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The History of SPAN

1981 Annual NYSNA convention voting body resolves that the Council on Ethical Practice establish guidelines for a peer assistance program.

1982 NYSNA Board of Directors creates a taskforce to continue developing peer assistance program guidelines.

1984 Annual NYSNA convention voting body resolves that NYSNA lobby the NYS government for legislation “to provide an opportunity for an identified chemically dependent professional nurse to obtain necessary treatment and rehabilitation prior to action on licensure as defined in Article 130 of NYS education law”.

1986 The New York State Impaired Professional Law passed providing nurses, and other NYS licensed professionals, the opportunity to obtain necessary treatment and rehabilitation prior to licensure action.

Annual NYSNA convention voting body resolves “that the NYSNA Board of Directors considers mechanisms which would assist nurses” (Registered nurses who voluntarily surrender their licenses during treatment for substance abuse frequently exhaust their financial resources).

1993 NYSNA’s Committee on Impaired Nursing Practice develops a design for the peer assistance program based on taskforce guidelines.

1994 NYSNA hires a program coordinator to enact the peer assistance program. The Committee on Impaired Nursing Practice launches a peer assistance pilot program in Nassau County (District 14). The Committee on Impaired Nursing Practice is renamed Peer Assistance Committee.

1995 The Peer Assistance Committee renames the program Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) program.

1995 The Peer Assistance Committee expands SPAN to include the Bronx, 1997 Manhattan, and Staten Island (District 13).

1998 NYSNA receives a New York State Department of Health grant of $150,000 to continue the SPAN program. SPAN trains monitors for the New York State Education Department Professional Assistance Program.

1999 NYSNA receives 2 New York State Education Department grants of $150,000 to continue the SPAN program. August 2000, Governor Pataki signs legislation (Chapter 290) authorizing collection of a $15 surcharge from nurses when they apply for or re-register their licenses. The purpose of the surcharge is to fund peer assistance services.

2001 Upon execution of a contract between the NYSED and NYSNA, SPAN receives a permanent funding stream. Program staff were hired on a half-time basis, enabling SPAN to be available on a statewide basis. SPAN has 124 active participants and 5 facilitated peer support groups by year end.

2002 SPAN continues to grow. Staff expands to full-time. SPAN has 244 active participants and 12 facilitated peer support groups by year end.

2003 SPAN has 316 active participants and 20 peer support groups by year end.

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