Wisconsin Nurses Association “Nurses Caring for Nurses”

14Sep16

Wisconsin Nurses Association “Nurses Caring for Nurses” Peer Assistance Program

http://wisconsinnurses.org/about-wna/affiliates/nurses-caring-for-nurses-peer-assistance/

Wisconsin Nurses Association (WNA)has a peer assistance program called “Nurses Caring for Nurses”, see above link. The program is a voluntary and confidential advocacy program for Wisconsin nurses and their employers. The program was established in 1993 as awareness about the growing need of chemically dependent nurses was realized. The program offers education, awareness, support in recovery and advocacy. This program is not affiliated with the Department of Regulation and Licensing or the Wisconsin Board of Nursing.

The program’s objectives:

To serve as a resource for nurses with questions about alcohol and drug use.

To provide support and advocacy for nurses seeking assistance with recovery through WNA’s “Nurses Caring for Nurses” Program.

To educate student nurses, licensed nurses and nurse employers about chemical abuse/dependency among nurses.

To educate health care workers and consumers about WNA’s “Nurses Caring for Nurses Program”

I am so glad to know that Wisconsin has this resource available. What concerns me is that I didn’t know anything about it. I successfully completed the Wisconsin Board of Nursing’s Monitoring program in 2010. In the 5 years I spent completing the program, I was never told about or offered this advocacy program. Other nurses in the same situation haven’t heard of it either. What good is a program if those who need it most have never heard of it? The two are not affiliated, the Wisconsin Nurse’s Association’s (WNA) “Nurses Caring for Nurses” and the Wisconsin Board of Nursing’s (BON) monitoring program, why is that? It seems to me that the BON would benefit, as would the nurses enrolled in their monitoring program, by such an affiliation. At a minimum the BON should let nurses struggling with addiction know that such a program exists, that there are others in their exact situation that they can talk to and get support from. I know this would have helped me tremendously.

So I emailed them to ask a few questions. The BON said they could not help me and connected me with the WNA, that is how I found out about their program. When I emailed again to ask more questions they did not reply. So I called Gina at the WNA, she is the “Nurses Caring for Nurses” contact, but she has not returned my call. Hopefully she will, maybe I can join them as a resource. At a minimum I would like to get the word out that “Nurses Caring for Nurses” exists, this blog is a start. I will keep trying to contact them to see how I can help. I will ask the WNA and the BON to work together to let those in the BON’s monitoring program know about this advocacy program. I think it would increase success for those going though monitoring, in fact I know it would. Now I just need to get the BON and WNA to agree…

For more information or to request support from “Nurses Caring for Nurses”: 800-362-3959 Ask for Gina

About the Author

Kristin Waite-Labott is a registered nurse and recovering addict who has firsthand experience with the challenges of addiction. She now works as the Head Nurse Coach at Veritus, a virtual treatment program for nurses with substance use and mental health disorders, and is dedicated to helping nurses overcome addiction and making a difference in the lives of others. Kristin is passionate about addressing the growing problem of addiction among healthcare professionals and encourages open discussions and action to prevent it from spreading further.

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