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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Hey all! I'm new to this forum. I have been on Suboxone for 8 months following a two year addiction to painkillers. I have always wanted to be a nurse, and now that my life is stable (thanks to Suboxone) I have signed up for the LPN (licensed practical nurse) program at a college here in Minnesota. I will be starting in April of this year.
I am really worried that I may get kicked out of the nursing program if they find out I'm on Suboxone. My question is, will I be allowed to do my clinicals while I'm on Suboxone? Will I get kicked out of the nursing program? I'm planning on tapering off before I get my nursing license, because I'm almost certain that I can't practice nursing while on it. Has anyone else gone through this type of situation? I'm so worried about this. Thank you all in advance


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:36 pm 
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There is another active thread on nursing, check it out.
Currently I have an APRN, they will not be able to return to patient care until off Suboxone.
I have an RN that is currently practicing, with some restrictions on medication handling. They are under the jurisdiction of the HPSP and the Nursing Board but they are working, they got into trouble due to behavior while working as an RN.
I have a couple of CNA's that are working unrestricted. Both taking the course work and getting their certificate after going through treatment and being on Suboxone.
Being in treatment, and on Suboxone should not effect your ability to complete school and get a license as an LPN and eventually as an RN.
You will be asked if you currently are taking drugs that can impair you, or similar language.
If the school finds out (no reason they should) and stupidly discharges you I would head to legal services or an employment type attorney.
To answer your final question you can practice nursing in Minnesota while on Suboxone. Particularly, if you were on it prior to starting your training and career. There is no reason to taper off until you are ready, it has been a few decades but I still remember the stress of school and first jobs, trigger city.
APN's are treated like PA's and physicians. No medication assisted treatment allowed.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Thank you so much for your prompt reply! I feel so much better now! Do you think I should disclose my medication status to the school right off the bat? I definitely agree with you about school being a trigger! I am 28 years old, so it's been 10 years since I have been in a school environment. It is going to be hard on me as it is, so it would be very difficult to taper during that already stressful time. Thanks again for your reply, it is greatly appreciated! You seem very knowledgeable, and for that, I am especially grateful!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:15 pm 
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no, i would not disclose it without being asked. can you anonymously find out, like call and pretend you want to start the program?
plus they would never know you were an addict, you could have gone to suboxone after legitimate paid issues or for pain!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:44 pm 
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Earlier today, before I posted my question on here, I had my fiancé send an email to the Minnesota Board of Nursing asking about this. Haven't heard back yet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:46 pm 
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And yeah I think I'm going to keep it a secret from my school unless I get caught by u/a when it comes time for clinicals.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:47 pm 
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Even if they ask I do not think you should disclose. They can only screen if you have a medical problem that would prevent you from doing the tasks required. Even then, most employers have to come up with reasonable accommodations. While in treatment, addictions are protected under the ADA.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:55 pm 
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laurenbelle wrote:
And yeah I think I'm going to keep it a secret from my school unless I get caught by u/a when it comes time for clinicals.

but it is a legitimate prescription, not street drugs.
my husband is prescribed painkillers and he always fails the drug test when he has to go work at the powerplant, but he just shows them his prescription.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:47 am 
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Yes it is a legitimate prescription.. but I read that nurses are not supposed to practice while using mood altering or impairing substances, prescription or not. Even though I'm not impaired by using Suboxone, a lot of people see it differently, which is unfortunate. There is such a stigma attached to medication assisted treatment.
I'm so glad to hear that Minnesota is more accepting and accommodating to nurses with addiction issues/medication assisted treatment. From what I've read, other states have zero tolerance for nurses on Suboxone.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Update!
I just heard back from the Minnesota Board of Nursing! Here is what they had to say:
Thank you for contacting the Minnesota Board of Nursing. I apologize for the delay in responding. I sent a reply on January 20th but I now see that I typed your email address incorrectly. My apologies.



Use of Suboxone, or any other prescribed medication, is not a categorical bar to licensure. At the time of application for licensure, the Board will evaluate the applicant’s ability to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety. I cannot address the questions regarding clinicals during school or subsequent employment. I do not believe questions about use of medications are asked for clinical or employment.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:28 pm 
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Hey laurenbelle,

This reads to me as very good news. I'd not voluntarily disclose either! Best, P

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:26 pm 
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I wouldn't mention it either.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:44 am 
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jennjenn wrote:
I wouldn't mention it either.

I'm definitely not going to mention it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:18 am 
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Great job on ur future career! Very inspirational to me :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:02 pm 
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jennjenn wrote:
Great job on ur future career! Very inspirational to me :)

Thank you! If I can do it, anyone can!! If anyone is reading this right now and thinking about going back to school, do it! Don't let your past issues stop you or discourage you. Don't listen to that voice inside you that tells you that you can't do it. You can do it. And it will be so worth it in the end. I've had it with working dead end minimum wage jobs, so I'm going to do something about it!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Hello anyone following this thread. I just wanted to post a follow-up.
I spoke with the attorney that works for the MN Board of Nursing. They do not have any medications that automatically disqualifies someone to practice.
They are looking only whether a person is impaired.
To further clarify she did say that they have nurses that have/are taking Suboxone.
I am proud that Minnesota has such a progressive view, wish the Medical Board would take a similar stance.

PAX


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