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UTILIZING CLICKER TECHNOLOGY TO EXPLORE NURSES’ PERCEPTIONS OF PRACTICING IN THE WORKPLACE WITH IMPAIRED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

S. Solecki1, T. Fay-Hillier1, K. Fisher1, F. Cornelius1, J. Draper2

1Drexel University (UNITED STATES)
2University of Pennsylvania (UNITED STATES)
Purpose: Nurses were surveyed at a national nursing education conference regarding their experience working with impaired health care professionals using an audience response system i.e. “clickers”.
Method: A cross sectional pilot study was employed to survey a convenience sample of nurses attending a panel presentation on the “Impaired Health Professional”.

Findings: Clickers were utilized by 208 largely female (93%), mostly academic faculty (63%) with at least 25 years of nursing experience (58%). Nurses reported experience (75%) with working and an accountability (95%) reporting impaired healthcare professionals. While most (62%) of the surveyed nurses never had to report a professional peer for impairment; 86% expressed disagreement of refusing to work with a known, rehabilitated, or chemically dependent peer. A majority (67%) of the nurses also expressed feeling comfortable assisting with the rehabilitation program and monitoring process of a chemically impaired nurse returning to work.

Conclusions: An estimated 10% to 15% of all health care professionals will misuse drugs or alcohol at some time during their career (Baldisseri, 2007), thus it is not surprising that a large majority (75%) of respondents had reported experience working with an impaired professional. Further education and rehabilitation programs are necessary for the identification, assessment, and treatment of impaired professionals for their optimal recovery. Continued research, by replicating this pilot study with a larger more diverse sample of nurses, may enlighten perceptions of addiction as a disease in which all members of the nursing community can play a positive role in the reestablishment of colleagues to the workplace.