Drs. Badzek and Bower's response:
We appreciate Henry Guevara's response (letter to the editor) to the article "Administrative Ethics and Confidentiality/Privacy Issues." We are pleased that Mr. Guevara agreed with the decision and guidelines outlined in the case study. Like Mr. Guevara, we recognize the important role that nurse co-workers perform in the successful rehabilitation of impaired colleagues. Nurse co-workers are often in a position to advocate for and be supportive of colleagues in a rehabilitation process. All nurses should be educated about addiction, impairment, and rehabilitation/recovery.
Better education about this difficult topic will allow nurses to provide proper direction and assistance to impaired and recovering colleagues while at the same time protecting the interests of patients, the broader social community, and the profession. Health care systems that provide structured mechanisms for the re-entry of nursing professionals who have demonstrated successful rehabilitation should be encouraged. The most effective nursing administrators are likely those who have criteria to help identify impaired nurses, mechanisms to direct impaired nurses to appropriate rehabilitation resources, and the means to assure a properly supervised, supportive environment for nurses re-entering the profession following rehabilitation.