If you suspect your nurse coworker of being a drinker, what do you do?

  1. 0 Let's say you can smell it on her breath
  2. Visit  nitesky83 profile page

    About nitesky83

    From 'Chicago'; Joined Nov '06; Posts: 18.

    25 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  SCRN1 profile page
    0
    I think the nurse manager should know about it. How safe can someone under the influence be with patients? JMHO.
  4. Visit  TheCommuter profile page
    0
    There are other reasons that could reasonably explain why someone would have 'alcoholic'-smelling breath. My mother, who absolutely doesn't drink alcohol, used to have that smell on her breath when she was first diagnosed with diabetes. It was the ketones that caused that ongoing smell.

    If you still suspect the coworker of being an alcoholic, I would confront him or her with your suspicions before alerting the nurse manager. Some coworkers will be grateful that you went to them first with your concerns and attempt to make a change. I once told a coworker that he had beer on his breath and he responded by saying, "Thanks, I won't do it again." I never smelled it on him again.
  5. Visit  Tweety profile page
    0
    Bump it up the chain of command.
  6. Visit  chuck1234 profile page
    0
    Quote from nitesky83
    Let's say you can smell it on her breath
    You must report it to the Nurse Manager!!!
  7. Visit  AfloydRN profile page
    0
    Our nurse manager was informed via the hospital hotline and pulled that RN off the floor and made her take a UDS and etoh level and was then offered rehab or termination. She chose rehab and still works for the same hospital.
  8. Visit  TazziRN profile page
    0
    If you confront the nurse and she just stops coming to work with alcoholic breath, it doesn't fix the problem. And if she chooses not to listen and you go to the NM, you won't be able to be anonymous. You need to go up the chain of command and bypass the nurse entirely. She needs help and this is the only way she'll get it. Been there.
  9. Visit  canoehead profile page
    0
    Any alcoholic can drink mouthwash, and that would solve the bad breath problem.
  10. Visit  KellNY profile page
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    I agree with TheCommuter--there could be another reason. I take something called "Rescue Remedy". I love the stuff-works great for me many times, but I end up smelling like I just downed a fifth of whiskey.
  11. Visit  Schatzi RN CEN profile page
    0
    I would speak to her and depending on her reaction would either follow up with a supervisor, or direct her (in this State) to the Nebraska Licensee Assistance Program. http://www.lapne.org This organization can help her if indeed she has a abuse problem. I would hope that most states have a program such as this that is there to help health care professionals that have problems with substance abuse.
  12. Visit  Gennaver profile page
    0
    Quote from TheCommuter
    There are other reasons that could reasonably explain why someone would have 'alcoholic'-smelling breath. My mother, who absolutely doesn't drink alcohol, used to have that smell on her breath when she was first diagnosed with diabetes. It was the ketones that caused that ongoing smell.

    ...
    Hello Commuter,
    Coincidentally I took a "national" standardizing test yesterday and you are nearly right, it is the acetones her body is blowing off that give that alcoholic smell.

    Reason I am so sure is that I chose "ketone" on my practice quiz and found out I was wrong, chose Acetone on the actual quiz and...tada!
    Gen
    p.s. to the op I would imagine that further close observations would be in order before reporting her to the nurse, and depending upon your relationship with this nurse, even outright asking her first if her "libations are still in her system and if she needs to report off right now or else risk her patients and her license?" In different words of course!
  13. Visit  Lacie profile page
    0
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hello Commuter,
    Coincidentally I took a "national" standardizing test yesterday and you are nearly right, it is the acetones her body is blowing off that give that alcoholic smell.

    Reason I am so sure is that I chose "ketone" on my practice quiz and found out I was wrong, chose Acetone on the actual quiz and...tada!
    Gen
    p.s. to the op I would imagine that further close observations would be in order before reporting her to the nurse, and depending upon your relationship with this nurse, even outright asking her first if her "libations are still in her system and if she needs to report off right now or else risk her patients and her license?" In different words of course!
    Ditto Ditto Ditto!!
    You may very well be misjudging and by immediately reporting without the facts result in this nurse losing her livelyhood. Believe me the system doesnt work for the nurse but the protection of the public. She can have a negative screen and deny drinking and it can still come back to bite her. If you are wrong would you want this on your mind? I sure wouldnt. Monitor and be sure of your accusations first. Smelling something and actually being "impaired" are 2 very different things. If you definitely see signs of impairment then yes say something if not then I would keep my mouth shut.
  14. Visit  RN34TX profile page
    0
    Quote from Lacie
    Ditto Ditto Ditto!!
    You may very well be misjudging and by immediately reporting without the facts result in this nurse losing her livelyhood. Believe me the system doesnt work for the nurse but the protection of the public. She can have a negative screen and deny drinking and it can still come back to bite her. If you are wrong would you want this on your mind? I sure wouldnt. Monitor and be sure of your accusations first. Smelling something and actually being "impaired" are 2 very different things. If you definitely see signs of impairment then yes say something if not then I would keep my mouth shut.
    I started a thread on this very subject a while back because I was so distraught when my partner got accused of drinking on the job.

    Some of the feedback I got suggested I get a lawyer and some suggested that I might be in deep denial living with an alcoholic.
    It took a big toll on our relationship for a few months because I had to be sure that the accusations weren't true. We stopped going to any bars and had no alcohol in our home for a period of time. I spent constant hours looking for possible hiding spots for my partners "stashes" of liquor (closets, toilet tank, garage, etc.) and came up with nothing. I took him to the doctor looking for possible causes, nothing.

    It was all a big vindictive hoax.

    In a nutshell, by the time it was all said and done I couldn't believe that I actually bought into it myself and finally put a stop to it by confronting his manager myself the last time she was going around asking his co-workers about him smelling like alcohol at work.
    As much as I wanted to lose my cool, I remained professional and let her know that if she really did think that he had an alcohol problem, that this was not the way to handle it and to test him the next time he smells like booze. Her accusations with no merit or proof were turning our professional and personal lives upside down and it needs to stop immediately.

    She reported the "confrontation" to my director who threatened disciplinary action against me for among other things, "harassing" her. I've been a nurse for 10 years and had never been written up for anything let alone harassment so this would be a first.

    I'd finally had enough so I got a lawyer.
    I never heard another word from my director or manager (no write-up as threatened) about the issue and my partner has not heard another word about it either. His manager now stays clear of me and the alcohol nonsense had finally stopped.

    Now I'm in no way suggesting to others that confronting my partner's manager directly was the right way to do it even though it worked out in the end, but I definitely wouldn't have let it drag on as long as it did before doing something about it and I'll never let catty vindictive nurses intrude into our personal lives ever again.


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