Ideally, the anesthesia professional will acknowledge his or her condition, seek help voluntarily, and not require intervention. However, this is often not the case due to denial of condition, stigma, fear of job loss, and other ramifications. Therefore, colleagues play an important role in helping the impaired provider get into treatment by reporting suspicion to a supervisor or the appropriate chain of command. Colleagues are often reluctant to report a suspected colleague for a variety of reasons, such as believing someone else is addressing the issue, it is not their responsibility, the individual will be punished excessively; fear of retribution and being responsible for their colleague’s loss of job or license; or lacking knowledge of how to properly report or intervene.
The AANA Peer Assistance Helpline (800-654-5167) is available for administrator or colleague concerns and questions related to the safe handling an individual struggling with substance use disorder.
Colleagues may have certain legal responsibilities in identifying and reporting providers to their supervisor or appropriate chain of command. States may have reporting laws which hold colleagues responsible for harm to patients if they fail to report a coworker in whom substance use disorder is suspected. Does your facility policy outline proper steps to help guide informants on how to report an impaired colleague, ensure confidentiality of the informant, and offer guidance for investigating and evaluating the credibility of the allegation? If not, see Getting Help
to contact your State Peer Advisor for state specific information.