The impaired professional: Helping the helpers
- Define the health professional monitoring program in
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (United States)
and which licensing boards participate in the program.
- Describe key points of one individual’s experience with
substance use and the recovery process.
- Detail the financial implications and other
consequences of substance use and health monitoring
for nurses in Pennsylvania.
- Foster innovative ideas regarding the identification and
management of health professionals struggling with
substances through the sharing of experiences.
- Increase empathy for health professionals who are
struggling or have struggled with substances.
It is common for persons in recovery to begin working in the field
of addictions. It is important that the International Nurses Society
on Addictions (IntNSA), as a professional organization that works
with individuals across the spectrum of use, also supports health
professionals in recovery. Through this presentation of one nurse’s
journey, IntNSA is recommitting to its support of both health
professionals who are actively struggling with substances as well
as health professionals in recovery. This presentation will feature
one individual’s experience, describe the professional monitoring
programs available in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
(United States), and make suggestions to improve the support
given to health professionals establishing recovery. There will be
a facilitated discussion with time for questions/answers at the
conclusion of the presentation.
Rachel A. Shuster, BSN, RN, CARN, CAAP
Rachel is a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN)
and Certified Allied Addiction Professional (CAAP). A native of
Western Pennsylvania, Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science in
Nursing (BSN) from Waynesburg University in 2012. She began
her nursing career as a critical care nurse and taught nursing
part-time as a clinical instructor before she transitioned to her
specialty of addictions nursing. Rachel has worked in a variety
of settings including as the charge nurse of an outpatient
office-based addiction treatment clinic and as the site nurse
of a residential treatment program for young-adults. She now
works as an Addiction Specialist for Gateway Health Plan. Rachel
is a person in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder
and enjoys speaking publicly about her experience and journey
as a healthcare professional in recovery. She was selected as an
honorable mention for Pittsburgh Magazine’s 2019 Excellence in
Nursing Awards due to her work in the field and in her community
as an addictions nurse and advocate. Rachel is a member of
various professional organizations including the International
Nursing Society on Addictions (IntNSA) and is currently serving
IntNSA on the Board of Directors as the 2019-2021 Secretary.
Her interests include substance use, addiction, recovery,
stigma/discrimination, harm reduction, opioid use disorder
pharmacotherapy, health professionals in recovery, chronic viral
hepatitis C treatment, and patient/provider education.