Getting Clean To Be A Nurse

  1. Hello,

    I am currently licensed as a CNA in the state of Nebraska and have not been working as a CNA to explore other career options. My detour still lead me back to nursing and feeling as though it is my true calling. In my time away from CNA work I consumed cannabis recreationally... from what I've read even in states where recreational use is legal nurses are not allowed to partake as it is federally illegal and use would be reported to the BON. I read that some schools will test and some employers will go as far to require a hair test. To be on the safe side, my idea is to quit cold turkey (which I've done) and then to wait 90 days and also cut my hair to 1.5" in length I'll miss my hair but I'd do it for nursing. I just don't want to risk tarnishing my record or license in any way (at the time when I consumed cannabis I did not plan on going back to nursing). Since I can't start school for at least 90 days if I want to be on the safe side, I still would like to work in the meantime even if it's not CNA work but again I don't want to risk anything! If I take a job not in health care for full time work until I can start school and I failed the drug test (If they gave me one - which they probably wouldn't since I'm thinking of waiting tables) is there a chance that I could be reported to the BON?

    I could use the advice of nurses who have more knowledge / experience,
    Thank you!
    Last edit by cnatobsn17 on Nov 18
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   ProperlySeasoned
    Good idea to stop smoking, but I wouldn't worry too much about cutting your hair. I have never heard of a facility, or a school, doing hair testing. It simply is too expensive, and to a certain extent, schools don't really care that you smoked pot 6 months ago at a party. They want to do a urine test, have it come up negative, and clear you for clinical. They are not going on a fishing expedition, so to speak.
  4. by   twinsmom788
    Not really certain why you are so worried. Just stop all illegal drug use, smoking, etc. and please don't cut your hair. Just understand that if you want to go to school, or continue on a CNA path ( or any job in heath care) , it is your decision to stay clean and work in the field, or find another career path where testing is not a job requirement.
  5. by   NICUMurse87
    I've been urine tested once for starting nursing school, once for my PCT job during nursing school, and once for my nursing job after graduation. That's three urine tests and no hair tests. If my experience is anything to go by, you should be fine simply by stopping smoking.
  6. by   Ddestiny
    I have been a nurse for 5 years and can honestly only remember being drug tested once in that time, which was when I started my hospital job. I was a CNA for 3 years and was drug tested more often, but still less than the number of fingers on one hand (twice for pre-employment and once as a random). I was never drug tested prior to LPN or RN school. All of my tests were urine, no blood or hair. I know some places will also test if an accident occurs (i.e. in a nursing home a CNA accidentally burned a resident by spilling the hot soup she was placing on the table in front of her).

    You might as well start looking into schools now as there are prerequisites that have to be done prior to applying to an actual nursing program. IF a program is going to test (and big "if" honestly) it's going to be after the pre-reqs are completed. However, I'd wait to apply for CNA jobs in case you are tested, and just make sure to fully commit to the new, clean lifestyle. I don't personally find anything wrong with a little recreational pot use, anymore than someone drinking a couple beers with friends on the weekends, but for better or worse it is illegal and just so not worth the risk. And even if it's not illegal for your state, it is still federally illegal, and on top of that employers can (again, for better or worse) choose to not hire people that use even legal substances. Some hospitals won't hire people that smoke to tobacco and they'll test for it.

    Good luck with your new path!
  7. by   Julius Seizure
    Lets say you get a job waiting tables and they want to drug test you. How would they even know to report you to the board of nursing? You might lose the job but I can't imagine they would go through the effort of finding out if there were any licensing boards to report you to.
  8. by   shibaowner
    You do need to stop using all illicit substances if you want to become an RN, at least during nursing school. My nursing school tested us every year. Some employers will give random urine tests without notice. However, here in California, where pot is legal, some employers state they do not test for pot. So it will depend on your state and your employer.

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