Refer Someone to TNPAP
**This section is not for reporting yourself
Conduct that demonstrates poor judgment or skill resulting in violation of the Practice Act that is reportable, includes, but is not limited to:
- Drug diversion suspected
- Failing to account for wastage of control drugs/falsification of documents
- Giving medication without an authorized order
- Inappropriate behavior or mental health impairment
- Impairment due to prescribed medication, illegal drugs or alcohol
- Positive workplace drug screen without a valid prescription
- Positive workplace drug screen due to illegal drug or alcohol use
- Serious medication errors or charting errors
- Repeated or concerning medication errors or charting errors
- Boundary concerns
Certain mental and behavioral issues
You are encouraged to review your board’s Practice Act and rules and regulations frequently.
Health care professionals often avoid dealing with drug impairment (legal and/or illegal) in their colleagues. There is a natural reluctance to approach a co-worker suspected of impairment. There is the fear that speaking out could anger the co-worker resulting in retribution or could result in a colleague losing his/her job or even their license.
Under the Rules of the TN Board of Nursing (Rule 1000-1-.13, Unprofessional Conduct and Negligence, Habits or Other Causes) and other health-related rules of ethical conduct, anyone with knowledge of a practice that is or could be below the acceptable standard of care must immediately notify the appropriate authorities. In Tennessee there are two recognized appropriate authorities:
- Tennessee Department of Health, Division of Health Related Boards, Office of Investigations, or
- Tennessee Professional Assistance Program
An advantage to reporting to TNPAP is early intervention. Once notified, TNPAP will:
- Contact the individual
- Refer the individual to an appropriate treatment facility or practitioner for evaluation
- Monitor and verify treatment progress and compliance
- Advocate once monitoring agreement has been signed
Individuals who are referred and refuse TNPAP services will be referred on to the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Investigations. The TN Department of Health will determine if a practice act violation has or has not occurred and will take the appropriate action.
Guide for Helping Workers Who Demonstrate Impairment in the Workplace
This guide is to assist employers in helping workers whose practice may be threatened because of chemical impairment (prescribed/illegal drugs or alcohol). The guide focuses on what you in the workplace can do to assist an employee/co-worker.
Chemical impairment is a problem that has major impact on today’s society and the health professions are not immune. When the problem exists it impacts not only the individual practitioner’s well being and ability to practice but also co-workers and possibly the safety of patients. Our goal is to provide some clear-cut steps to assist a colleague, rather than enable a problem to continue.