When “self-disclosure” becomes a risk…

..for those RN’s with a “history” of past disciplinary actions from the State Board of Nursing.  I have to give credit to the RN’s who are honest enough to disclose such information, even if not on their records anymore and feel sorry that many seeking career advancement in nursing are not given the chance.

Here’s a story of a health care colleague who was looking to fill a director position for a disease management program in his organization. He received many resumes/applications from qualified RN’s and in particular, he was leaning towards one particular applicant with impressive credentials, clinical and management experience.  This applicant was exactly who he wanted to be in this position. Many interviews later, he wanted to move quickly and  hire her but she has to interview with the CEO of the organization. The interview went well until the applicant fully disclosed a past (like 10 years ago) State Board of nursing disciplinary action resulting from chemical dependency problem. She voluntarily surrendered her license, was reinstated 10 years ago to active status and has been cleared by the SBON.

So perhaps you can guess how the story ended. Her self disclosure has caused her the job. Although my colleague believed that she can do the job even with her past history and was willing to hire her, his CEO, however, wouldn’t take the chance. Self disclosure, although admirable and has many advantages, involves risk and vulnerability on the part of the person sharing the information. The risk is that the people will not respond favorably to the information. Self disclosure does not automatically lead to favorable impressions.

Employers and others in management have their reasons (and the choice)  not to hire or promote people with “past history” like hers. Having said that,  I do however believe everyone is entitled to be given an opportunity to do good and make things better. Some great leaders and presidents of this great country have made mistakes in the past, yet they have turned out to be well respective individuals with remarkable contributions to our society.  This RN was being honest by her disclosure yet the stigma of her past mistake prevented her from a career advancement in nursing. What if this RN didn’t disclose her past? Isn’t there a statute of limitations, after all it has been ten years? As saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished”.

Do you think she got what she deserved or should they have given her a second chance?

8 thoughts on “When “self-disclosure” becomes a risk…

  1. Seems to me that if nurses can’t give other nurses that chance, we don’t really believe that change is possible and are working for no good reason. Aren’t our actions BASED on the belief that people can heal from diseases? This nurse took appropriate action and behaved with integrity regarding a condition that by all accounts is a treatable disease. Which she treated. This story makes me sad. What will it take to keep nurses from being punitive toward one another?

    • Struck the nail on the head, and closed the coffin.

      The entire basis of medical practice is fixing problems, making things better, often with faith, back up with data, as we perform interventions and make decisions for the best outcomes.

      The human spirit and the desire to heal place such a large role in healing and overall health, I do not see how we can discount anyone who is willing to make an effort.

      People who have not encountered and overcome hurdles in their life would not understand this. This nurse, who’s rightful position was seemingly robbed from them, knows the rocky road to recovery and would have an greater empathy for life, and therefor make a better manger than most.

  2. This boils my blood on so many levels!

    What do we have as nurses if not integrity?
    Self disclosure should be applauded and rewarded verses punished. What incenetive do we give nurses, or people in general for that matter, to do the right thing if we punish them for doing so?

    If anything the self disclosure of the mentioned nurse shows that she has be the ability to devote hard work to accomplish a goal, excellent interpersonal skills, self confidence, of course integrity, and the desire to practice as the best nurse she can be.

    This is so heartbreaking to read because of that.

    Th nerdy nurse

    • I have a good friend who barely made it back to nursing after a chemical dependency problem. Several of us did what we could to help, and an employer wouldn’t take no from the HR department. She’s gone on to be one of the best Nurses I know. It is sad indeed when we’ve forgotten the Art of Nursing, the healing side that allows us to be vulnerable and by doing so to help others. Great posting since this is an issue we’ll be dealing with more in future.

  3. I feel for this nurse, having been in the same situation myself. I chose not to disclose, as my file was closed and cleared over 10 years ago by the BON. I had maintained over 10 years of sobriety, and decided that since my license was listed as active, and my file was cleared it was time to move on. I knew that I would not get the Director of Nursing job that I wanted if I disclosed. I’ve been in the job 8 years now, and love every minute. And I’m still sober 🙂

  4. Pingback: Best In Nurse Blogs: Fall Back Edition | The Millionaire Nurse Blog

  5. Pingback: Best In Nurse Blogs:Fall Back Edition | Blog on iPod and iPhone

Comments are closed.