State Disciplines Nurses For Drug, Alcohol Abuse

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The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week disciplined four nurses for drug or alcohol abuse.

The board placed the registered nurse (RN) license of Sara J. Smith of Shelton on probation for four years after it found she altered a 2018 prescription for codeine after testing positive for codeine on April 3, 2019, according to a consent order signed by Smith. During her probation Smith must undergo random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and is prohibited from solo practice.

The RN license of Nicole Loving of Colchester was placed on probation for three years after she admitted to abusing alcohol, according to her signed consent order. During probation Loving must submit to random drug tests, attend therapy and support meetings, and cannot practice in home care, pool nursing, or self-employment.

The board last Wednesday placed the RN license of Kelly Didio of Stafford Springs on probation for four years for abusing oxycodone, hydrocodone, norfentanyl, hydromorphine and/or morphine to excess, according to her signed consent order.  The order said that Didio, a nurse at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, diverted hydromorphine and/or morphine while she was working in October 2015. Didio also admitted to using morphine on Dec. 29, 2016; norfentanyl on May 10, 2017; and taking a hydrocodone pill on June 4, 2019. She must undergo random drug tests, attend therapy, cannot work for a home health care agency or assisted living service or practice solo, and must attend classes.

The board reprimanded and restricted the Connecticut RN and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license of Stephani Scheurenbrand of Sioux Falls, S.D., after she was disciplined for the abuse of fentanyl in South Dakota, according to her signed consent order. Under the terms of the order, Scheurenbrand cannot practice as an RN or APRN in Connecticut unless her consent order is modified by the state Department of Health and the board.

The board vacated the suspension of the LPN license of Allyson L. Allen of Ellington and placed her license on probation for four years after finding that she had willingly undergone random drug tests, attended therapy and support groups in an effort to have her license reinstated. Allen’s license had been suspended in May 2017 after the board found her to be “doctor shopping” in order to obtain prescriptions for amphetamines and oxycodone, according to the board’s memorandum of decision.

The board agreed to reconsider the revocation of the RN license of Dana Kendrick of Hamden after she failed to show up for a disciplinary hearing before the board on Jan. 16, 2019. Kendrick, who was living and practicing in Nevada at the time, had her NV license reprimanded in February 2018 after she tested positive for marijuana, and she was ordered to attend courses and undergo random drug screens. Connecticut law allows the board to take disciplinary action against a nurse who has been disciplined in another state. In a letter to the board asking for the hearing, Kendrick said she did not find out her license had been revoked until she moved back to Connecticut in May 2019.

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