I recently went through a disciplinary program. Is my nursing career over because of this?

By | 2022-02-11T11:19:41-05:00 January 4th, 2010|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I’m an RN and have had to go through the VDAP program recently. I don’t think my employer is going to let me continue to work. Is my nursing career over because of this?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Bobbie,

By VDAP, I am assuming you are referring to the Voluntary Disciplinary Alternative Program — a process utilized by the Alabama Board of Nursing to assist nurses whose ability to provide safe nursing care may be impaired by substance use disorders, or other mental or physical illnesses/conditions.

It is challenging for me to respond to your inquiry without knowing the particulars of your case. I can tell you many other nurses have been through similar programs, and even lost employment because of substance abuse, but eventually managed to get their nursing careers back on track. So, the fact this has happened to you does not necessarily mean the end of your career.

Read “Picking Up the Pieces of Your Career” at http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2002206010310 and “Coming Back From the Brink” at http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880922004. Although the scenario in the second article is different than yours, there are some similarities and the advice applies.

You also might benefit from seeking the services of a nurse career coach to help you navigate your way through this challenging situation. Find such a coach by getting a referral from your state chapter of ANA (whether or not you are a member), by asking around, or by doing an Internet search for “RN career coach.”

There is an old adage that states: “It’s not what happens to us that matters; it’s how we react that makes all the difference.” You can let this destroy your life and career or you can learn from it and move forward, believing the experience will eventually make you a stronger, more enlightened human being. And you may be able to eventually help others from going down the same road or pulling themselves back if they do.

Sending prayers and good wishes your way,


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