In the Showtime hit “Nurse Jackie”, the title character epitomizes the patient advocate. However it also depicts a woman in the throes of a substance abuse disorder. This award winning shows highlights both the hard work and dedication of this nurse but also her struggles. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease that has no boundaries and if left untreated can have devastating effects.
Health professionals are not immune to substance abuse or mental illness. The New Jersey State Nurses Association has made strides to assist nurses both personally and professionally. The Peer Assistance Forum holds support groups around the state with the goal of nurses supporting nurses. It was established nearly 30 years ago has grown in size and experience. The Peer Assistance Facilitators also operate a hotline for nurses in need of assistance 1-800-662-0108.
The Recovery and Monitoring Program or RAMP was initiated in 2003 after years of planning. The nurses of New Jersey in collaboration with the Board of Nursing and Division of Consumer Affairs worked to develop a program that would assure both the safety of the public and the health of the nursing workforce. RAMP is a confidential, voluntary program that works closely with the Board of Nursing, employers and nurses to ensure public safety while assisting nurses in their wellness. RAMP offers nurses support in receiving the appropriate treatment, closely monitoring their recovery, working with employers and the public to ensure the nurses in New Jersey are the providing the safe, high quality care to the public.
Substance abuse disorders and mental illness are diseases that do not discriminate but recovery can be possible. No one should suffer with the burden of substance abuse or mental illness alone, the Peer Assistance Forum and Recovery and Monitoring Program are available to offer help and support to nurses in New Jersey. If you know a nurse in need of help please call 1-800-662-0108 or go to www.njsna.org for more information.
For more information on substance abuse resources in your community, please contact Denise Stevens at 732.663.1800 ext. 245 at Prevention First or www.PreventionFirst.net . We now have two Resource Centers located at 1405 Highway 35, Ocean Township and at 848 West Bay Avenue, Barnegat.
Mary Pat Angelini, Executive Director & CEO