A Year of WisPAN’s Support and Education for Nurses

November 2022

Message from our Founder and Chair, Kristin Waite-Labott

On November 14th, 2022, we celebrate ONE YEAR of bringing peer support meetings to the nurses that need them! We have also expanded the reach of WisPAN to include not only support but education. Please read on in this newsletter, and let us update you on all that we have accomplished in the last 365 days!

If you have been part of WisPAN in any way, I send you my sincerest thanks. I challenge you to think of ways to get WisPAN into the hands of the nurses who are struggling with substance use. I implore you to share our information widely in your professional circles. It is working for nurses in Wisconsin, but there are so many more that need our support. I cannot wait to see what the next year holds. Let us know what we can do for you!

Kristin Waite-Labott​

Support Meetings

WisPAN’s Peer Support Meetings are offered twice per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 pm CST, via Zoom. Not only does the virtual meeting allow for more people to attend, but it gives security to those who are nervous about joining.

The quality of the meetings is a priority as well. Kristin Waite-Labott is a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse and a Certified Professional Recovery Coach, and she is responsible for developing the meetings. A training program exists to continue that quality.

In addition to Kristin, there are three other nurses in recovery who help to lead our support meetings to meet the demand. Meetings are confidential, anonymous, and open to any nurse with a substance use issue and/or is going through the Board of Nursing’s monitoring program. Each meeting utilizes a topic to encourage discussion and offers a code at the end of each meeting which can be used to verify attendance, if needed.

In the last year, WisPAN has held 83 support meetings, providing support to so many nurses! Each meeting generally has 4-8 nurses attending. According to our anonymous survey, 75% of these nurses attend one or both meetings each week.

  • Providing peer support for Wisconsin nurses in recovery from substance use disorder
  • Educating Medical Organizations, Academic Institutions, and the public

Mission To be the leader in peer support for Wisconsin nurses in recovery from substance use disorder and in promoting public safety through education on substance use disorder in nurses.

Outreach and Education

Providing support to nurses seeking recovery and those already engaged is a huge part of providing solutions to those who need help. To make an even larger impact is to help prevent the substance use issue in the first place. Part of that means honesty, transparency, and understanding, and this comes out of education. To that end, WisPAN has been instrumental in providing educational presentations on the topic of substance use disorder in nursing to nursing employers, educators, seminars, and conferences. We have attended and/or presented at 2022 conferences and groups such as:

  • Wisconsin Public Health Association
  • Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Leaders
  • Wisconsin League for Nursing
  • Wisconsin Board of Nursing
  • Rogers Behavioral Health
  • Aurora shared governance
  • Meriter Hospital management team
  • Nursing colleges and universities
    • Cardinal Stritch University
    • Bryant and Stratton College
    • Gateway Technical College
    • Waukesha County Technical College

We want to expand our reach so that WisPAN can make a difference before a nurse is struggling. Are you interested in this presentation for your nurses or nurse leaders?

PRESENTATION FEEDBACK

  • “Thank you for sharing your story, I found it extremely interesting and definitely learned a lot!”
  • “…it was very thought-provoking and so important for student nurses to hear. Thank you for sharing your story and supporting the movement to change the stigma around people with substance use disorders.”
  • “Your presentation was wonderful, you were able to adapt it to fit with the audience, and you were very engaged throughout the presentation.”

Interview with Melissa Owens, BSN RN – Her Journey

Listen to Melissa’s story of feeling so alone while working as a nurse who was struggling with an opioid use disorder. She is happily in recovery now and eager to share how Kristin’s book, “An Unlikely Addict” gave her the start to finding her way back and saving her life and career! Melissa also shares why she feels WisPAN is so important, and why she decided to get involved.

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