers, I think obligatory, unpaid, hospital service should be the sentence. With, of course, no access to the drugs. Until all rehab and treatment are successfully completed. And then, random control testing to monitor possible relapse.
Yes, heads would hang in shame, but shame is, in these cases, appropriate. Until, God willing, pride returns.
Of all known institutions, I attend only two: church, in my heart, and school, in yours. Both are subject to demolition. - Lucie Adams, 2007
It is only for poetry to know how many stanzas fit into one caress. - Lucie Adams, 2008