Pot Smoking and Nursing - page 5

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   MollyJ
    In my business, it is not uncommon to see people change the subject to deflect the topic matter.

    Yes, job impairment can happen for a variety of reasons. To say, "Gee we can't attack any of 'em until we can solve all of them," is just short-sighted.

    Frankly, I'm not impressed by the knowledge that nurses use marijuana. And yes, nurses, I formerly thought that nurses were above that kind of behavior. In the 80's, I learned that we weren't even though we certainly are equiped with the knowledge that should cause us to be!

    The bottom line is that nobody is higly interested in your idea of recreation, what position (or species) you prefer for sex etc UNLESS it comes to work.

    Unfortunately, it's not that farfetched that what you do comes to work. Stoned, hungover, HIV+, sleep deprived: these are all things that can profoundly affect what you do at work.

    We all have an obligation to our patients to exercise as much control over these variables as we can.

    Anyone who ever watched a M*A*S*H episode knows that performing critical work burned out and tired is not news. For all of us, nurses and supervisors, the choice isn't, "Should I work with fresh, non-sleep deprived nurses or tired nurses?". The choice is "a tired nurse vs no nurse." BUT other risk behaviors, like heavy drinking or marijuana use is a choice we make. It's not a matter of doing the best we can with unoptimal choices. It's us--creating an unoptimal situation.

    People who party need to understand that, as always, their partying impacts more than them. And yes, folks, I acknowledge that everytime I drink a glass of wine, have a beer. It changes what you do, no doubt.

    Good discussion.
  2. by   thisnurse
    "Gee we can't attack any of 'em until we can solve all of them,"

    i never meant to insinuate that molly.

    all i was saying is that there are a lot of things that affect our performance. i just dont think that the nurse who smokes a joint on his/her day off is that big a deal, at least no more a deal than the nurse who has no sleep, or the nurse who comes in after binging.

    we cant always work at our peak. its contrary to our job, but yes we do owe our patients our best.
    common sense tells you that if its sunday night and you work monday morning you dont get drunk or high. you know your function will be impaired to some degree.
    saturday night is another story
  3. by   Bradley
    Hello, I personally can tell you pot does effect you. I smoked f/20 yrs. It effects your concentration, coordination , and mood.I would not recommend it for anyone in health care or anywhere else.I really had no idea how it truley affected me until I quit yrs ago. The mood swings and cravings are tough to get over. Its amazing how clear things become when your off of it for so long.
    I can have a drink on the weekend no problem,but with pot you have to have it ,or think you do. It really does take control,so please be careful if you use.If I had to do it over again I would have never touched it. I was a daily user and you have to have more and more to get the high, not to mention the expence. Thanks all and god bless.
  4. by   semstr
    Reply to post 28 Susannasue:

    Please, please don't use the word "nurse-Nazi" in this context!
    Read your historybooks and have a look about what "they" (Nazis and some nurses) really did.

    Sorry I am very tired, had a very emotional day and after all these years going to Mauthausen with my students, still wears me out. And when I read something like that post ............ sorry, wrong day, wrong time, wrong me!

    Take care and never let that happen again!!Renee
  5. by   wrightgd
    Two quick comments:

    1) Basically this is a polarized topic... I don't think there is any middle ground. There are those of us who see this as being cut and dry... We can't understand the rationale, no matter how hard it is argued, that pot is ok. For us, it's wrong simply because it is logically wrong. On the other end of the spectrum, are the pot proponents. They will always argue that it's no one's business what they do on their time. Perhaps they feel that they have an inate ability to control the effects of the drug. It's almost like the drunk who insists on driving, because "they aren't as think as you drunk they are" hiccup!! hiccup!!

    2) To all the comments about practice acts... I wonder how many recreational users even knew what their states NP act said when they go their license???

    Good day all,
    George
  6. by   mattsmom81
    I agree it is not the employer's right to police what you do on your off time...that does not in any way effect WORK. A pre-employment drug test that is + means you're breaking the law using an illegal and mind altering substance, and my kid can't get a job FLIPPING BURGERS if he tests + on his drug screen. How can we justify healthcare workers testing + in CA and it being allowed?

    I grew up in the 70's where just about everyone I knew tried pot. Even my parents tried it...once. I honestly didn't know anyone who smoked pot 'just one joint on a weekend.' It didn't work that way then and I suspect it really doesn't now either.....call me way doubtful on this point...LOL!

    I saw families and lives effected very negatively by the addictve properties of pot....I watched it very easily become a prime focus of daily activities of many of my friends. My best friends DH's stopped working and started dealing, or lost theirgood jobs due to poor work habits, attitudes, or drug screen issues. I smell pot a lot in clubs, in restaurants, in parking lots today .....I know a lot of folks still use it and I truly doubt it is being used much differently today in general, knowing what I do about it.

