Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN)
Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN): What you need to know about Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN) before you contact IPN: When you contact IPN you will be required to sign an agreement that you will refrain from the practice of nursing until you are deemed safe to practice. This takes weeks and even months. You will be required to obtain an evaluation from an IPN approved evaluator, at your expense, (ranging from $500-$2,000) and wait for the results of that evaluation to determine what treatment action is required before you are deemed safe to practice. Not surprisingly, many time these IPN approved evaluators conclude that the nurse could benefit from the services of IPN. The nurse will be required to sign a contract with IPN ranging from 2 years with review after 1 year up to a 5 year contract with review after 3 years.
After IPN Evaluation: If you declined to enter IPN after you receive an evaluation stating that you need IPN services, then your case is turned over to the Department for prosecution and the Department will seek to have your license suspended until you enter IPN. IPN can require that a nurse enter in-patient treatment. When I am contacted after a nurse has submitted to an IPN approved evaluation and only then realizes the seriousness of his/her dilemma when it is not feasible to participate with in-patient treatment, there is little that can be done at that point because of all the documents and agreements the nurse has already signed agreeing not to practice until deemed safe by IPN.
Continued Testing and Evaluation: IPN will require random drug screenings, quarterly reporting and in some cases group or individual out-patient or in-patient treatment (all at your expense) while you are under an IPN contract. Prior to successfully completing the program, IPN will usually require an additional evaluation to see if your contract should be extended and remain in the program.
Safe Harbor: In many cases if an impaired practitioner is successfully complying with IPN their license may be “safe” from prosecution and disciplinary action. However, this is not always the case. Nurses who are also facing criminal charges for diversion or other crimes related to their addiction may still face disciplinary action including revocation of their license.
What to do: As soon as anyone mentions IPN call my office to discuss your options. In some cases the best course of action is for a nurse to enter IPN in attempt to save their license, but this is not always the case. Many nurses are referred to IPN without a sufficient basis for requiring the nurse to refrain from practice and obtain an evaluation.