moral obligations re: drug users in nursing school

  1. Hi all! I have a major problem. There is a person in my nursing class that uses pot and meth. I was told this by my best friend (also in nursing school)who hangs out with this person and their spouse. Last night, we had a study session at my best friend's house and the person who uses drugs was there. During the session I noticed that this person went over to the far corner of the room but I didn't think too much about it. Today at school my best friend tells me that, that person was getting high when they were in the corner and my BF didn't even know about it until today when this person told her.

    I am totally angry that getting high was more important to this person than the rest of us in the room. I do not do drugs nor would I ever want to and I feel totally stupid and betrayed to some extent that drugs were done in my presence and I didn't even know.

    Our school does not require drug testing. We are in clinicals one day a week and we are actually working with clients. What if this person decides to get high before clinicals? My BF has begged me not to say anything to anyone and I do not want to betray her trust but geez louise, I feel like somebody should do SOMETHING!

    So, what would you do?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    Quote from twintoo
    Hi all! I have a major problem. There is a person in my nursing class that uses pot and meth. I was told this by my best friend (also in nursing school)who hangs out with this person and their spouse. Last night, we had a study session at my best friend's house and the person who uses drugs was there. During the session I noticed that this person went over to the far corner of the room but I didn't think too much about it. Today at school my best friend tells me that, that person was getting high when they were in the corner and my BF didn't even know about it until today when this person told her.

    I am totally angry that getting high was more important to this person than the rest of us in the room. I do not do drugs nor would I ever want to and I feel totally stupid and betrayed to some extent that drugs were done in my presence and I didn't even know.

    Our school does not require drug testing. We are in clinicals one day a week and we are actually working with clients. What if this person decides to get high before clinicals? My BF has begged me not to say anything to anyone and I do not want to betray her trust but geez louise, I feel like somebody should do SOMETHING!

    So, what would you do?
    That's a touchy one. Since at this point it's hearsay, I'd keep my mouth shut and eyes wide open. If you actually observe this person doing drugs or performing nursing care in a manner that suggests they are under the influence, then I would discreetly speak with the instructor. Chances are, if you've noticed odd behavior, so have they. Good luck!
  4. by   purplemania
    So sad that this person is wasting time in nursing school as they will probably get caught eventually and lose the license they are working so hard to obtain. MEANWHILE, do not trust this person with your patients. Sounds harsh, but if I doubted the care someone would give my patient, for any reason, I would not allow them that privilege. BTW, after you get your license you may be required to refer this info to your state BON. This is for public safety.
  5. by   Rustyhammer
    Quote from twintoo
    So, what would you do?
    Well, I would certainly ASK if I wanted to know.
    Be prepared to discuss the situation. Be calm and listen.
    -Russell
  6. by   RedSox33RN
    Since there are patients involved, my first concern would be for them, whether you know or don't know if the person is using before clinicals or not. I believe it is your business now, because they CHOSE to make it your business by doing drugs in your presence, whether you knew it or not at the time. They could have been more discreet, by going outside or in a bathroom.

    Since you do know, I believe it is your obligation to say something, whether it is anonymous or not. But that is just what I would do. Obviously I don't know your program and whether or not the instructors would be open to you remaining anonymous if you wished.

    It's a tough decision, and I know you don't want to be seen as a snitch or anything with your classmates. Maybe if it was not a program that worked with people it would be a different story and you could turn your head and forget it. But I think the school should know so they can make a determination as to whether this student is jeopardizing patients. Obviously we all have personal lives that need to be separate from these programs, like having wine with dinner or whatever, but illegal drugs are another thing, and maybe this person has a problem that needs to be addressed before they injure someone, and jeopardize not only themselves, but the school's license as well.
  7. by   HyperRNRachel
    Yes, at this point it is hearsay. Keep an eye on the person and watch for any strange behaviors. My first instinct would be to drop an unsigned, vague note about the persons behaviors to their instructor. Then I would avoid that person at all cost. My fear, for you, is that being in the room while that person did drugs( in some way )may put you at risk. Did someone else at the party observe any drug use? If so, are they going to go tell an instructor? My fear would be that someone else may say somthing to an instuctor and involve innocent by-standers. That could also be me just being paranoid. To cover my butt....although some may believe it is a chickens**** move.....I would let an instructor know. For one, to protect myself. Two, to protect the instructor's license.

