Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Discusses How Pain Medication Use Can Affect Nurses’ Professional Licenses

Nurses face a “Catch-22” situation—they work in a bruising profession that can injure them physically but at the same time can be disciplined for using the pain medicines needed to alleviate those injuries. There is an opioid epidemic in Kansas and Missouri and part of the effort to end it has focused on the use and abuse of opioids in the medical profession.  As a result, there has been an increase in the scrutiny of doctors and nurses’ use of pain medications, even legal use, as that legitimate use is seen as a gateway to abuse and illicit drug distribution throughout the community as a whole.

If you are a licensed professional in Kansas or Missouri facing an allegation of misconduct involving pain medications, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Your career, reputation, and livelihood are at risk, and the challenge facing you is one you cannot work your way through alone.

If You Need to Use Pain Medications, Know How to Protect Yourself from Abuse Allegations

Pain medications—opioids, sedatives, and narcotics—are highly effective but highly addictive ways of treating chronic pain.  They are powerful and can impair judgment and motor skills, rendering users unable to make sound judgment and slowing motor skills.  As a society, those are not qualities that we seek in nurses.  But what steps should a nurse take when he or she legitimately needs pain medications, is taking them with a prescription and is not affected by them at work?  While there is a temptation to keep the legitimate use of pain medications a secret out of fear of employer discipline, this is not a course of conduct that I suggest to my clients.

If you are legitimately using pain medications with a valid prescription, you should disclose your use to your employer according to applicable workplace rules. You will usually also have to show a prescribing note from a pharmacist that indicates that the proper use of the medications will not have a deleterious effect on your ability to perform your job duties. That said, an employer may still choose to reassign the reporting nurse to a position that poses a lower risk to patients. While reassignment may feel punitive, it is almost always within the employer’s right.  Moreover, reassignment is far better than discipline or termination, which is what usually occurs when a nurse’s use of pain medications is discovered without prior disclosure. In this latter scenario, even a nurse that is taking these medications with a valid prescription will often be disciplined for failing to report that use preemptively.

Instead, if a nurse reports legitimate use and supplies a valid prescription that indicates that he or she is still able to practice, he or she will not be in the position of explaining why narcotics or opioids are showing up in his or her drug test results and will usually avoid discipline altogether. 

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now for the Advice You Need

You have worked too hard to attain your nursing license to lose it because you failed to attain professional legal advice when you needed it. You need to speak to a licensing attorney as soon as you become aware that there are allegations concerning your use of pain medications.  Contacting an experienced licensing attorney now can mean the difference between getting back to helping your patients and losing your career forever.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend your license. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with professional licensing issues.