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Education is an important facet of the drug testing program at Tampa (FL) General Hospital, says JoAnn Shea, CHON-S, MS, ARNP, director of employee health services.
"We want to identify it before, No. 1, the health care worker becomes so addicted that it's hard to recover," and also to ensure patient safety, she says.
Shea teaches a 1½-hour course about how to ensure a drug-free workplace. The course covers substances of abuse and symptoms of abuse. They include:
Nurses stay longer at the class to be educated on the signs and symptoms of diversion. [A copy of warnings signs for drug diversion is available here.]
Such education is necessary in today's surgical environment, Shea says. "I think that in every ambulatory care center, there is access," she says. "It depends on how the drugs are controlled, but they should have way to audit."
In addition to an audit program, many departments have included chart reviews of controlled drug usage in their departmental quality assurance programs, Shea says. "If you don't, you may end up having someone who is diverting and isn't identified."