Pot Smoking and Nursing - page 4

Im angry. I work for a small clinic in Northern CA. There are three RN's on staff at all time. Recently our Office Manager decided to start drug testing of all staff including Doctors. Well, one... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    I don't drink, I don't smoke pot..BUT I have done both in the far past. The after effects from drinking are by far much worse than pot. My ability to think was always much better (not good, just much better...lol) while high on pot compared to being intoxicated from alcohol. So, if the issue here is the job related post-effect, then those who argue drinking is okay, pot isn't obviously has little knowledge on the topic. I sense we are leaning our opinins to satisfy our own lifestyles. Yes, drinking is legal and pot is illegal, but both have negative impacts on the body. If we're going to say that as nurses we must set a standard, then all fat nurses, all drinkers, all dopers, all smokers, all those who have unprotected sex, all those who don't wear seatbelts, all those who cheat on their taxes, all those who drink caffine, etc. must go. That probably leaves about one or two nurses in the nation.

    mattsmom81
    Transplanted Texan

    Registered: Jan 2002
    Location: Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, USA
    Posts: 272
    (Post# 31)

    I agree Karen. Do nurses today still take the Nightengale pledge to 'refrain from that which is deleterious or mischievous? I took it seriously when I spoke those words...not that I'm perfect in any sense...

    Pot is an illegal substance. Period. If you're gonna play, be prepared to pay...nurses and docs who partake are breaking the law, and should be held accountable. And they are...everywhere but California, apparently...LOL!

    [b]Alcohol is legal so those who compare it to pot have no basis...based on this fact alone: Pot is ILLEGAL.[b]

    And those who look the other way and 'allow' small amounts in the drug screen are in a risky business themselves, IMO


    so drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication isn't "deleterious or mischievous"???

    I just don't understand.

    What about the nurses who come to work "altered" on a prescription drug? Should we also intervene here? I don't think it's a matter of legality vs illegality..it's a matter of ability to competently care for patients. How many of us work sick? How many times does an employer say, "you know..you look pretty bad, I'm afraid your illness is hindering your ability to care for your patient. Why don't you go home until you are well?" lol..yeah, right. How many women go to work with PMS or hormonal imbalances? After having an argument with the spouse or kids? All these impact thinking and judgement. The list goes on and on.

    If what you do on your off time is not having an impact on your ability at work, then it's not your employers business!
  2. by   jamistlc
    Originally posted by thisnurse


    proponents of marijuana can say that
    alcohol leads to marijuana leads to crack leads to heroin...that would be just as stupid.

    i only have ONE point in all of this...it seems to me that so many of the anti marijuana people have no problem with alcohol. if one is illegal than the other should be as well.
    i see alcohol as one of our biggest evils because its socially acceptable and easily available REGARDLESS OF AGE RESTRICTIONS.

    i think we would be doing our society a favor by abolishing BOTH.. but thats not going to happen any time soon. legalizing marijuana wont happen either because, face the facts...theres TOO MUCH money involved.
    drugs are big business in our country. lots of revenue to be made by the government in one way or another. think about it.

    i say abolish them both
    I agree with everything except your denile that the progression of chemical dependency is not factual. It is just ask anyone in a treatment center what thier drug(s) of choice are, most are poly addicted and started with alcohol or pot!
  3. by   kids
    I wrote a very long, very intense response to this thread. Then deleted it because I just don't trust people outside my family with this kind of stuff.

    All I can saw is been there, done that, sold the t-shirt to by drugs.
    I am amazed and greatful I survived the 80's without AIDS, prison or a serious overdose.

    And I wouldn't go back to it for anything
  4. by   mattsmom81
    If a coworker of mine comes to work impaired and/or unable to safely care for her patients due to an altered state I have a duty to inform my superiors and /or the BON to avoid potential liability myself. I have had to do it, it's not fun, but it's necessary.

