Board of Nursing
Peer Assistance Program
The Tennessee Professional Assistance Program is a voluntary program funded by nurses' licensure fees through the Tennessee Board of Nursing. The program offers consultation, referral, and monitoring for nurses whose practice is impaired, or potentially impaired, due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or psychological or physiological condition.
A referral can be made confidentially by the employer, EAP, co-worker, family member, friend, or the nurse her/himself. If the nurse is willing to undergo a thorough evaluation to determine the extent of the problem and any treatment needed, the nurse does not face disciplinary action against his/her nursing license.
According to the Nurse Practice Act, any nurse who knows of any health care provider's incompetent, unethical or illegal practice MUST report that information through proper channels. The only two (2) proper channels to report nurses are:
- The Board of Nursing, via Health Related Boards Investigations, or
- The Tennessee Nurses Professional Assistance Program.
Addiction is a significant problem among all health care professionals, in all areas of the country. It is a chronic, progressive illness that can be treated effectively. As with all chronic illnesses, the earlier the identification and treatment, the better the prognosis.
Some signs of addiction in nurses are listed below:
- Mood swings; inappropriate behavior at work; frequent days off for implausible reasons; non-compliance with acceptable policies and procedures; deteriorating appearance; deteriorating job performance; sloppy, illegible charting; errors in charting; alcohol on the breath; forgetfulness; poor judgment and concentration; lying; and volunteering to be the med nurse.
- Other characteristics of addiction nurses include high achievement, both as a student and a nurse, volunteering for overtime and extra duties, no drug use until prescribed following surgery or a chronic illness, and family history of alcoholism or addiction.
Of course, any of these characteristics may be symptoms of a number of other problems besides addiction.
If you have questions or concerns, contact the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program. The staff is centrally located in Nashville, but will assist with a nurse in any part of the state. The Professional Assistance Program can also be utilized to provide educational presentations regarding addiction for institutions, professional organizations, and schools of nursing. Contact the office for more information or to schedule a presentation.
Tennessee Professional Assistance Program
545 Mainstream Drive, Suite 414
Nashville, TN 37228-1201
Phone: 615-726-4001 or Toll Free: 1-888-776-0786
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday