I don't want to be confrontational but okay here it goes, again. http://advocatefornurses.typepad.com/my2cents/2009/06/bootleg-attorneys-chemical-dependency-counselors-therapists-and-evaluators-giving-legal-advice.html
I don't pretend to have the education, credentials, or skills to provide mental health or substance abuse counseling to nurses so why is it that I am finding that more and more mental health therapists and substance abuse counselors want to give legal advice to nurses involved in a State Nursing Board complaint, investigation, and hearing.
Please stay in your role and stick to what you were trained to do. Your focus is TREATMENT.
Something you see as "simply" a "self-report to your State Nursing Board and appling to the State's Alternative to Discipline Program" is usually much more complex especially if there is criminal or if the nurse is licensed in more than one state.
If you didn't know it then I will tell you: you are not a license defense attorney so stop trying to be one and operate within your job description. Does the position description of a mental health therapist or substance abuse counselor with Progam X or Program Y include providing legal advice and counseling to nurses? I don't think so, pumpkin.
Your recommendation to self-report and apply to the State Nursing Board alternative to discipline program for chemical dependency is "legal advice." Don't stop now. Can you then counsel and advise the nurse on the pros and cons and short-term and long-term legal implications of this decision?
I know you are really only trying to help but if you really want to help suggest to the nurse that she/he really needs to consult with or retain an attorney to navigate the maze of licensure, career, criminal, educational, credentialing/privileging, regulatory, and employment issues involving substance use and abuse disorders or dual diagnosis.
I also love it when someone prefaces the advice with "I am not a lawyer and this ain't legal advice but this is what Nurse A, Nurse C, Nurse D, and Nurse E our program did...."
I will tell you what my buddy Jack Stem told me his role as an OSANA peer advisor is: to save the life of a CRNA struggling with addiction, not to save a career or license. This was debated and discussed at a AANA meeting this year and it was stated of the role of a State Peer Advisor is to save the life of a CRNA struggling with addiction.
Let me add, its the role of a license defense attorney to address the career and licensure issues, NOT a chemical dependency counselor or a mental health therapist. If you really want to help the nurses in your program suggest that they contact a license defense attorney and stop enabling them by giving bootleg and bootstrapped legal advice.