Showing up at work smelling of alcohol

  1. I work in a LTC facility where there is this one CNA that occasionally shows up to work smelling of alcohol. I haven't worked there long but I've been told that this happens with him frequently. Yesterday I had to take a few steps back from him because the smell was so strong. His eyes were so red and glassy. He claims that he was drinking the night before and is fine to be at work. The DON and the Administrator are aware of this problem but apparently choose to do nothing about it. To my knowledge he has not harmed any residents YET. Is there something that can be done about this or do we just sit back and hope that he doesn't end up hurting anyone?
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   2ndCareerRN
    I am concerned reading this post, if this person is showing up under the influence of alcohol or other substances then someone will get hurt.
    You need to talk with the DON and administrator again about this persons behavior. Tell them the next time he comes in like that you want to have a drug screen and blood alcohol level done on him. If he refuses it should be grounds for immediate dismissal. If they refuse I am sure you can go to your state agency that oversees LTC facilities and voice your concerns. They should be there in about 2 nanoseconds. The call to the agency can be made anonymously.
    The very last thing a LTC facility wants is undue scrutiny from a governmental agency.

    Allowing this person to care for the frail elderly is wrong, no two ways about it. The potential for injury to a resident is to strong to ignore this behavior.

    bob
  4. by   kids
    Originally posted by 2ndCareerRN
    I am concerned reading this post, if this person is showing up under the influence of alcohol or other substances then someone will get hurt.
    You need to talk with the DON and administrator again about this persons behavior. Tell them the next time he comes in like that you want to have a drug screen and blood alcohol level done on him. If he refuses it should be grounds for immediate dismissal. If they refuse I am sure you can go to your state agency that oversees LTC facilities and voice your concerns. They should be there in about 2 nanoseconds. The call to the agency can be made anonymously.
    The very last thing a LTC facility wants is undue scrutiny from a governmental agency.

    Allowing this person to care for the frail elderly is wrong, no two ways about it. The potential for injury to a resident is to strong to ignore this behavior.

    bob
    DITTO
  5. by   ageless
    Uncontrolled diabetes makes a person smell of alcohol to me. Find out if this is not the case, before further disciplinary action is taken
  6. by   Sleepyeyes
    Had the same situation ....
    he was drunk, all right.
  7. by   dawngloves
    I can't believe administration is turning a blind eye to this! What are they waiting for?!
    I was in the same situation once and when this person came to work reeking of ETOH I called the supervisor. That supervisor said she didn't smell anything! The next night the same thing happened again, but a different supervisor was on. This one sent them to get a tox screen.It was positive for I don't know for surewhat, but that person was terminated.
  8. by   nakitamoon
    Have dealt with this problem first hand,,,,,, had cna at work at 3p,,,,,, administrator on floor ,,,,,,,, spoke with him,,,,,, no problem except short of staff and he and I were only staff on hall with 22 residents,,,,,,,, Dinner time came and after med pass I began to help feed residents,,,,,, when i came out of room found patients,,,,in bed uncovered ,,,,,, undressed,,,,,,, one oriented woman told me cna was drunk,,,,,, couldn't find him,,,,,,,, finally showed back up on floor 15 min,,,, later,,,,,, sooooo drunk he could stand straight,,,,,,, I confronted him ,,,,,,, he denied it,,,,,, place phone calls ,,,,,,, got staff to cover rest of shift,,,,,, called administrator and told cna to leave,,,,,,, welllll,,,,,,,, ya know a drunk,,,,,"Not leaving my patients,,,,,, will help the cna coming in,,,," When administrator arrived,,,,,,, cna still resisting leaving,,,, had to be threatened by calling police,,,,,,,, Needless to say,,,,,,,, he lost his job and we reported to state,,,,,,,
    After he left found 3 skin tears,,,,,,, geesh,,,,,,, Very stressfull situation to go through,,,,,,,, Charge nurse,,,,,,, new to job only 3 months and dealling with alcoholic,,,cna,,,,, NEVER will go there again,,,,,,,,,, had bottle hiden in his locker,,,,,,, Worst few hours I've had at work,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Then call to wonder why he lost his job??????????????? omg,,,,,,,
  9. by   pebbles
    Go to the State Board of NUrsing about the individual person.

