​​Recovering Nurse Program

Statement of Belief

The primary responsibility of the Board of Nursing is to protect the public by regulating the practice of licensed nurses.  An impairment that renders a licensee unable to perform nursing services or duties with reasonable skill and safety is hazardous to the well-being of the public. Substance dependency disorders such as Alcoholism and Drug Dependency with Dual Diagnosis are responsive to treatment/rehabilitation. These disorders are complex processes that are chronic, progressive and often fatal that can respond positively to intervention and treatment.

The Recovering Nurse Program strives to help facilitate a process of change through which nurse participants improve their health, wellness, and nursing practice while striving to reach their full potential in all areas of their lives. The program of structured monitoring identifies the problem, and provides a system of accountability, advocacy, and support while emphasizing self-responsibility and self-care.

Nurses who have participated in and maintained rehabilitation and recovery are vital to health care and, with appropriate support and monitoring, can safely continue or resume the practice of nursing.

History of the Recovering Nurse Program

In 1982, the International Conference on the Addicted Nurse, a call to action was launched to all states to take a resolution for advocacy based assistance programs for substance dependent nurses to their house of delegates. Part of that original resolution was grounded on studies that showed that having programs specifically for nurses caused earlier identification, timely removal from the work place, appropriate monitoring and safer return to practice. The American Nursing Association and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing began actively promoting state advocacy programs for nurses.

Mississippi recognized the need for such programs, responded to the call and in 1987 the Recovering Nurse Program was born. Since its inception, the program has changed, adapted and grown with the changing needs of participants and substance dependency treatment research. In January 2011 the Board approved a set of criteria based on best practice guidelines established by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. These criteria form the basis for the functioning of the RNP in regards to treatment and assessment referrals.

Requirements for RNP Participation

Nurses who participate in the RNP must acknowledge their violation of the Nursing Practice Law, recognize the need for outside help with their substance dependency and be willing to follow recommendations regarding assessment, treatment and monitoring limitations. Each nurse signs a five year monitoring agreement with the board that limits their practice to the state of Mississippi. Over the course of the five years, employment agreements are implemented beginning with stringent restrictions and gradually evolving to restoration of practice freedoms.  The most carefully monitored areas are those of participant’s healthcare, emergent and surgical situations, compliance with twelve step programs, and regular random drug screens. The program provides a system of accountability, advocacy, support, and teaches self-responsibility and self-care.



Criteria for Periodic, Unannounced Drug Screens
List of criteria for periodic, unannounced drug screens

Recovering Nurse Program Forms
Information about Drugs