Connecticut Nurses’ Association 2002 legislative agenda

Connecticut Nurses’ Association 2002 legislative agenda

P U L L

O U T

P A G E

Recognizing Connecticut Nurses’ Association’s role in speaking for the nursing profession, in advancing the professional development of registered nurses, and in advocating for initiatives that enhance the public health, human services, patient safety and positive patient outcomes:

We therefore support:

* Legislative action that empowers the Board of Examiners for Nursing to:

* regulate nursing practice through rule making to resolve nursing issues

* reinstate a nurse to the position of Executive Director of the Board of Examiners for Nursing

* Implementation of a confidential, funded, and monitored non-punitive rehabilitation program for nurses whose practice is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a disabling mental illness

* Implementing measures to resolve the ongoing nurse shortage

* Actions that address workplace safety, advocacy, and nurse staffing patterns

* Measures that include professional registered nurses in any decision– making group that addresses health care and human services issues

* Measures that maintain and enhance the professional autonomy of nurses remove the restraints on nursing practice and allow nurses their full scope of practice

* Efforts to secure reasonable reimbursement for independently provided nursing services

* Legislation, including mandates, that provides for physical, mental, and dental care for all A priority for legislative change this year is CNA’s second legislative plank:

Implementation of a confidential, funded, and monitored non-punitive rehabilitation program for nurses whose practice is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a disabling mental illness

During the 2001 legislative session, a bill outlining a model program for impaired nurses was introduced. This legislation was the culmination of a 10year effort to establish an alternative program. Two years of recent effort was spent researching model programs, developing a grass roots effort and providing a variety of education about addiction and recovery. Legislation will be introduced again in the 2002 session.

WE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL IN 2002 IF EVERY NURSE IN CONNECTICUT:

1 Learns about the legislation. How do I do that?

2. Call CNA at 203-238-1207 or E-mail info@ctnurses.org We will provide you with information and add your name to a list of interested individuals who are willing to call their legislators.

3. Remember you are voters and you are part of the largest group of health care workers. Your colleagues and your profession need you to help.

Why is there a need for a nurse intervention program in Connecticut?

Nurses are equally or at slightly higher risk for chemical dependency than the general public; impaired health care workers place the public at risk; chemical dependency is a treatable disease; nurses do well in treatment.

* Alcoholism and drug addiction affect approximately 10 percent of the public; nurses are not immune to this disease.

* There are approximately 45,000 actively practicing nurses in Connecticut; therefore, statistically, approximately 4,500 are at risk of this disease at any given time.

* Currently, nurses with these illnesses and conditions are disciplined through a slow regulatory process that is not treatment or recovery oriented and does not adequately protect the public.

* Annually, 50 nurses at most are disciplined for addiction, alcoholism or impairment. This punitive system creates barriers to nurses’ reporting and keeps nurses from getting help.

* Legislation is needed to establish an alternative program for impaired nurses that would be confidential and focus on immediate treatment, guidance into recovery, relapse prevention and reentry into safe nursing practice with a highly structured format for monitoring.

* A nurse intervention program would provide the opportunity for some of the other 4,500 nurses to obtain help in a non-threatening, confidential system that will enhance public safety.

* Statistics from states with alternative programs demonstrate that more nurses voluntarily enter alternative programs.

* The Public Health Committee voted unanimously to support a bill establishing a nurse intervention program in. 1996 and again in the 2001 legislative session.

* The Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing has continued to support development of an alternative to discipline program.

* The CT Nurse Intervention Program outlined in legislation that was brought forward in 2001 is modeled after several highly successful programs in the other 37 states that have alternative programs.

* The program works with employers during the early phase of treatment when the nurse is not practicing and facilitates reentry of the nurse with the employer at the appropriate time with structured monitoring.

* CT is one of 13 states that do not have an alternative program available for nurses.

* Physicians in all states have similar, confidential programs.

For additional information about Alternative Programs please contact CT Nurses’ Association at 203– 238-1207 or info@ctnurses.org.

Copyright Connecticut Nurses’ Association Dec 2001-Feb 2002

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