Romanowsky Law is often contacted by nurses and doctors whose licenses are in jeopardy because of a debilitating dependency on opioids, alcohol or other substances, or psychological disability. In those cases, it is of utmost importance that clients acknowledge their dependency/disability and utilize a professional organization condoned by the New Jersey Board of Nursing or the Board of Medicine not only for rehabilitating themselves, but to preserve their ability to work as a nurse or doctor.
The NJ Recovery and Monitoring Program (“RAMP”) was established in 2003 as an alternative to discipline. The program is managed by the Institute for Nursing for the NJ Board of Nursing.
RAMP is a confidential voluntary program designed to encourage healthcare professionals, including nurses, to seek a recovery program before their impairment harms themselves or a patient in their charge.
Nurses who might otherwise be disciplined or lose their licenses are often referred to the program by the NJ Board of Nursing as a condition or alternative to discipline.
Nurses referred to the program are required to take random drug analysis tests, to seek counseling, and to otherwise be in contact with RAMP who reports to the nurse’s employers regarding the nurse’s status with RAMP. Ultimately, RAMP will often report that restrictions once put in place are no longer necessary.
When a nurse is referred to RAMP, or if his or her employer reports a suspicion of chemical dependency or drug deviation to the Board, it is critical that the nurse work with the Board to create a consent order or private letter agreement governing the terms upon which the nurse may continue to practice while attending RAMP.
Romanowsky Law has helped many nurses through this arduous process with successful results.
Sometimes the nursing board will allow nurses to participate in programs offered by Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey (“PAP NJ”). This organization is usually utilized by physicians.
The mission of the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey is “to provide services to protect the public safety and welfare of the citizens of New Jersey through education, identification, evaluation, treatment planning and advocacy for licensed health care and other professionals in recovery from an impairing medical condition and/or illness.”
Once referred to the PAP program, physicians and nurses undergo a number of psychological evaluations to determine the extent of chemical dependency and to determine an appropriate course of conduct and counseling.
Both RAMP and PAP will require that nurses and physicians pay for appropriate testing and other services and both organizations will report to the Board when they believe any restrictions imposed upon the physician or nurse’s work may be terminated.
As with RAMP, Romanowsky Law has helped nurses and doctors utilize the services of PAP not only for their personal well-being, but to maintain their ability to earn an appropriate living, in a vocation which they are uniquely trained to execute.
If an employer has a referred a suspicion of dependency or deviation to the Board, it is imperative that you call Romanowsky Law now to help you document the terms and conditions upon which you can extricate yourself from this serious situation.