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IL defense attorneyOpioid abuse and the abuse of other prescription drugs are at an all-time high in the United States. Pill mills are among the major sources of these drugs. As a result, federal and state agencies, as well as licensing boards have started cracking down on the prescribing of pain medications. In fact, facilities that work with the chronically ill are facing intense scrutiny, as are advanced practice registered nurses since they work under prescriptive delegation. This extra attention, though not always warranted, places the licensing status of nurses at risk. Learn more about the investigation process and how to protect your nursing license with help from the following information.

Investigations Can Be More Like Fishing Expeditions

Investigations for matters relating to prescriptive authority or the “excessive” writing of pain prescriptions may be closed if the Illinois Board of Nursing lacks evidence. Alternatively, the investigation could go another way. Something you say could be misinterpreted as evidence in a prescription abuse case, or the investigation could turn into a fishing expedition. The investigator might start looking for any sort of infraction. He or she could even use what seems like an innocent conversation to gather evidence against you for a matter completely unrelated to the initial query. This is why it is so critical that you understand the investigative process, the risk to your nursing license, and how to protect it.

Protecting Your Nursing License

First and foremost, you must understand that the Board of Nursing is not your ally. The Board is not necessarily interested in preserving your practice or offering you leniency. The Illinois Board of Nursing was established to protect the public, but Board representatives can be almost manipulative in their investigations. Moreover, they are unlikely to inform you of your rights—especially your right to consult an attorney before ever speaking with them. In fact, some investigators may even attempt to use their authority or an air of urgency to coerce you into speaking with them before you have had the chance to obtain legal counsel. Do not let them do this to you! Know your rights.

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IL license defense lawyerAfter a long and stressful day, sometimes it is nice to come home and have a glass of wine or a beer. It is not uncommon for someone to come home from work and have a drink or two to unwind, but for some people, this can become a harmful habit -- especially if you work in the medical field. Individuals who work in the medical field face an immense amount of stress and tension on a daily basis. Multiple studies have suggested that medical workers face a higher chance of developing a substance abuse issue. According to the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, somewhere between 10 and 12 percent of all physicians will develop a substance abuse issue during their careers. Substance abuse is serious for anyone, but for a physician or other medical professional, it could jeopardize their career.

Signs of a Substance Abuse Issue

Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot the signs of substance abuse in a medical professional. Most of the time, medical professionals are very high functioning substance abusers, meaning they are still able to go about their daily lives and maintain their careers and households for a period of time. Here are a few common signs that a medical professional is battling substance abuse:

  • Preferring night shifts because of lessened supervision
  • Frequent job changes
  • Falling asleep on the job
  • Taking frequent bathroom breaks or other unexplained absences
  • Glossy eyes or small pupils
  • Incomplete charting or errors in patient paperwork
  • Other job-related errors or missteps

Consequences of Substance Abuse

Having a substance abuse issue when you are a medical professional is risky. Most of the time, issues arise with medical professionals when they have substance abuse issues because their job performance begins to suffer inexplicably. When a medical professional begins to make errors when they are completing patient paperwork or charting, other workers may begin to become suspicious and report their errors to the licensing board. Medical professionals also have the option to self-report their issues, which usually produces a better outcome than if they were reported.

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CA divorce lawyerSome of the highest rates of addiction among professionals are found among doctors and nurses. Both doctors and nurses must maintain professional licenses in order to practice, and these licenses can be taken away if a board determines that substance abuse is interfering with the performance of one’s job.

In these circumstances, hiring an attorney to represent you before the board will mean that you can feel confident your best case is being put forward and that you understand the process in which your license is at stake as well as your options moving forward.

Addiction in Healthcare Workers

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