AANA Treatment Recommendations for Anesthesia Professionals
Due to direct access to potent drugs and knowledge of pharmacology, anesthetists present unique challenges for treatment and recovery compared to other practice specialties. They also face potential loss of profession, professional guilt and shame, and a tendency to intellectualize the treatment process.
Important steps in safely addressing a current suspicion of impairment or drug diversion:
- Signs and behaviors to identify impairment and/or drug diversion
- Before any confrontation, see Intervention Essentials and contact a resource for help:
- Peer Assistance Helpline 800-654-5167
- Your state's AANA State Peer Advisor (SPA)
AANA treatment recommendations for all anesthesia professionals and students with substance use disorder
The most desirable inpatient rehabilitation treatment program has experience treating healthcare professionals, specifically anesthesia professionals.
Completion of a minimum of 28 days inpatient treatment with at least 90 days of treatment total (inpatient or outpatient) offers the highest success rate. An ideal treatment center for anesthesia professionals includes:
- Approval by the state board of nursing
- A comprehensive evaluation and treatment recommendations by an American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) member certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) who is committed to evaluating and treating anesthesia professionals in abstinence based recovery models in accordance with other safety sensitive occupations such as aviation, department of defense and department of transportation
- Evaluation by an American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) board-certified addiction psychiatrist where appropriate
- Appropriate neuropsychiatric and or psychometric testing
- Medically supervised detoxification, when clinically indicated
- Treatment for mental health comorbidities
- Emphasis on a long-term 12-step model of abstinence-based recovery
- Evaluation of suitability for, and timing, of the return to anesthesia practice
Resources to help create a substance use disorder policy can be found at Substance Use Disorder Workplace Resources.
Source: Addressing Substance Use Disorder for Anesthesia Professionals position statement and policy considerations
Careful consideration is needed when selecting an addiction treatment center for an anesthesia professional with substance use disorder. See the Getting Help.
Some Addiction Treatment Centers Experienced in Treating Health Care Professionals:
- Bradford – Health Care Professionals Program (Warrior, AL) 888-577-0012
- Caron Health Care Professionals Program (PA) 800-854-6023
- Farley Center at Williamsburg Place - Health Professionals Program (VA) 800-582-6066
- Hazelden's Health Care Professionals Program (MN & OR) 800-257-7810
- Livengrin Foundation Nurses Lifeline (PA; five health care professional's centers in SE PA) 855-427-9990
- Marworth Healthcare Professionals Program (PA) 800-442-7722
- Parkdale Center Professionals Program (IN) 219-743-2477 (Rodrigo Garcia, CRNA)
- Positive Sobriety Institute Professionals Program (IL) 312-642-7230 or 630-542-2249 (Dominic, intake coordinator)
- Talbott Recovery Campus' Impaired Professionals Program (GA) 800-445-4232
Your State Peer Advisor can help with this decision and with State Board of Nursing requirements.
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator (SAMHSA) 24-Hour Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
Various treatment options exist for the disease of addiction. Success rates in the SUD treatment of the anesthesia professional or student vary widely between modalities. AANA recommendations are based on those modalities found through the years (since inception in 1983 assisting peers with SUD) to offer the highest rate of success.
Because all anesthesia providers face special occupational risks and challenges by their exposure and access to drugs of abuse, post-treatment recommendations include:
- Compliance with all treatment center recommendations for continuing care after discharge, such as:
- Relapse prevention techniques
- Recovering professionals meeting attendance
- Active participation in the 12 step recovery community
- Monitoring of random urine drug screens.
Recommendation for Reentry of the Nurse Anesthetists or Student with SUD
If you have any questions, please call the helpline above.