Washington Health Professional Services (WHPS)
Supporting Health Professionals with Substance Use Disorder
Washington Health Professional Services (WHPS) program is the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission
(NCQAC)’s approved substance use monitoring program. NCQAC may refer nurses to WHPS as an alternative to disciplinary action.
WHPS offers nurses with substance use disorder an opportunity to safely provide patient care by monitoring nurses in a manner that safeguards the public throughout the stages of their recovery and program participation. WHPS protects the public by providing early identification, referral for treatment, and structured monitoring services which include:
- A team of case managers who each have extensive knowledge in substance use disorder. Each nurse is assigned one case manager for the duration of their program participation.
- Peer Support Groups (PSG) - PSG meetings are not open to the public; they are open to nurses in the WHPS program. It is a private, weekly meeting, facilitated by medical professionals with substance use knowledge. PSG meetings offer nurses a sense of community amongst peers experiencing similar challenges and can relate.
- Nursing commission’s position statement on substance use disorder
- Washington Health Professional Services (WHPS) annual report
Washington Health Professional Services (WHPS) Can Help
It is estimated that 10-15% of nurses have a substance use disorder. Undiagnosed and untreated, substance use disorder can result in legal issues, nursing license suspension, patient/public harm and even death.
Fortunately, substance use disorder is treatable. Appropriate and effective treatment that is tailored to meet the nurse’s recovery needs along with appropriate support programs increases the chance of their continued sobriety and long-term recovery.
This short video provides education on substance use disorder as related by the real-life experiences of nurses:
The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) recognizes the need to establish a means of providing early recognition and treatment options for licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced registered nurse practitioners, whose competency may be impaired due to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. The commission intends that such nurses be treated, and their treatment monitored so that they can return to or continue to practice their profession in a manner, that safeguards the public (WAC 246-840-750).
Answering a few short questions about alcohol or other drug use provides a quick and easy way to determine how substance use may be affecting your health and other areas of your life. Click here to access anonymous and confidential screening tools.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, and are looking for further assistance, please contact us:
Phone: 360-236-2880, option 1