What would you suggest?

  1. What would you suggest for the following problem?:

    While sitting in her student orientation, a friend of mine was told by two of her fellow new nursing students that they are regular marijuana smokers. She fears that this may cause them to "not be on top of their game", and possibly lead to patient harm. She is also concerned about having one of them assigned to her as a lab patient. her school does not require drug testing for students, and she really doesnt know what her best move would be. I am not sure what to tell her, as she is in a different program from me. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Brandy
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   Brown Suga
    I would suggest to your friend to refer to her student handbook. By looking the handbook maybe she will get some clue as to what to do about her current situation. Maybe your friend should write a letter to the dean of the nursing program about the information she knows for a fact. I can't believe her nursing program does not perform a drug screening or does her program wait until it is time for clinical rotation? I know if I was in the position your friend was in I would definitely turn in the students. When clinicals come around the no name mentioned students are caring for one of my family members I definitely would not be happy to find out this news. People who use drugs are more likely to make a mistake. I would not like to see any patient harmmed because of the students choice to use marijuana. I don't know how helpful my words will be.



    Thank you,
    BrownSuga
  4. by   fergus51
    I would wonder what regular means. Do they smoke every Saturday night or do they smoke every night? I think the extent of the use is what's important to know. If they are using before coming to clinical then I would report them definintely.
  5. by   peaceful2100
    I would suggest that she tell the school like a faculty member or someone who can do something. At my school they do not yet have required drug testing but if they suspect someone using drugs they will ask the person who is being suspected to go through drug testing and at that poing if the test comes back positive they are automatically kicked out of the program. I personally feel if high schools and junior high schools are starting to make it mandatory for their students who play sports to go through drug testing then so should nursing schools especially when students are going to be taking care of patients. That is just my opinion.
  6. by   aimeee
    I would wonder what "regular" user means too. Where and when they are smoking makes a big difference. Substitute alcohol for marijuana in the thinking process about this and it becomes a bit easier to decide what is appropriate. You wouldn't turn somebody in for having a few beers several nights a week, but you would have serious concerns about somebody who drank before clinicals. Patient safety comes first. Taking any kind of substance that affects judgment before patient care activities must be reported.
  7. by   kellyjrn
    I have to agree regarding reporting the students, but only if they are smoking before clinical. That will be difficult to assertain without giving herself away, so instead I might suggest that your friend type a letter and send it annonymously to the administrator with a copy also sent to these students clinical instructor, stating the facts, and only the facts that she knows. The teachers can be the ones to worry about it, and in the meantime I would just tell her that if she finds they are assigned with her, to make a request to switch. If it comes down to it, she can go to a teacher and let them know her reasons...it SHOULD be in confidence. A little tension between her offending peers and her is better than losing her license before she has even obtained it!! If your friend really feels gutsy, I might approach the offenders, tell them how she feels about it, and let them know that she is going to tell the teacher and that she feels they are unsafe... Honesty usually works also!
  8. by   BrandyBSN
    Thank you to everyone who replied! I will have her read this, as she usually only reads the Student section (i think).
  9. by   kjmta57
    I am having a problem with some of the answers posted in here.number one until it is made legal smoking marijuania is illegal.so what some of you are saying as long as you are doing something illegal not before clinical its okay?some example for nurses! especially when it comes to any drug or medication we should always set an example.
  10. by   BrandyBSN
    I agree. Although I have never had a problem with my fellow classmates (atleast no problem that i knew about), It bothers me that its only a big problem if they smoke before clinicals. I cant compare beer drinking to marijuana because beer is not illegal, it is only illegal if someone under 21 consumes it. marijuana is illegal for everyone, regardless of age or situation. A possession of marijuana conviction can cause them to loose their nursing license before they even obtain it.

    Illegal drug use is wrong, and should not be tolerated, even if they only use it "on their own time".
  11. by   Sharon
    Brandy,

    I do drug screening for a large corporation and am a former instructor. I would recommend that your classmate needs to report the drug use to the Dean of Students or equivalent. The Dean or whoever will not be able to require them to test at that time because testing with no objective data will not be supported in a court of law if it is challenged.

    What will most likely happen is the instructors will be made aware of a potential "behavior problem" and asked to monitor the situation and document objective behaviors. When a school official witnesses a specific incident then the students will be tested.

    When your classmate is discussing the situation with the Dean they should request to never be partnered with the students. Even in a lab, students have been injured.

    Remember most facilities have a zero tolerance drug policy regardless of whether they do pre-employment/enrollment testing or not. No amount of illegal substance is usually allowed in such a policy. My understanding is that marijuana is still completely illegal in your area.

    As students you have plenty to worry about and plenty of problems to solve without having to deal with this situation. Give it away.
  12. by   NurseStudentFall01
    I also wanted to say thank you for all these replies. I am the friend Brandy wrote about, my classmates are the ones with questionable extracurricular activities.

    I also wanted to add that *I believe* the classmates in question were high at the actual orientation. They were being very loud and their topic of conversation was completely inappropriate. At some point, they must have felt it necessary to explain their behavior and that's when they mentioned that they get high all the time. I was trying so hard to ignore them that I can't recall exactly what they said.

    I'm surprised by many of the responses here, but I appreciate them just the same! I'll have to give this some more thought! Thanks again!
  13. by   NurseStudentFall01
    double post, sorry!
    Last edit by NurseStudentFall01 on Jul 6, '01
  14. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by BrandyBSN
    What would you suggest for the following problem?:

    While sitting in her student orientation, a friend of mine was told by two of her fellow new nursing students that they are regular marijuana smokers. She fears that this may cause them to "not be on top of their game", and possibly lead to patient harm. She is also concerned about having one of them assigned to her as a lab patient. her school does not require drug testing for students, and she really doesnt know what her best move would be. I am not sure what to tell her, as she is in a different program from me. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Brandy
    Unless I am very out of touch here, marijuana is still quite illegal here in the states. It does not matter how much or how frequently the person uses an illegal drug. The question is what is the ethical thing to do here? Is it ethical for the student to know something that could jeopardize patient safety and health and not report it?

    It only takes one drug screen for employment to ruin a whole career in nursing that is just getting off the ground. I question the values of the individuals who think that illegal action constitutes the moral fiber upon which nursing should be grounded.

    regards
    chas

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