    Good Luck.
  8. by   christie_0307
    I really think being honest is best. If you have a real concern for this person and the recipication of feelings due to his drug use it would be very beneficial to confront him. At times of stress, family problems and so forth people have the tendency to turn to drugs. I believe this person's drug use maybe deeper then it appears to be. Maybe the best way to approach this person is to speak in a more concern matter... for him and his (near) future. And maybe clarify to him what he's actually doing against the nursing profession... ie: dangering patient safety, neglecting self, disregarding overall medical and nursing knowledge.. etc..
    hope this helps...
  9. by   MryRose
    I would talk with the person in question directly and tell her that you are aware that she is doing drugs and that you will not tolerate that behavior around you or any patients. Period. If you even any suspicion that she is high before class or clinicals that you will report her immediately. Would you want this person working on your relatives ???

    How would you feel if you later heard that she had harmed a patient because of this? Would you also be guilty for not preventing it? If not legally, then morally?

    I will do most anything for a friend..... but NEVER at the expense of another persons welfare.

    You are working hard for your career, don't let someone mess it up for you.

    Hugs,

    MaryRose
  10. by   PilotJim68
    a little thought that i like to live by:

    one day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who said excitedly, "socrates, do you know what i just heard about one of your students?"

    wait a moment," socrates replied. "before telling me anything i'd like you to pass a little test. it's called the triple filter test."

    "triple filter?"

    "that's right," socrates continued, "before you talk to me about my student, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say .

    the first filter is truth. have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

    "no," the man said, "actually i just heard about it and..."

    "all right," said socrates. "so you don't really know if it's true or not. now let's try the second filter,

    the filter of goodness. is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

    "no, on the contrary ....."


    "so," socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. you may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of usefulness. is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

    "well, not really."

    "well," concluded socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

    this is the reason socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

    it also explains why he never found out that plato was banging his wife


    now, having experienced people taking drugs in my presence, i would definately make sure that she is doing drugs before doing anything about it. once you know for sure, turn her in anonymously to your instructors. remember, any patient she comes into contact with is in danger and you know this and are under law, obligated to the safety of your patients. it might even help your friend get into treatment and save her life and career as well.
  11. by   irishrose53
    I agree with Jim all the way. If you knew it to be true, you would have an ethical and legal obligation to say something for the sake of your pts. If you didn't that would put your license in jeopardy. But to say something you don't know to be true is a moral problem. It's really no more that cheap gossip. Your BF is hanging awfully close to this person. I'd be wondering more about her choices. I'd be more careful where I chose to study. What if the police come bangin' in the door and you all get round up and thrown in the pokey!!! That wouldn't look good on a resume.
  12. by   Cherish
    Right now I wouldn't do anything but observe because you did not catch or see it or smell it (the drugs). The only other person who did was one person out of a group of how much? It would be ashame to accuse someone without any evidence. That would definately put a blemish on her career and especially in school. That would suck if the person didn't do anything but you told on her with no proof but hearsay (in court that DOES NOT stand up). Observe, be watchful of the patients, if you see anything or see her acting weird (minus stress because it is nursing school) then you should drop an anonymous note to the nursing instructor or assitant dean. Just a suggestion, you wouldn't want someone to drop a line to the instructor and blemish your career over hearsay without any evidence would you? Probably not.
  13. by   MryRose
    Quote from pilotjim68
    a little thought that i like to live by:

    one day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who said excitedly, "socrates, do you know what i just heard about one of your students?"

    wait a moment," socrates replied. "before telling me anything i'd like you to pass a little test. it's called the triple filter test."

    "triple filter?"

    "that's right," socrates continued, "before you talk to me about my student, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say .

    the first filter is truth. have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

    "no," the man said, "actually i just heard about it and..."

    "all right," said socrates. "so you don't really know if it's true or not. now let's try the second filter,

    the filter of goodness. is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

    "no, on the contrary ....."


    "so," socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. you may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of usefulness. is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

    "well, not really."

    "well," concluded socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

    this is the reason socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

    it also explains why he never found out that plato was banging his wife


    now, having experienced people taking drugs in my presence, i would definately make sure that she is doing drugs before doing anything about it. once you know for sure, turn her in anonymously to your instructors. remember, any patient she comes into contact with is in danger and you know this and are under law, obligated to the safety of your patients. it might even help your friend get into treatment and save her life and career as well.

    i agree about not turning someone in based on heresay too. better to talk to the person and see what is actually happening. it could be anything she was doing. i should have clarified that in my above post.
  14. by   gij1
    Tell him in a heart to heart talk what you suspect and the rumors going around. Explain that drugs and nursing do not mix and he is putting lives in danger using drugs at all, even days before clinicals. Also point out what it would do to his license if he were caught. Suggests places to get help, like the school's counseling/psychiatric/mental health. If i were you, i would stay as far as possible from this person. He sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen. Hope it all turns out to be rumors.

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