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Alternative-to-Discipline Programs, Substance Use Disorder, COVID-19, Nurses



  1. Bailey, Alison T. BA
  2. Griffith, Sara A. PhD, RN


Abstract: The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) implemented an alternative-to-discipline program (AP) in 1995 for nurses experiencing a substance use disorder. There have been programmatic changes since the inception of the AP. However, COVID-19 posed significant challenges related to balancing the NCBON's public protection mandate against COVID-19 impacts on the nurse's ability to comply with the AP conditions. The changes to the AP structure in response to COVID-19 included transition from in-person orientation interviews to virtual, drug screening process modifications, acceptance of virtual treatment and 12-step meeting attendance, and specific employment condition waiver accommodations. The NCBON identified modifications facilitated opportunities for nurses to remain compliant with the conditions of the AP while meeting the mandate of public protection.