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New PAPN Individualized Participation Guidelines.

The Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN) was established in 1987 and has helped thousands of nurses with substance use and mental health conditions in recovery. Board of Nursing (BON) Sunset recommendations directed the BON and TPAPN to adjust the program to be more responsive to the individual needs of participants.

TPAPN has a newly defined mission centering on both helping nurses and safeguarding patients. TPAPN safeguards patients by providing early identification, support, monitoring, accountability, and advocacy to Texas nurses (APRNs, RNs, and LVNs) who have an identified substance use or mental health condition or related incident, so that the individual may return to safe nursing practice.

The TPAPN program is taking a new approach. Under the new model, nurses obtain an evaluation and proposed participation requirements before they enroll in the TPAPN program. This process enables nurses to fully understand what they are agreeing to prior to enrollment into the TPAPN program. The evaluation is a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist who provides information on the person's diagnosis and severity, remission status, and individual needs. This information, together with license type and situational factors, enables TPAPN to individualize the appropriate level of program requirements (e.g., monitoring, social support, practice restrictions, etc.) within the flexible program framework. Furthermore, these approaches reflect the current evidence and best practices related to recovery of licensed professionals in safety-sensitive roles, such as nursing.

The new program also includes a revised role for volunteer nurse advocates. In line with evidence showing the pivotal role of peer support in recovery, volunteers now serve in a social peer support role rather than an oversight role. TPAPN partnered with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Social Innovation to offer evidence-based training to peer advocates as they transition to a support role.

Participation in TPAPN is voluntary, and TPAPN hopes to see greater completion rates with the new, tailored approach. TPAPN's transformation is already underway, and the new model defining participation requirements in TPAPN will be fully launched in January 2019. It will continue to be a work in progress as TPAPN works to improve the program with the goal of supporting the recovery and return to safe practice of every nurse referred to the program.

By: Roy Muyinza, Communications Specialist, Texas Nurses AssociationBy: Roy Muyinza, Communications Specialist, Texas Nurses Association

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Author:Muyinza, Roy
Publication:Texas Board of Nursing Bulletin
Date:Jan 1, 2019
Words:392
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