The Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN)
TPAPN encourages nurses to seek help with psychiatric or substance use disorders. TPAPN is a non-punitive, confidential and voluntary alternative for RNs and LVNs with concerns related to substance use and mental health. Read more about TPAPN.
TxANA is grateful to T’Anya Carter for her role in this program and for volunteering her time to assist CRNAs and other colleagues battling these issues. To hear why Ms. Carter became involved read her story below:
A few years ago, a very dear friend of mine nearly succumbed to substance use disorder (SUD). The experience left a lasting impression in my brain and on my heart. Instead of keeping the experience to myself, I needed to help others so they wouldn’t have to travel that road alone. Ever since then, many hours have been devoted to learning more about this disease and how it affects everything and everyone around the afflicted CRNA, including family and friends. I have joined committees on both the state and national level to assist CRNAs in various stages of their recovery. Last year, I was appointed the AANA Peer Advisor for the great state of Texas. Most recently I was appointed to the Advisory Board for the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN). TPAPN has many functions including being a completely voluntary alternative to discipline program, providing monitoring and support to its participants. The Advocates that anchor this program are all volunteering their time to assist their fellow nurse on their road to recovery.
Last month, I was accepted into the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) PhD program. My PhD focus will mainly be centered on how the gap can be closed between treatment program completion and obtaining employment after the CRNA has been deemed fit to return to duty. That is one of the largest chasms that exist in the process to date. Obtaining a PhD will enable me to evaluate the situation as a researcher and equip me with the tools to begin to develop solutions to this problem.
With substance use disorder (SUD) being a very real job hazard due to our complete accessibility to the drugs, there remains a substantial amount of taboo and shame regarding the fact that SUD is a disease and it should be treated like any other chronic and progressive disease. If untreated, SUD can be fatal.
When I am not studying for my PhD, making sandwiches for the homeless, or watching the Rangers play, I pass gas in Dallas to many unsuspecting souls several times a day. In most cases, they never see it coming. And in our world, that is considered a job well done!
Feel free to contact me any time with any questions or concerns.