    We have to answer to our consciences too here...is this a one time thing? Like the good kid who takes a Benedryl and didn't know it would snow her? If she's sick/hungover---send her home, maybe it can be overlooked once or twice...we're all human...but ya know if someone comes in reeking of pot or booze regularly....or acts high......ya got a problem that needs addressing, right? My BON refers to it as 'consistent pattern of behavior ". This isn't rocket science IMO.

    My BON is pretty clear on the reporting of impaired nurses and I bet ya'lls is too if you look. Some of the blase' attitudes here make me wonder if we have some imposter nurses on this BB...we really don't know for sure do we? Some of the comments sound like high schoolish, anti-establishment whining...

    It may indeed be legal to drink but obviously, our BON holds us to a standard with booze as with ANY mind altering substance.
  5. by   thisnurse
    im not in denial...im sure there are many cases where one drug leads to another but im not so sure thats the norm.

    if anything i think alcohol, because its so readily available and acceptable, is the begining drug. kids see their parents drinking it, they see it on television, in the stores, and in the refrigerator.
    i think it starts there.

    society as a whole is hypocritical in its veiwpoints on legalization.
    as ive said before, marijuana is not going to be legalized any time soon because it will take away business from the alcohol trade and there is too much money to be made by all in keeping it illegal. and thats what it all comes down to...nothing more.
    there is no evidence to support the statement that marijuana is worse than alcohol. they both have their evils but i see them as the equals.

    as far the smoking nurse issue is concerned, i stand firmly that ANY impaired nurse needs to be reported for safety reasons. for any impairment..even emotional.
    so how about the nurse who comes in sick? say with the flu?
    he or she is contagious to all staff and coworkers, they are also impaired for health reasons. what then? do you go to your supervisor and report her? she wont get sent home, she will be permitted (and thanked) for working impaired.
    i only bring this up as food for thought and for the sake of argument.
    i am being openly mischevious....lol
  6. by   nurs4kids
    mattsmom,
    I don't think anyone is taking a stand against reporting or intervening when a nurse shows up at work drunk, high or mentally altered in any way. The debate is whether or not it's the employers business what you do on your OWN time, not theirs.

    I agree totally with reporting drug abusing nurses; I don't even find it hard to do, as you say you do. I wouldn't want them caring for my kids or family members, and I don't want to work beside them either. I recently had a coworker who was stealing narcs at work and abusing them at work. We suspected it for months before she was caught. She was finally caught because of OUR suspicions, not management's. However, had she not been abusing and/or stealing from work, we would have never known nor felt the need to report.

    thisnurse, I couldn't agree more with your above post!
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Whew - what a lot of great comments. As to the person who talks about following all the laws:

    I don't drink, smoke, speed, use drugs, have illegal sex and yes, my dog is licensed, tagged and leashed when outside the house. I also clean up after my dog.

    I'm certainly not the rarity. Most people in the US follow the rules. (And yes, I report ALL my income!!!!)

    I've worked out west (in Las Vegas) and yes, the rules are sometimes bent. That doesn't make it right.

    Are you only "a little high, a little drunk?"

    You take care of one of my family members and see how long before you're in court!!!
  8. by   mattsmom81
    I know some posters here have an 'axe to grind' in their wish to legalize pot, as I've seen other posts along the same line of thought...I agree with Trauma, if I smell pot on a nurse caring for my loved one, I will have 'em in the administrator's office first, report to the board 2nd, and in court later......same thing goes for any suspicion the nurse is inebriated or high.

    It behooves us all to read and thoroughly understand our nurse practice act. California nurses would be wise to review theirs thoroughly if positive drug screens are ignored in the workplace, especially those in charge/supervisory or employee health positions.

    My nurse practice act defines 'unprofessional conduct' as:

    #1: Failing to know and conform to the state nurse practice act.
    Gee ...what a surprise (not).


    Some other areas of unprofessional conduct related to impaired status include making an assignment to someone you know is unable to safely perform same, failing to supervise delivery of care, and /or accepting or delegating an assignment where one's physical OR emotional condition or ability prevents the safe and effective delivery of care, and FAILING TO REPORT AN ATTEMPT OR A VIOLATION of the nurse practice act, including unprofessional conduct. The California situation would definitely not fly here in Texas.....

