Marijuana user starting program in Fall

  1. 0
    Hello I am starting a nursing program this coming Fall. I use marijuana every day and find nothing wrong with that but at the same time I understand there are consequences and sacrifices that come with the lifestyle.

    My primary goal is to make it through nursing school and later on find work that is suitable for the lifestyle I find appropriate. I have my bachelor's degree in another field in case nursing does not work out for me.

    I recently attended my school's nursing program orientation and have a blood test I have to schedule. I looked over the paperwork and found the typical comprehensive blood panel spaces for the results, as well as a remark to attach the actual paperwork to the program's sheet. The blood work is to be done at the school's clinic. There is no mention of drug testing, no consent forms to drug testing (very common in California), and no mention in the school's guidelines about drug testing. Of course, they state a strong stance of zero-tolerance for attending classes and school-related activities under the influence of any drug. I do not know if nursing falls under a federal regulation that allows for drug testing without consent. But my job for example, must obtain prior consent for future random drug tests, and will do so only in the event of negligence or an accident.

    So I have a few questions: Does it look like I will be tested for drugs? Marijuana is mostly a recreational drug for me so I am willing to stop using it if I have to. I also may be able to obtain a state marijuana card for a condition I have. Or am I just asking for trouble if I don't remain 100% clean while attending the program? Acceptance of Marijuana use is changing in California, but professionally I've seen standards that range from legal tolerance to immediate grounds for dismissal or termination. And sometimes it is hard to tell from the outside.

    Please don't lecture me about my past. I just need some realistic advice suitable for a hippy going into a 2-year RN program.
  2. 64 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    I am an EX-pot smoker who once faced the same decision you have now: either continue to use, or obtain and maintain an RN license. I may not like the prohibitions against marijuana, but in all states, indulging in such a habit is incompatible with being a licensed, working nurse. Most healthcare facilities drug-test anyway, and whether or not we agree with it really doesn't make any difference---it's just a fact of life, and we have to deal with what IS, not what we think it ought to be.
    Catatonik likes this.
  4. 3
    Drug testing was mandatory in school at admission. Drug testing was a mandatory part of applying for a job. We have random tests if there are concerns. I live in California.

    This is the way almost all jobs work. We have a small logging business and are mandated by our insurers to drug test. In fact we have a new probational employee who is dumber than a box of rocks and we suspect marijuana use (the pickup he uses reeks of pot). Logging is a very dangerous job and your co-workers rely on your to be safe. No tolerance therefore is the norm. (Not saying all pot users are dumber than a box of rocks). He will have a drug test today.

    I agree with Marla . . . . you have to choose your recreational use of pot or an RN license.

    steph
    bsugar888, Catatonik, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  5. 1
    I am surprised your even asking. Despite Mj's psuedolegal status in CA it is still considerd by most work places and schools as grounds for firing or explusion.

    Just stop using as the poster for me said Marijuana and Nursing don't go together.
    Catatonik likes this.
  6. 2
    I wasn't tested when I applied/was accepted to my BSN program here in Arizona, and we have much stricter marijuana laws than California I believe. If I had applied to the local community college ADN program, I would have been tested, though (not that it matters - I've never used any drug beyond alcohol).
    aprilkimberly and Catatonik like this.
  7. 1
    I live in Texas, and will have to submit to a drug test prior to starting my first semester clinicals in the Fall. It also says that acceptance of my spot in the program means I understand that I could be drug tested at ANY time without reason or cause.

    If I fail a drug test while in school I could be kicked out, and not allowed back in EVER. At the very least I will NOT be allowed to do clinicals for 12 months, and then only if I pass a drug test, do a program, and the school agrees to allow me a do over.

    All of the nurses I talk to here have random drug tests where they work. My mom files medical insurance and they random drug the employees at her job.
    Catatonik likes this.
  8. 0
    Thank you for the input. I want to state again my reason for asking. Smoking is tolerated to a certain degree in many professions around here. One stated that smoking is grounds for expulsion in many schools. But you can be open about smoking as long as you are not smoking on campus or in an occupational setting. Professors often admit to smoking every day, and it is tolerated among faculty. At the same time, professors have been ratted out by angry students and later arrested when they were carrying the substance on them.

    With my last occupation, there was no such thing as drug testing unless you could not function and they needed a reason to get rid of you.

    In my current occupation (social services vendor), drug testing is in the gray area. I know that I will never be tested and never have been tested, but I can expect one if I come to work stoned or later get into an accident. But this is not a concern, since I do not mix work and play. I can understand the situation that one poster brought up in a lumber or mining occupation. But you also have to remember that a lot of managerial type really don't want to know if their employees are smoking after work. Other managers use the drug test to screen addicts, rather than looking to bust someone that smoked a joint 2 weeks ago.

    There just is no simple rule about working the angles in some professions.

    Another thing that seems unresolved is the marijuana card in California. It is often used to provide legal protection in various occupations that have mandatory drug testing. I still have not seen much info that relates it to any federal or state standards of nursing.
  9. 3
    I hear you and really couldn't give a rip if you like smoking in your spare time but nursing isn't like most other professions because we are licensed. This might require some soul searching on your part before you devote too much time, energy and money to a career in nursing. As the others have said you will most certainly have to take a drug test before getting hired and I would also worry about the ramifications to your license's standing if you ever were to get busted. You can say its not a big deal in many occupations and personally as a society I think we have bigger fish to fry but you may be disappointed if you think you will find a MJ friendly facility to work for as a nurse. If you really want to be a nurse I hope you figure out a way to do it even if you need to compromise or change your recreational activities.
    trepinCT, tothepointeLVN, and Catatonik like this.
  10. 1
    Quote from Jules A
    I hear you and really couldn't give a rip if you like smoking in your spare time but nursing isn't like most other professions because we are licensed. This might require some soul searching on your part before you devote too much time, energy and money to a career in nursing. As the others have said you will most certainly have to take a drug test before getting hired and I would also worry about the ramifications to your license's standing if you ever were to get busted. You can say its not a big deal in many occupations and personally as a society I think we have bigger fish to fry but you may be disappointed if you think you will find a MJ friendly facility to work for as a nurse. If you really want to be a nurse I hope you figure out a way to do it even if you need to compromise or change your recreational activities.
    I appreciate the support. I guess that license is the critical part I haven't been focusing on. Currently it looks like I will be doing without MJ for nursing school. And I'll be ready to stay that way if I have to. (bummer)
    mixyRN likes this.
  11. 1
    I think it will be worth it. Wishing you all the best!
    Catatonik likes this.


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