If you are drunk, don't drive! - page 2

If you are a nurse, and you drive while you are drunk; the Board of Nursing can suspend your nursing license for good!!! This is hard to believe...but it is true!!!!... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    Quote from danh3190
    I don't know...
    What's the point of taking the ability to earn a living away from somebody for something that doesn't necessarily affect their ability to perform their job? I can certainly see it for being intoxicated on the job, diverting drugs, even using drugs (since it's not unreasonable to suspect that they will divert drugs). I could even see losing one's license for drinking a certain number of hours before one's shift (like an airline pilot). All these things directly impact on job performance and patient safety. Of course then we might have to also discipline nurses for not getting enough sleep before their shift or working too many hours in a row (like a trucker). Once we start on that slope anything's possible.

    If it's simply a matter a matter that the nurses should know better, how many nurses smoke? How many are grossly obese? We all do dumb stuff when we should know better.
    Actually here in Florida that is the case. DUI's don't automatically cause a loss of license. In fact, a coworker just got a DUI, it didn't affect her job performance and as far as I know it was never reported to BON. In fact she kept it herself and didn't tell our boss. Only one or two people know. It's not mandatory to report DUI's. I think when future employers do background checks it's going to definatley be a problem for her.

    I think it's more than just doing something dumb that we should know better and you're minimizing it a bit. To me it's mroe like taking a loaded gun and radomly shooting it in front of a large crowd of people. Sometimes you're lucky and it misses someone and you get away with it. Other times you hurt someone, other times you kill someone. It's beyond stupid. It's a crime and dangerous. I try not to judge, but I do see the carnage on a daily basis in my unit.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jan 27, '07
  2. by   jimthorp
    For the life of me I cannot understand why a DUI should impact my professional license. It has nothing to do with my job performance. Tradesmen don't loose their license for a DUI so why should nurses? IMHO, it's just plain abuse of power.
  3. by   Tweety
    Quote from jimthorp
    For the life of me I cannot understand why a DUI should impact my professional license. It has nothing to do with my job performance. Tradesmen don't loose their license for a DUI so why should nurses? IMHO, it's just plain abuse of power.


    Probably it's because there might be a high risk of impairment on the job, poor decision making, poor judgement. I'm not sure it should mean an automically loss of license, but definately if a nurse who is responsible for people's lives get's a DUI perhaps this person should be screened.

    Obviously not everyone who gets a DUI is a bad nurse. Many DUI's are people who just had a drink or two and made a dumb mistake. Lesson learned, time to move on, never will do it again


    However, many people who get DUIs are alcoholics or at least alcohol abusers, drink and drive often and happen to get caught, and have the potential for job performance error. Perhaps early intervention and professional consequences would be a wakeup call for these people to get help? A professional nurse that gets a DUI is a red flag to me.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jan 27, '07
  4. by   jimthorp
    Quote from Tweety
    However, many people who get DUIs are alcoholics or at least alcohol abusers, drink and drive often and happen to get caught, and have the potential for job performance error.

    I carry a concealed and loaded firearm and thus have the potential to maim and kill at will. Does that mean my licensure should be scrutinized more than someone who wants nothing to do with firearms? I don't think so.
  5. by   Lacie
    Any offense other than traffic citations etc are supposedly to be reported to the BON's. It doesnt mean you will necessarily lose you license but they do review it for a decision. It doesnt matter if it was at work or on your week long vacation. Also someone mentioned losing license for "lack of sleep" believe it or not yes it has happened as it can be considered "impairment". Impairment doesnt mean just using drugs or drinking etoh. You can be impaired if you are taking legally prescribed medications such as anti-depressants or lack of sleep if it's reported. You can have a negative drug screen and still lose your license on allegations. Unlike the legal system where you are innocent until proven guilty it is the opposite with the BON's as it is administrative law and you are therefore the one who has to prove your innocence rather than the alleger proving your guilt. Most of these things can also be reported anomoniously on most BON sites or phone contact. It isnt just DUI's or drug use/diversion, nor just a major screw up with pt care that can cause a loss of license. I have seen numerous RN's loose thier license for much less cause then those stated in this thread. I strongly advise any licensed person to ensure they care individual professional liability insurance as most will cover up to around $20,000 legal fees if you are brought to the BON for just about any situation. It doesnt necessarily have to be in relation to if you are sued by a pt or family. Also I have posted this link before regarding protection of you license. http://www.nursingceu.com/courses/147/index_nceu.html
    Any RN or LPN should read this fully or keep a copy of it for referral. It should be a required reading for any nursing program. I've also treated enough young people and seen the affects of drunk driving that yes it should be acted on. Also most times they are referred to alternate programs such as VRP, etc and if lapse and dont get through that then the BON reviews for licensure action. It's not like they arent given alternatives for treatment before hand. The same goes for drug diversion or use. And yes those nurses also usually end up with legal charges and I have seen them hauled out of thier units in handcuffs for all to see.
    Last edit by Lacie on Jan 27, '07
  6. by   newbiern2006
    Quote from danh3190
    I don't know...
    What's the point of taking the ability to earn a living away from somebody for something that doesn't necessarily affect their ability to perform their job?
    I don't know about you, but I don't want anybody irresponsible enough (and obviously judgment-impaired enough) to drive drunk to be giving me meds or watching (or worse, not watching) my tele monitor or ... you get the idea. And as far as smoking and obesity go, how can that possibly compare? Smoking doesn't impair one's driving, and neither does obesity - nor do they impair one's judgment or clinical abilities. I suffered through nursing school with a classmate who was a drinker, and let me tell you, an entire group of us filed a formal complaint against her, because even sober, her drinking had impaired her abilities in clinical. Because she had not been caught drinking during school or clinicals, she was given multiple opportunities to improve her performance in clinical (she was a straight A student in theory). She was allowed to graduate and take the NCLEX, but there is not a single one of us who were her classmates that would EVER let her be our nurse.
  7. by   scribblerpnp
    I would have no problem with this so long as it was the same for other people in similar jobs: policemen, DOCTORS, firemen, pharmacists, etc. I wonder how it is handled by these professions. I can't imagine an MD losing their medical license over a DUI, why would it be OK for a nurse?

