Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., hosted the first meeting of the year for the Greater New York Nassau Suffolk Organization of Nurse Executives. To welcome everyone and acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the group members, Valerie Terzano, RN, MS, CNA, vice president of nursing and CNO, introduced Justine Ellerman, RN, MSN, ANP, who spoke to members on Recognizing the Signs of Substance Abuse.
Guest speaker Ellerman, a regional coordinator for the NYSNA Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses and an addiction liaison nurse for nine years, said, I know that you see RNs who have had wonderful careers, but through circumstances or genetics they become addicted and do things they wouldnt ordinarily do, she said. Wastage is the No. 1 way that nurses gain access to drugs, and other nurses sign out for wastage without actually witnessing the waste.From left, Eileen P. Williamson, RN, vice president of Nursing Communications & Initiatives, joins Justine Ellerman, RN, speaker, at the first fall meeting of the GNYSNONE.
Other methods of drug diversion include signing out for more than is needed, signing out under another patient, taking unused PRNS, siphoning from IV bags, and accessing prescription pads. Ellerman alerted the group to some of the signs and symptoms of a drug-addicted RN, which might include multiple medication errors, being defensive about medication errors, frequent bathroom breaks, coming to work early/staying late, and volunteering for extra shifts.
Organization secretary Jill Goldstein, RN, MA, MS, announced the 2009-10 GNYNSONE board officers: Rosemary Sullivan, RN, MA, president; Bernadette Curry, RN, PhD, president-elect; and Mia Lofland, RN, MS, MSN, APRN-BC, NEA-BC, CCRN, treasurer. Tom Nolan, RN, MS, NEA-BC, GNYNSONE representative for legislative business, presented some of the latest issues on the table, such as the mandatory overtime and nursing staffing ratio disclosure bills. Coincidentally, on the same day of the meeting, New York Gov. David Paterson signed the NYS Disclosure bill, requiring hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics to report on nurse staffing ratios and certain adverse events.
The Greater New York chapter will meet with other chapters Oct. 18 to 21 at the annual NYONE meeting. For information, e-mail [email protected]