    If a nurse is falling over seriously sick/injured and I followed my practice act, I would seriously consider sending her home; if I give an assignment she can't do safely I do risk liability. I've reassigned a 'puny' feeling nurse to watch monitors or play secretary if I can make that kind of adjustment safely...it's a judgment call, IMO.

    Your nurse practice act was enacted to protect the PUBLIC but it will also protect you somewhat if you follow it's guidelines. It's pretty risky out there IME if you don't know it...I'm amazed to hear how many nurses DON'T have a copy! And on a side note, it sure does give another party GREAT ammunition against you if you don't know it... you're very easy prey.

    I'll step down off my 'practice act podium' now.
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Apr 14, '02
  9. by   TracyB,RN
    MollyJ, interesting point about the Benadryl.
    I have taken that in the past for hives, and will be basically incoherent for a day, & in a fog for another 2 days.
    I obviously only take it when ABSOLUTELY necessary. I can't imagine what MJ would do to me, if benadryl does that.
  10. by   thisnurse
    i find it interesting that so many of you think that its terrible for a nurse to smoke pot as tho we are so "above" this behavior because we are nurses and yet....we are not "above" the general population when it comes to salaries.
    we are not "above" the general population when it comes to respect.

    there has been some argument about being impaired the day after using marijuana...how would that "impairment" compare with the impairment caused by lack of sleep?
    do you think it compares with two twelve hour shifts in a row?
    thats ok tho...we all do that...and we all know we are not performing to the best of our ability...because we CANT.
    however, that is a part of our job...comes with the territory.
    and im not at all saying that i condone any kind of drug induced impairment, including alcohol. youd better believe that i would have no problem turning someone in who smelled of weed or booze...caring for ANYONE..not just a member of my family.
    im just confused. we all work impaired but nobody seems to care when its sleep deprivation or illness. why are airline pilots and truck drivers for example, given maximum amount of hours they can work but nurses AND doctors are not? but some of you are concerned with the nurse who smokes a joint on her weekend off.

    drinking and or drugs while working are not the issues. we can ALL agree thats wrong...i think the issue that started this thread was that someones coworker tested positive for weed (how do you know that anyway....isnt that supposed to be confidential?) and the docs turned their heads...
    i dont think the hospital or my fellow coworkers have any right at all to tell me what i can/cant do off hours. i dont think its anyones business.
    im a nurse, not a saint. i have a JOB not some high calling that puts me above others.
    if my JOB mandates that i behave in a certain way in my free time then i expect to be paid for that.
    i am not oncall 24/7
  11. by   mother/babyRN
    For goodness sakes, in some states SEX in any other position than missionary, is illegal. Sex of the oral variety is definitely a no no in many statutes...Holy cow! There MUST be something left to regulate! God help you if you're gay...(I am thinking of the moral character clause)....Perhaps you might not want to ante up to either being divorced or a single parent...Both smack of questionable morals....Obviously if someone is impaired due to some activity they are involved with, that is not allowable, but whether or not anyone UNDERTANDS to desire of actions of getting high, is NOT the issue. The issue, as I see it, is invasion of privacy during off time hours...No mention was made that the chastized nurse was in any way impaired other than to have to submit to a bogus drug test....Had she taken cough medicine prior to her shift and THAT showed up in a random screen, what on earth would have been done....My life is my business. My work life is their business. Period.....IMHO
  12. by   HLopez
    You have every right to be angry at this type of behavior outside of the work place . Although, it is ones time off. I would be saddened to see probing of my personal days off...no one would want us treating them at that rate. I belive if the person is not functioning to their capacity and you have proof test them.
  13. by   micro
    but this should fall to any situation.......
    do not work if you cannot perform your duties to your utmost ability......and this ability better be pretty dang high(not being facetious......read your hospital/etc policy and your nurse practice acts).........
    but this doesn't just fall to MJ, it falls to ETOH, and it falls to just plain getting enough sleep, and any medications that you might be on Rx and otherwise, and to putting work first, regardless what else is going on in your life.........

close