Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses is essentially the KARE program offered in the State for helping nurses overcome their addictions to substances of various kinds. More information can be found here. What many people do not realize is that nurses are in a position that could lead quite easily to substance abuse. This is not an inevitable outcome, but the risks are higher for nurses than for members of many other professions. The reason for this is that nurses are, for one thing, under a lot of pressure, which can become quite hard to cope with for certain people. In addition the nature of their job allows them easy and open access to a number of medications. What may begin as a harmless attempt to calm their nerves by taking a patient’s leftover medication may result in a full-blown addiction that the nurse in question will be forced to maintain. When this happens, peer assistance programs, such as the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program, come into play. These programs essentially exist in order to provide nurses in the position described above with the support structure necessary to overthrow the habit and return to a normal level of functioning as soon as possible. Information about the program can be found at the website of the Kentucky State Board of Nursing.
There Is Help
What is very interesting to note in many instances is that individuals who are in need of assistance from programs like the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses feel that they cannot approach their friends and colleagues for help because they are health care professionals. In other words, they feel as though they should know better and that others will not have any sympathy with their situation.
In actual fact there is often very little that an individual nurse can do in order to escape the situation that she is in. It is extremely important that nurses are aware of the many nursing organization that are available and that exist to provide assistance in these cases. The first two steps in changing your life are:
1. Admitting that you have a problem and that you are in desperate need of assistance as soon as possible
2. Turning to the structures provided in your state in order to begin working towards solving your problem as quickly and effectively as possible
There are eligibility requirements that must be met by individuals who would like to enter the program, but any serious member should have little trouble with this.
Before you can join the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses, there are a number of eligibility requirements that you first have to meet:
To begin with you must be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (ARN). In addition the nursing license that you hold must be valid for the state (Commonwealth) of Kentucky. If you are not yet licensed as such you may still be eligible for the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses if you are an applicant for a credential issued by the Board, but you will have to wait and see if this is true in your particular case as this is often decided on a case to case basis.
In order to take part in the program you must personally request participation in the program, even if you were referred by the Board or another person. This is considered to be a sign of your commitment to solving your problem and moving forward in your life. If you do not personally make the effort to participate in the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses you will unfortunately be unable to seek help form this avenue.
In addition to the above you also have to openly admit that you have a problem. This involves committing the details of your addiction or dependency of a substance (including both alcohol and drugs) to writing and submitting it along with your request to join the program. This is based on the idea that you cannot be helped until you admit that you need help, and this involves acknowledging the existence of your problem.
You will not be able to join the program if you have previously had a negative experience with that program or a program that is similar in another state. This means that, if you have entered a peer assistance program before but did not successfully complete it due to noncompliance with the terms of the program, you will not be allowed to join the Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses as the expectation is that you will behave in the same way as you did on that previous occasion.
The requirements for application involve undergoing a chemical dependency assessment. This assessment must be performed by a Board approved evaluator, and it must adequately conform to the Kentucky Board guidelines for such assessments. This is to determine the nature of your dependency and goes a long way to determining your eligibility for the program as well as how you can best be helped should you enter the program.
There are a number of terms that are set forward by the conveners of the program to which you will have to agree before you can move forward with the procedures contained within the program.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you must agree not to be employed in any capacity in a patient care setting or one that requires licensure until approved to do so by the program staff. What this means is that you cannot work as a nurse until it has been decided that you have your problem under control. You may pose a danger to your patients if you care for them while under the influence.
Other State Programs
Kentucky is not the only state that offers a peer assistance program for nurses. There are also program in a number of other states, including:
- Illinois Nurses Association
- Tennessee Professional Assistance Program
- Florida Intervention Program
- Indiana State Nurses Assistance Program
- Michigan Health Professionals Recovery Program
- Maine Medical Professional Health Program: Mindy Armstrong
- Nevada Alt. Program for Chemically Dependent Nurses
- Maryland Rehab Program
- New York Professional Assistance Program
- Utah Recovery Assistance Program
- Wyoming SBN Nurse Monitoring Program
- Arizona Nurse Monitoring Program
- California Diversion Program
- Louisiana Monitoring Resources
- Delaware Voluntary Treatment Option Program
- Minnesota Health Professionals Services Program
- Massachusetts Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program
- Wisconsin Monitoring Program
- North Dakota Workplace Impairment Program
- South Dakota Health Professionals Assistance Program
- North Carolina Alternative Program
- Arizona Nursing Monitoring Program
- Idaho Program for Recovering Nurses
- Oklahoma Peer Assistance Program
- New Mexico Diversion Program
- Colorado Peer Assistance Program
- Kansas Nurse Assistance Program
- Vermont Alternative Program
- Montana Assistance Program
- Pennsylvania Voluntary Recovery Program
- Alabama Alternative Program
- Mississippi Recovering Nurse Program
If you are in a position where you know that you are abusing substances and that you are using your position as a nurse in order to gain access to those substances, you need to seek help immediately. In addition if you know of anyone else, whether it be a colleague or friend, who is in need of peer assistance within the health care framework in order o overcome an addiction, it is your responsibility to sue the information provided below in order to help that person. Although your colleague may not appreciate it at the time they will come to realize that you were merely trying to help them get through a very difficult and dangerous portion of their life. The Kentucky Peer Assistance Program for Nurses is one of the better programs available in the country aimed at assisting individuals in recovering from substance abuse and dependency and all of the effects that come with such an addiction. By admitting that there is a problem as the first step, the program guides you through a sequence that eventually results in full recovery and acceptance of yourself as a complete person who does not need the aid of narcotics.
The AANA Peer Assistance Resource Directory provides the following information for the state of Kentucky:
State Peer Advisor (1)
Jack Brueggemann, CRNA
Florence, KY 41042
P: 859-609-9659 (C)
State Peer Advisor (2)
Carla Kaye Hobbs, CRNA, APRN
Prestonsburg, KY 41653
P: 502-802-9813 (C)
P: 606-263-4401(H) 606-218-3522 (W)
Chemical Dependency Program
KARE for Nurses Program, Patricia Y. Smith (A)
Commonwealth of Kentucky Board of Nursing
312 Whittington Parkway
Louisville, KY 40222-5172
Web site: http://kbn.ky.gov/kare/
State Board of Nursing
Kentucky Board of Nursing
Charlotte F. Beason, Ed.D, RN, NEA, Executive Director
312 Whittington Parkway
Louisville, KY 40222-5172
P: 502-429-3300, Ext. 226
Web site: http://kbn.ky.gov/kare/
Submit Peer Assistance Resource Directory revisions to:
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
222 S. Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068-4001