    When I was a student nurse working as an extern in a hospital, one of the nurses I regularly worked with had an accident. He was a WONDERFUL nurse and VERY professional.

    He was ON HIS OWN PROPERTY on a 4-wheeler riding in a large area with a three other people. No one was on the 4-wheeler with him. He had an accident (which the accident could have happened to any sober person), and was hurt badly enough to need an ED visit (something like a broken arm or ankle, etc-nothing big.) A friend transported him to the ED. They did a tox screen in the ED which came up higher than the legal limit for alcohol. I don't remember how much higher, but I remember thinking it really wasn't that impressive. He nearly lost his license over this and the only reason he didn't was he had a good lawyer and fought for a long period of time. How is this fair? He wasn't on the public roads, he was on his own property! Yeah, it was stupid to be drinking and driving a 4-wheeler, but that was his decision, and he didn't put any other life in danger, as he didn't allow any passengers and the area was large enough so that there was no potential anyone could cause a wreck with another driver.

    I'll also say that he wasn't "on-call" for work and didn't have to report to work within the next 24 hours. He also didn't have a a drinking problem.

    I just don't think that the taking away of a license for a DUI is an absolutely good thing. There are LOTS of professions in which there are life-and--death decisions to be made. Do they follow the same rules? So long as you aren't impaired for your job, why should the BON have that power?
  8. by   clemmm78
    Quote from chuck1234
    If you are a nurse, and you drive while you are drunk; the Board of Nursing can suspend your nursing license for good!!! This is hard to believe...but it is true!!!!
    How about if you are drunk, don't drive because it is stupid, dangerous and illegal. Not to mention you can kill people. It always amazes me when people say things like this, implying that losing your license is much more important.
    Last edit by clemmm78 on Jan 27, '07
  9. by   StrwbryblndRN
    "I don't know about you, but I don't want anybody irresponsible enough (and obviously judgment-impaired enough) to drive drunk to be giving me meds or watching (or worse, not watching) my tele monitor or ..."

    Just like Tweety said, there are heavy drinkers and there are people who make dumb mistakes. No one is perfect. IMHO there is just no one way to look at it.
    If a review of ones license is needed so be it. However not everyone deserves to have their license revoked. I do not believe that the recipient of a DUI (off duty) is necessarily an impaired nurse. But if signs are noted at work , then obviously further steps must be taken.
  10. by   newbiern2006
    Quote from Strwbryblnd
    and there are people who make dumb mistakes.
    Yep, and I don't want one of'em to be my nurse.
  11. by   newbiern2006
    Quote from clemmm78
    How about if you are drunk, don't drive because it is stupid, dangerous and illegal. Not to mention you can kill people. It always amazes me when people say things like this, implying that losing your license is much more important.
    My sister had a bumper sticker that said it bette tahn anything I've seen:

    "See Dick drink, see Dick drive, see Dick die. Don't be a Dick."
  12. by   SCRN1
    Quote from Tweety
    Actually here in Florida that is the case. DUI's don't automatically cause a loss of license. In fact, a coworker just got a DUI, it didn't affect her job performance and as far as I know it was never reported to BON. In fact she kept it herself and didn't tell our boss. Only one or two people know. It's not mandatory to report DUI's. I think when future employers do background checks it's going to definatley be a problem for her.
    Is there not a place to check on your license renewal form if you have ever been convicted of a crime?
  13. by   Tweety
    Quote from SCRN1
    Is there not a place to check on your license renewal form if you have ever been convicted of a crime?
    A felony. DUIs here are traffic offenses and not felonies.

    It might be different from state to state. As I stated before, here in Florida it doesn't mean an automatic loss of license. But I've seen policement, judges and other professions here held accountable when they've gotten DUI's. It's not just nurses.

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