Alternatives to Dismissal for Medical Professionals with Addiction Problems

Medical professionals work in an environment that is characterized by high levels of stress and easy access to drugs. As a result, some medical professionals have a significantly higher rate of substance abuse than the general public, with experts estimating that approximately 20% of all medical professionals struggle with addiction.
When a medical professional is discovered to have a problem with substance abuse, administrators have been faced with a tough situation Addiction. While it is impossible to continue to support a medical professional with a substance abuse problem working closely with highly addictive medications, it is important to show the medical professional the same compassion that is offered to patients. In addition, the industry is experiencing a chronic shortage of qualified nurses.
An article published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing argued that the answer to the difficult problem of nurses with addictions is to be supportive and offer rehabilitation through treatment instead of resorting immediately to punishment.
The research team reviewed findings regarding the subject and presented six key elements of an effective alternative to the dismissal plan. Dr. Todd Monroe explains that an alternative to the dismissal program enables administrators to better protect patients. Traditional disciplinary procedures may take months, while an alternative to dismissal can be efficiently carried out.
In addition, an alternative to the dismissal program operates with the support of the medical professional and an atmosphere of non-judgmental treatment that can help them seek help while retaining prospects of returning to the profession following recovery.
The authors of the study also emphasize that medical professionals are faced with the same problems as the general population, including addiction. While medical professionals are expected to extend compassion to patients with substance abuse problems, they are often dismissed without the same empathy from peers and administrators for a condition widely recognized as an illness.
The suggestions for the alternative to the dismissal program include provisions for medical professionals returning to work after recovery. Reinstatement to the position is closely monitored, with random substance checks and support offered by managers and regulators.
One positive aspect of the alternative to the dismissal program is that it allows medical professionals to address many of the problems previously stemming from a discovery of a substance abuse problem, such as obtaining liability health insurance after discipline. Making these obstacles less daunting will help them reenter the workforce.
The researchers believe that alternatives to dismissal programs offer a promising option to disciplinary action. They provide the protection necessary for ensuring safety for patients and allow medical professionals the same compassion and support that they offer to patients every day.
While therapy may focus on a particular therapeutic strategy such as behavioral or cognitive therapy, the sessions may also be broad and encompass a variety of techniques and methods. In the sessions for medical professionals, they can learn how to be more introspective and to understand the decisions they have made regarding substance abuse. They will be encouraged to examine the problems and attempt to come up with pragmatic solutions that are alternatives to relapsing. They are also likely to learn important strategies for coping with the temptations that lead many into relapse.

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