nurse coming to work drunk - page 4

by nickola, RN | 15,082 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. 4
    I suspected a nurse was drunk. She'd had a history of issues. I reported her to the DON. We had a policy allowing random drug and or alcohol testing. Someone drove her to the ER for blood tests then drove her home. She was given the number for EAP but never called and quit her job the next day.Letting someone who is impaired stay at work is a serious matter.
    poppycat, GrnTea, tewdles, and 1 other like this.
  2. 1
    In my state, nurses are required to report to the board if any other nurse (1) abuses a patient, (2) practices nursing while impaired and (3) diverts controlled substances.

    That said, I have seen management turn a blind eye to nurses who were in questionable shape. I never worked a shift with anyone who I thought was drunk or under the influence of drugs but had a colleague who many people suspected had a substance abuse problem. Our manager pulled random staff members into the office to ask them if they thought this nurse was on drugs. When I heard that she was doing that, I was appalled with the way the situation was being handled... if, as a nurse manager, you have a suspicion that one of your staff is on drugs, it's your job to approach that staff member and ask them to submit to drug testing right then and there. As far as I know, nothing like this ever happened and no one actually tried to help this nurse. She was then fired (after close to 20 years on the same floor) several months later.

    In the OP's case, the Nurse Manager's actions were beyond inappropriate and the actions of both nurses (the nurse who was intoxicated and the Nurse Manager) are reportable.
    Hoozdo likes this.
  3. 1
    It needs to be reported to Risk-management and H.R; being protected by the NM has no relevance.
    psu_213 likes this.
  4. 1
    Wow. That's crazy that the nurse manager decided to start IV fluids on her and give her meds! All on her own! Totally a NO NO. She should be reported and everyone that was on that shift should get together and fill out the report. Stength in numbers. SHe should have sent her home and reprimanded her for not being responsible for her shift duty.
    poppycat likes this.
  5. 0
    Quote from MN-Nurse
    This was a Nurse Jackie episode.

    Any nurse manager who did this in real life is risking jail time.
    For a brief pd of time, I worked in a very small rural hospital. During the time I was there, this kind of thing went on - the charge nurse would start an IV on one of our nurses, and admin. IVF as well as antiemetics. She was the only ER nurse on nights, and the charge would put her in one of our 3 ER treatment rooms. This nurse would disconnect her IVF and take care of patient that came in thru the ER during her shift. She wan't seen by the ER doc - and we had NO standing orders for anything like that.

    Anne, RNC
  6. 0
    Report it to Risk Management Anonymously and then report it to the BON give the date and time of the incidents and the names and titles of the violators. No way would I put up with that, you are putting the hospital and patients at risk. I almost can't believe this is a true story its so bizarre...bizarre meaning so many nurses saw it and they are afraid more for their jobs then the lives of patients.
  7. 0
    Quote from nickola
    A group of us have gone to our Risk Manager, who wrote it up. If nothing is done, we will report this to the BON, as this is not the first incident w/this particular nurse. I have worked with other nurses who were suspected of coming in intoxicated, and only one was fired, another one was sent to rehab & allowed to come back.
    Nickola:

    I am glad this incident now has a paper trail. It will be harder (not impossible) to cover it up if/when the BON becomes involved.
  8. 0
    Quote from nickola
    No, we have no proof, although she did say she'd been out drinking all night & just came to work. (not sure that's good enough since her BFF is the manager)
    When you say started fluids and antiemetics, you are saying the NM used hospital resources to sober up the nurse?

    I ask because if that is the case, then you might be able to use that as evidence.

    Remember without evidence all you have are accusations. You don't want to be the one calling people out only to have no leg to stand on later.
  9. 2
    Quote from kalevra
    When you say started fluids and antiemetics, you are saying the NM used hospital resources to sober up the nurse?

    I ask because if that is the case, then you might be able to use that as evidence.

    Remember without evidence all you have are accusations. You don't want to be the one calling people out only to have no leg to stand on later.
    And I would think that would start with who got the antiemetics from where. Pharmacy usually keeps a good eye out for this stuff. Some places even count bags of fluid. Med rooms have cameras. So given a through investigation this stuff could be proved.
    To the OP--I would also speak with the BON in your state regarding your reponsibility as a licensed RN in reporting unsafe practice. Cover your own butt. The LAST thing you want is for this to come back and bite you. Because I am quite confident if the NM is going down, she will NOT want to go down alone.
    poppycat and kalevra like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from nickola
    No orders for meds, the NM just gave them, as well as fluids, no orders. The nurse acted drunk, she said it had been 2 hours since she'd had her last drink, if so, she must've been plastered b/c she did indeed appear impaired!
    I agree that it is a bad move by the NM to treat this other nurse. However, I'm still not willing to say that your co worker was drunk. In your first post she was "nauseous [sic] & pale." Next post she had been drinking all night and then came to work. Finally, a day later you said it had been 2 hours since she had her last drink. Now, I'm not saying you are making this up, but it seems strange that each time someone suggests that she was not drunk, you add evidence that she was indeed drunk.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top