    This person should not be practising. There are procedures with most boards for nurses to get their licenses back if the nurse goes into a treatemnt program.

    *Also* report to the agency that oversees LTC faclities in your state - your facility has been grossly negligent and endangered patients by turning a blind eye to the problem - and they should be forced to follow better standards.
  10. by   OrthoNutter
    When I was in my graduate year, I worked with a nurse in ICU who frequently turned up to work, not just drunk, but also high on pot and ecstasy. We reported her to management time and time again. They did nothing because they claimed there was insufficient proof that she was a habitual user, even after a positive tox screen came back on three separate occasions.

    I followed her after she did night shift and she'd been looking after a dementia patient who'd been brought in with hyponatremia and hypokalemia. She couldn't understand why her numbers weren't coming up, despite multiple flasks of IV fluids w/KCl. If anything, her numbers were dropping and she was starting to have runs of VT. When I was doing my bed check, I noticed that there was a lot of fluid in the floor and this nurse said the patient was constantly peeing all over the place and she wasn't going to clean her up one more time that shift. That to me was odd because the lady had a catheter and it seemed to be draining a reasonable amount of urine, although concentrated.

    When I turned the pt over to wash her up with another nurse, I found her IV line was not connected to her. The bed was absolutely saturated and there was no way it was pee. Now, I would be prepared to believe that the pt pulled her IVC out but the bung was in and very securely. Plus, the IV line never had its safety cap removed. When I raised this with the nurse, she said the pt must have taken off the IV line and replaced the safety cap. PUHLEEEZZE!!!

    I reported this to the unit manager pronto but again, they did nothing. They said that no one was hurt because of this girl's actions because the mistake was caught in time and that they were encouraging her to seek counselling for her problem. I asked whether the nursing board was going to suspend her while they investigated and they said that they hadn't even contacted the board about it. I phoned them in my lunch break and that nurse had her licence suspended indefinitely. I'm sure she knew who it was that tipped them off but I didn't care. She was a liability and I was sick of management covering for her. She got what she deserved. As far as I know, she still doesn't have a licence.
  11. by   fab4fan
    Be very careful...a wrongful allegation could put you in a precarious position legally, esp. since admin. is not backing you up.

    You have to be an advocate for your pts., too, but make sure you have your "ducks in a row," so to speak.
  12. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Hate to bring this up when we're having such a wonderful time planning the lynching party, but I think that you should also see to it that they get an offer for help.
    Although I would have never thought it was ok to drink at work, at my lowest point I would have thought 4-5 hours was plenty.

    Someone offered me help and here I am, sober for eleven years. That's not always going to happen when you offer to help, but if it happens once isn't it worth doing as many times as it takes?

    They need to be terminated, but pehapse that will be the catalyst for something greater than only saving the patients in your immediate vicinity.
  13. by   duckie
    A few years back I had to intercede one of CNA's to prevent him getting onto the unit. I had worked with this young man from many years at our current employment and also at the previoous one. I cared very deeply for him and his wife. BUT, I am there to do a job and unleasing a drunk on innocent residents goes against my ethics. As soon as I encountered him, I contacted the person that carried the most clout, told him what was going on and then delayed the employee from leaving the area till he arrived. This young man had previously had a near fatal wreck, caused by his drinking. I spoke with him frequently and told him to clean up his act. Until that point he had never come in drunk. I looked at him and told him I loved him but I would not cover for him and allow him to harm someone innocent. He was escorted home and termined. This hurt me after a nearly 9 year relationship with him but I would not hesitate to do it again. Lives are at stake and we are there to protect those that cannot protect themselves. I made no excuses to him for what I had done and why.
  14. by   srtrn
    Originally posted by fab4fan
    Be very careful...a wrongful allegation could put you in a precarious position legally, esp. since admin. is not backing you up.

    You have to be an advocate for your pts., too, but make sure you have your "ducks in a row," so to speak.

    There would be no wrongful allegations in this situation because he admits to having been drinking the night before each time someone approaches him about it. But I'm sure his "night before" ended only shortly before coming to work.

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