Like any professional, nurses can experience alcohol or drug dependency or mental health issues. However, unlike other professionals, nurses with these conditions can face disciplinary proceedings that can result in the loss of their license and their livelihood. The Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) is a program that may help a nurse with her substance use or mental health concerns. However, it is best to consult an experienced attorney before making a decision on whether to enter into this program, especially if you receive a referral to this program from your employer.
Requirements For The TPAPN
The TPAPN is a non-profit program that is administered through the Texas Nurses Association. It is a voluntary program designed to help licensed Vocational Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses whose ability to provide services to patients is impaired due to drug or alcohol addiction or mental illness. Although the program is confidential, TPAPN has a cooperative agreement with the Texas Board of Nursing, which is important to keep in mind if you enter the program.
Agreeing to enter into the Texas Peer Review Assistance Program can be an alternate to being reported to the Texas Board of Nursing and facing possible disciplinary proceedings. The requirements of the program are strict. Some of the rules that nurses must agree to follow include:
- Nurses must obtain an assessment by TPAPN staff to determine eligibility and participate in a treatment program until approved for discharge.
- Nurses with substance abuse problems must attend self-help meetings, such as with Alcoholics Anonymous, daily for the first 90 days of treatment and at least four meetings each week after that. Nurses with diagnosed mental illness must follow the advice of their psychiatrist or therapist.
- Nurses must obtain written permission from TPAPN to return to work and follow any job restrictions.
- Nurses must abstain from use of drugs, alcohol, and abusive medications.
- Random drug testing is required.
- The length of the program is a minimum of two years.
- The program must be paid for by the nurse.
If a nurse enters this program, the consequences for not following the rules can be severe. The staff of TPAPN is required to report the violation to the nurse’s employer and in some cases the Texas Board of Nursing.
Let Us Help You Weigh Your Options
Are you considering voluntarily entering the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses? Does your employer want to refer you to this program? Let attorney Walt Taylor help you decide which course of action is best for you and your nursing license. Walt has assisted nurses and other medical professionals throughout the Dallas and Fort Worth area and around the State of Texas with disciplinary proceedings, including the Texas Board of Nursing.
Contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation today.