Shands

A UF Health Shands Hospital registered nurse is no longer practicing after testing positive for fentanyl.

The nurse, Emily Sosnowski, had an emergency restriction order put on her license by the Florida Department of Health, and she was also diagnosed with opiate use disorder, according to an Order of Emergency Restriction of License.

UF Health Shands issued a statement acknowledging Sosnowski’s employment with them for eight weeks.

“We followed our policies and swiftly addressed concerns we identified, terminating her employment,” the statement said. “We hold our staff to the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior.”

On Sept. 17, 2018, supervisors at Shands notified the management team that Sosnowski appeared impaired at work, according to the order.

Sosnowski's supervisor said she took long breaks, had unscheduled absences or excessive tardiness, disappeared from the job and slept on the job, according to the order.

“Sosnowski's co-workers repeatedly complained about her job performance,” the order said.

The supervisor also observed the nurse as having slurred speech, red glassy eyes, decreasing attention to personal appearance and hygiene, a lack of motor coordination and flushed color, according to the order.

After the supervisor discovered Sosnowski had multiple syringes and a tampered vial of fentanyl with her, she had to take a drug test based on her “suspicious behavior,” the order said.

The drug screen confirmed positive for fentanyl. According to her drug screening, her fentanyl levels were at 5940 pg/mL. The confirmation cutoff is 500 pg/mL.

On May 9, 2019, Scott Teitelbaum, a physician specializing in addiction medicine, began an evaluation on Sosnowski because of the drug test results.

Sosnowski told Teitelbaum she appeared impaired at work because she was not sleeping well as she takes care of her sick husband. She denied using fentanyl, suggesting her positive drug screen was from handling her husband's fentanyl patches, according to the order.

Teitelbaum said the drug screen results were too high to be explained by the handling of fentanyl patches, according to the order.

A PEth blood test also returned positive at 242 ng/mL. A level of 20 ng/mL or higher is considered evidence of moderate to heavy ethanol consumption. Sosnowski credited the high levels to the amount of wine she consumes daily.

“She said this is her coping mechanism since she spends the whole day taking care of sick patients and coming home to an ill husband,” the order said.

Teitelbaum said her blood test contradicted the amount of alcohol she reportedly consumed.

Sosnowski was then questioned about her opiate use, but she told Teitelbaum she was prescribed Percocet on a couple of occasions for very short periods of time, according to the order.

 Teitelbaum diagnosed Sosnowski with moderate to severe alcohol use disorder and moderate to severe opiate use disorder, according to the order.

“Ms. Sosnowski's failure to engage in recommended treatment indicates that her actions are likely to continue without restriction,” the order said.

Sosnowski is unable to practice nursing with reasonable skill and safety to patients and was restricted from practicing as a nurse until the Intervention Project for Nurses tells the Florida Department of Health she’s safe to do so again, according to the order.