NEW YORK NURSE: November 2010
Q.: Can you explain the differing roles of OPD, PAP and SPAN?
A.: The Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), the Professional Assistance Program (PAP) and the Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) program often collaborate in their efforts helping an impaired nurse return to work safely. Their roles, however, are quite distinct.
OPD is a branch of the New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions. Its role is to protect the public by investigating and prosecuting professional misconduct and unlicensed practice throughout New York State.
The PAP is a confidential alternative to discipline program for licensed professionals who abuse drugs or alcohol, offering an opportunity for licensed professionals to seek treatment and maintain their professional status. This option may be offered to licensees who have not harmed a patient. Depending on the individual circumstances, the licensee may temporarily surrender his or her license and refrain from professional practice while focusing on treatment and recovery.
The SPAN program, administered by the New York State Nurses Association, is a confidential resource for all New York State nurses with substance use disorders. SPAN offers support and advocacy to individual nurses through direct mentoring and facilitated peer support groups. SPAN also offers information and education to schools, organizations, and healthcare facilities. For more information, contact SPAN 800-45-SPAN-1 (800-457-7261).
This is a sample of the questions NYSNA’s experts answer each day. The advice given is specific for the situation described and may not be applicable generally. If you have questions about your own work setting, it is recommended that you contact your NYSNA nursing representative or the Education, Practice, and Research Program, 11 Cornell Road, Latham, New York 12110-1499 or call 800.724.NYRN, ext. 282.