The intent of this position statement is to define fitness for duty as it relates to registered professional nurses’ ability to perform assigned duties.
It is the position of the New York State Nurses Association that:
A registered professional nurse practicing while impaired violates the standards of professional practice. Fitness for duty is the requisite knowledge along with the physiological and psychological ability to carry out the role and responsibilities of a registered professional nurse. Physiological and psychological fitness relates directly to the ability to perform assigned duties.
Impaired practice can be related to physiological and psychological factors. Fitness for duty shall be determined by a designated person based upon reasonable and observable considerations and in good faith. Behaviors must be objectively described. Signs and symptoms of impaired practice can include: time and attendance irregularities, smell of alcohol on breath, witnessed alcohol or drug use, careless documentation, somnolence, and emotional lability.
The New York State Nurses Association recommends that:
Please refer to NYSNA’s Model Statement: Alcohol and Other Drug Policy for RNs in NYS Employed in Healthcare Facilities for more information about laws, regulation, employer policy formation, education, confidentiality, drug testing, treatment, recovery, and safe return to work.
Additional information and sample return to work contracts are accessible under Peer Assistance on NYSNA's web site.
Developed by the Statewide Peer Assistance Committee, January 2008. Approved by Board of Directors, 11 June 2008