nurse coming to work drunk - page 2

by nickola

13,684 Views | 44 Comments

Recently one of the nurses on our unit came in drunk. She looked like she'd slept in her clothes, had foul breath, and was nauseous & pale. The nurse manager is her friend, and she put her in a room at the end of the hall,... Read More


  1. 12
    If the NM thinks she is being her friend, she isn't. This will end badly.
    imintrouble, tewdles, al586, and 9 others like this.
  2. 10
    It's sketchy that the nurse manager would do that for her under the table.
  3. 10
    Both the NM and the nurse demonstrated incredibly BAD judgement. The RN should have been either sent home if ill and if it is suspected she was still drunk it should have been reported to HR immediately. The worst part of this is that the nurse practiced medicine without a license,was complicit with falsification of a timecard and allowing a nurse that was impaired and/or ill to take care of patients and yes she took did steal hospital property. If this is reported and it should be I suspect both nurses will lose their jobs. I would report this above the manager ,of course.
    What if something happened to the nurse in administration of the IV fluids..what was she going to do then..how would she explain that! Does she think she has so much power that the rest of the staff present would back her and not advocate for the safety of their patients. What if you needed that be for another patient. These are just some considerations because clearly this should not have happened! I do not understand why someone did not call the person above the manager at the time this happened..why did that not happen?
    imintrouble, timmedico, itsmejuli, and 7 others like this.
  4. 11
    FYI, "Drunk" or Acute ETOH Intoxication is a Medical Diagnosis here. Be careful with that because practicing medicine is frowned on as well. I always chart the symptoms I see in any impaired ER patient(strong alcohol/ETOH smell on breath, sluggish gate, impaired gait, slurred speech, acute urinary incontinence, nausea with emesis, etc.) Just a thought.

    Also, if you felt the patients were in ANY danger, it should have been reported that night- you are obligated to protect your patients. If the NM felt she needed medical attention, she should have sent her to ER or EMS, but the BON would definitely want to know why this wasn't reported timely to protect patients. Sounds like the failure to protect patients went much further than her, and throughout witnessing licensed staff. Just my thoughts.
    Hoozdo, DizzyLizzyNurse, timmedico, and 8 others like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from nursedanny614
    It's sketchy that the nurse manager would do that for her under the table.
    Oh, if you just knew, remember there are MANY small town hospitals in rural areas, and I have left a Tribal Hospital that was the scariest place I've ever been!
    AcadianOfMaineNP likes this.
  6. 13
    Quote from nickola
    Recently one of the nurses on our unit came in drunk. She looked like she'd slept in her clothes, had foul breath, and was nauseous & pale. The nurse manager is her friend, and she put her in a room at the end of the hall, started fluids on her & gave her antiemetics- all on the clock. 3 hours later she felt better & was allowed to work the rest of the 12 hour shift, but was essentially useless. The rest of us felt very uncomfortable with this situation, and we wanted to report it, however, this nurse has been protected by the NM for a long time, and others have complained in the past- all the way to the top, to no avail. There is no one we can go to, & we all fear retaliation from the NM. Is this reportable to the BON? What is your take on this?
    This was a Nurse Jackie episode.

    Any nurse manager who did this in real life is risking jail time.
    imintrouble, tewdles, relaxingbath, and 10 others like this.
  7. 1
    How did she get to work in the first place? Yikes!

    Why would the NM be risking jail time? Disciplinary action I can see, but jail time?
    AcadianOfMaineNP likes this.
  8. 1
    Tsk tsk! Very dangerous...compromising patient safety! I agree that the NM should also be reported,covering up for someone’s mistakes just because they’re friends is very unprofessional!
    poppycat likes this.
  9. 1
    There is more than likely an ethics "hotline" within your system, risk management--all these things can be done without having to give your name. There are lots of reasons that this was a poor choice in practice and judgement. Lots of "what if's" and at least it did not end up that this person seized, aspirated, or had some other complication--which THEN WHAT?!?!?! I would hate to think. If the nurse in question was ill, then sending to the ED would have been the better choice but that the person was admittedly drunk to sneak her off to a room down the hall and start practicing medicine on her is over the top. And if this comes to light some other way, (most likely when there's missing antiemetics and no accounting for them) you all could be in hot water due to you NOT reporting this.
    poppycat likes this.
  10. 9
    There are always several sides to every story. Regardless, the manager should have sent this person to the ED to be checked out and treated.

    I would make a report to your HR/risk management/corporate compliance people.....this is not a good situation ....but over all.....yes this is reportable to the BON.
    imintrouble, anggelRN, joanna73, and 6 others like this.


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