    Pro marijuana proponents seem to be in denial of reality on this issue, IMO...as many alcholics are in denial of their illness until they hit bottom.
  7. by   suzannasue
    In reference to post #56...
    semstr...I am well aware of the behavior of the Nazi's...and I used the term in proper context ...haven't you seen the threads regarding those who are different,those who believe differently???
    I have seen "gangs" of nurses pick a target and personally and professionally ruin those they do not understand. My friend as I reported in my previous post was reported not only for smelling like ETOH but for smiling too much. OK...now we can't be happy on the job. Oh and by the way, yes I found my memory jogged by another post..no...no numbers were revealed by the breathalyzer,my mistake...but the facts JACK...the reading or whatever was so ambivalently indeterminate that she was sent home just because there was no clear cut positive or negative. She was sent home because they could state "zero tolerance" and knew that she would comply due to the emotional issues involved. I apologize for posting misinformation. They threatened her with the BON yet had no evidence with which to back up their claims.
    I also saw a reference to the "nightinggale pledge" regarding the
    refusal to use damaging substances...I also remember part of that thing stating we would walk in purity or some such crock of crap...yeah...right...I am human. I have my opinions.
  8. by   nursedawn67
    [i]

    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! [/B]

    Thank you! I agree! I have worked ill (no matter what the illness is) and I couldn't think....There are alot of legal and illegal things that impair our thinking....what is important is how we deal with them. Such as not coming to work on any substance and if too ill to think stay home.
  9. by   thisnurse
    To all the comments about practice acts... I wonder how many
    recreational users even knew what their states NP act said when they go
    their license???


    george

    52% of the recreational users dont know their nurse practice acts when they get their license.
    48% hard core stoners know it word for word.

    the better question would be WHO CARES?

    i dont need some hokey piece of rhetoric to tell me how to live my life. if you revere this then thats good for you.

    i know this...i am one damn good nurse. i give my patients everything i have WHILE I AM AT WORK...
    i am kind and compassionate and i work for the patient...no matter what.
    i dont and never did need a piece of paper to tell me how to do that.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    Who cares? Well, your BON cares, your law enforcement agency cares and I bet your patients do too...as nurses are being sued more and more frequently today, which translates to 'they are watching us.'...

    Good luck to you Thisnurse, I think you may need it.... I get a mailed list every month listing names of nurses in my state who didn't care about that 'piece of paper' called their nurse practice act...the BON just LOVES to publish their revoked and stipulated licenses for public viewing.

    And now I will agree to disagree with Thisnurse's viewpoints; and am sending my sympathies to the original poster and all California nurses who are watching this strange pot tolerance develop in their workplace. This is a tough situation for you, please take care of yourselves!
  11. by   MollyJ
    Originally posted by thisnurse
    To all the comments about practice acts... I wonder how many
    recreational users even knew what their states NP act said when they go
    their license???


    george

    52% of the recreational users dont know their nurse practice acts when they get their license.
    48% hard core stoners know it word for word.

    the better question would be WHO CARES?

    i dont need some hokey piece of rhetoric to tell me how to live my life. if you revere this then thats good for you.

    i know this...i am one damn good nurse. i give my patients everything i have WHILE I AM AT WORK...
    i am kind and compassionate and i work for the patient...no matter what.
    i dont and never did need a piece of paper to tell me how to do that.
    thisnurse,
    I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt because I really don't know you and this is obviously a hot-button issue for you.

    I will admit that your statements worry me. Your nurse practice act is not a "hokey piece of rhetoric". It's the law. It describes and delimits your practice. Your are accountable to know it and adhere to it.

    As a nurse, it is shocking to discover that nursing isn't just a 9 to 5 job that you leave behind at the end of the day. You can punch out (on the time clock) from being at work, but not from being a nurse. And no, I'm not saying that we wear a mantle of sainthood (because we don't) but if our own knowledge doesn't permeate our own self-care and our own self-knowledge, then we will likely live at constant odds with who we are and what we do. Taken to its' _worst_ extreme, it amounts to living a lie and most of us just can't do that for long and still like ourselves.

    for most of us, we recognize the dichotomy between what we do and what we recommend (exercise, eat right, practice good self-coping, use alcohol in moderation if at all). This real life experience teaches us to tolerate and understand our client's failings when they, too, are imperfect.

    But we all recognize that a line exists when a nurse is so far away from what he or she teaches that it erodes his or her credibility. Drugs and alcohol can certainly cause people to cross the line, as can morbid obesity, when a nurse generates excessive med errors, when a nurse fails to recognize significant problems and leaves you to deal with burgeoning crises repeatedly and on and on.

    We accept our fallibility and work toward the highest level of professional practice we can (and that's what "hokey piece of rhetoric is about").

    Nurses who flirt with illegal drug use, excessive use of alcohol, misuse of prescription or other drugs, or poor self-care practice risk crossing a line where they erode their credibility significantly AND risk violation of the nurse practice act.

    Good luck, thisnurse. This is obviously a close-to-home topic in some realm for you. You've told us "not you" but perhaps someone you really care about. You're in a tough spot and that's not easy.

    Peace to all.
  12. by   CATHYW
    as a certified bat (breath alcohol tester), i disagree:

    suzannasue,
    breathalyzers don't generate a number, they either are positive
    or negative.

    this is totally incorrect. the bat, administered in our er by me and several others, and by me at several remote, oh locations, was calibrated regularly, and absolutely displayed and printed out quantitative breath alcohols!

    the company that i am currently employed by has an absolute zero tolerance policy for both drugs and alcohol. in addition to randoms, a panel 10 and a bat are administered to anyone with an occupational injury. anyone who requests tx for substance abuse is accomodated. if they wait until they test positive; however, they are otd!

    i took a male to the occ med's office last year after he dropped a die on his foot. bat restults at 11 in the morning:0.078. this means that he had been drinking the night before, but what was his level at 7 a.m. when he began work, and did this contribute to his accident?
  13. by   semstr
    Suzannasue,

    Told you wrong time, wrong place.
    I still have big problems with the use of your words (or anybody elses in this context)
    It seems to me that in using the word Nazi that easily, it may be one of the reasons to "harmless" the real meaning behind that word and what these "people" did.
    Of course I am very aware of that, growing up in a country occupied by Nazi-Germany and now living in a country being one of nazi-Germany greatest allies.

    Still, how is it possible that someone smells of alcohol and hasn't drunk a drop?
    Take care, Renee

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