Nurses under the influence

  1. I am an RN student in Idaho. I have been an LPN for almost three years, and I have seen some scary things on the job and in the clinical setting. I have heard many stories of nurses caught in the bathroom at work shooting up stolen medications. I have not been exposed to these things, but I have questioned the sobriety of some nurses I have worked with. Being from a somewhat sheltered area (though meth is said to be prevalent in my current area), I am wondering what others have seen and what is being done. Patient safety is my biggest concern, as well as the morale and trust among coworkers. What can we as students do in these situations?
  2. Visit JessLPN2RNASN profile page

    About JessLPN2RNASN

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 14; Likes: 3
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in ER


  3. by   Race Mom
    Hey Jess! I dont have an answer for your question. Sorry.

    Where do you live in Idaho? How's the RN job market out there?

  4. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Wow, good question.

    I don't know what I would do. Do you accuse someone? Do you keep your mouth shut?

    Surely the managers can see the S&S of drugs use as well. Maybe as a student, unless you outright see it, you should just get through with your semester and get out of that hospital?

    I don't know. Good luck, though.
  5. by   Daytonite
    You don't do anything unless you have observed something factual that you can report. You would have to actually see someone taking a drug or injection to report them--or, if they confided to you that they did so, I would report them. If you smell alcohol on someone's breath you just report it immediately and let the powers that be deal with it. Outside of that, unless someone is sitting at the nurses station nodding off (you would just report that to your clinical instructor or the unit manager) there is nothing else you can do. We can't be policemen, judge and jury. It's not in our job description. The patients need us.

    I've been an RN for 30 years and except for one or two employees who came in crocked and reeked of alcohol, I have never observed anyone taking illegal drugs. Most people do it privately. This is not something you want to announce to the world that you are doing, you know? Your chances of see someone actually doing something like this is probably nil. I wouldn't be concerned about this.
  6. by   DSplendid
    Just adding my 2 cents....I'm not a nurse yet, but I've worked with them for over 10 years....the worst thing I've seen with my own eyes.......
    is a bad hang over.
  7. by   SFCardiacRN
    As a student you are there to learn. Unless you see a nurse shooting up in the bathroom, keep your mouth shut. And even then you better hope it's not insulin! As a student I saw many things I thought were wrong but later turned out to just be my own ignorance.
  8. by   kitty=^..^=cat
    When I was a department manager and then a hospital DON, I was suspicious MANY times, but proof is often hard to get.

    A few years ago there was actually a situation in which an RN WAS shooting up in the bathroom, replacing the Demerol or Morphine or whatever with PHENERGAN and saline. The situation developed very gradually, and although there were numerous concerns about the nurse in question over a number of weeks to months. The Pharmacy Director and I spent the better part of two weeks reviewing EVERY chart of EVERY patient that had received injectable pain medications (waste of time -- she was putting the meds back into the drawer, and every nurse giving meds was potentially giving the Phenergan/saline replacement, so there weren't any "clusters" of problems around anyone in particular...)

    Unfortunately too many times, the "proof" is a passed out nurse with a needle in her arm (or ankle) found in a bathroom floor...
  9. by   Alpha13
    Unfortunately too many times, the "proof" is a passed out nurse with a needle in her arm (or ankle) found in a bathroom floor...
    whoa... anyone witness anything like that? Sounds like something you'd see in a meth lab.