Smoking by Nurses Can Create Workplace Issues that Must be ... - page 2

smoking by nurses can create workplace issues that must be ... medical news today - uk smoking by nurses can create workplace problems that must be addressed by health care systems to promote... Read More

  1. by   lapappey
    I didn't mean, of course, to suggest that the scenario I described was a good idea, just that it's not an unreasonable thing to do in the scheme of things. As far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't effect your work, so what? And yes, I certainly believe that smoking marijuana or doing whatever illegal drug, or drinking to excess (a gal in my Fundamentals class liked to go to clinicals with veisalgia [nice five dollar word there :chuckle] s/p a night of heavy drinking ... NOT GOOD ... she didn't last very long), effects your work, even if not done when on the clock. I think it's important to make the distinction between irresponsible, recreational use of substances which are going to cause problems for pt care, and things like smoking cigarettes or taking hydrocodone for pain s an Rx. Random testing doesn't do this. If people are alert to the warning signs of impairedness on the job, that's how problems are going to be dealt with best. JMO though.

    Quote from LPN1974
    We have random testing at my facility. My DON has stressed many times in inservices, to NOT take meds that aren't prescribed for us. She says we WILL be fired if we are tested and something shows up that we don't have an RX for.
    So yes, we do have to answer to our employer at my facility if we get caught at it.
    Personally, I'm clean, so I don't have to worry about it.
  2. by   Plagueis
    Quote from RN4NICU
    Dont be, because there are already hospitals that do this. They test for nicotine in the urine, right along with other drugs in the urine screening prior to hire. Nicotine in the urine is an automatic NO HIRE. What they do past that point, I don't know. I guess they just figure they will find people who lied to the "do you smoke?" question on the application because they do not tell people upfront that the drug screen tests for nicotine.
    How can they test a potential employee for a substance, and a legal one at that, without telling the applicant that they are testing for that substance? I can understand a hospital or nursing home not allowing smoking on job, but to prevent them from smoking on their own time? How does smoking at home impair an employee's ability to do their job? What's next, banning employees from drinking alcohol at home? I know smoking is horrible for people, but as long as it doesn't negatively affect a nurses' job ability, I don't think employers should use this as a litmus test for potential employees.
  3. by   stidget99
    Quote from brian
    smoking by nurses can create workplace issues that must be ...

    medical news today - uk
    smoking by nurses can create workplace problems that must be addressed by health care systems to promote better interactions between nurses and their patients ...
    without a doubt, smoking is bad for those of us who partake. however, in re: to us taking "smoke breaks"...this is not unreasonable. we are allowed a certain amount of time for breaks (for me...i am allotted a sum total of 75 mins of break time each shift...i spend ~10 minutes for each of 4-5 smoke breaks and rarely take a supper break). what we choose to do w/ our time is our business.....as long as our co-workers are not having to cover for us. i am more than happy to cover for my co-workers who take their breaks and expect the same in return. i think that those of us who smoke are more likely to be able to get through our shifts in a pleasant manner. not because we are smokers but simply because we make sure that we get off of the unit come hell or high water. how many of you have postponed a potty break for several hours, missed a meal break, or realized that 'wow, it's almost time to go home and i haven't had a break yet?' those nurses who don't take the time to get off of their unit are more likely to burn out. so yes, continue to harrass us for smoking, we expect it. however, don't tell us that we are wrong for making darn sure we get off of the unit to save our sanity!!!
  4. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from Tommybabe
    How can they test a potential employee for a substance, and a legal one at that, without telling the applicant that they are testing for that substance? I can understand a hospital or nursing home not allowing smoking on job, but to prevent them from smoking on their own time? How does smoking at home impair an employee's ability to do their job? What's next, banning employees from drinking alcohol at home? I know smoking is horrible for people, but as long as it doesn't negatively affect a nurses' job ability, I don't think employers should use this as a litmus test for potential employees.
    Their reasoning is that if you smoke at home, you are most likely not going to be able to go 12+ hours at work without a cigarette. Thus, it would affect job performance because of smoke breaks and people who do not take care to wear a jacket or cover of some kind and come back into the clinical area reeking of smoke. I don't agree with the policy or the sneakiness of it AT ALL, but I do agree with sparing patients and coworkers of an allergen as strong as cigarette smoke (or perfume - don't even get me started on the coworkers who insist on bathing in their perfume!)

    As far as the "informed consent" issue - you are free to ask what the drug screen contains, but 99.9% of applicants do not even think to ask if nicotine is one of the drugs screened for. Some may even think they will look like users if they ask about the contents of the panel. It is a sneaky loophole, but such is the way this particular facility did everything. SO glad I do not work there anymore!!
  5. by   MaleRN2B
    Kentucky state employees are charged a higher insurance premium if they smoke. I think it's something like $30 more per month! No one really knows what will happen if someone lied to save money then dies of a smoking-related illness. Does anyone really expect that to happen to them anyway?

    I was a heavy smoker until I quit 5 years ago so I understand that for most people it is a powerful addiction. My whole routine revolved around feeding my habit. I'm now extremely sensitive to the smoke and smell and would not like to have a nurse that smelled of smoke working on me while I'm sick, but I would tolerate it because I've been there. I have a friend that is heart and lung surgery nurse and she smokes. WOW!

    I'm somewhat uncomfortable with drug testing in general, but testing for a legal substance like nicotine is intrusive. If someone wants to enjoy glass of wine and a cigarette (or several packs) at home I say let's leave them alone. What's next, limiting calories in the lunch room? The employer or government has no obligation to protect an individual from himself or herself.

    I do wish everyone luck that trys to quit. It may take a try or two, but I can't tell you how good it feels on both a physcial and emotional level!
  6. by   LilPeanut
    How long is the half-life of nicotine? How long will it still show in your urine? Alcohol is metabolized after several hours, so if you are peeing for your job, you better not have any in your system.

    And I can totally understand why they do this. It is VERY difficult to get smoke smell out completely and the nurses are going to be working with people who are already ill and more sensitive to the side-effects of SHS. Unless you are taking a full shower after every cigarette, it is still clinging to you and has the potential to make patients feel even more ill than they already are.

    I have to do drug testing for my job. I have no issue with it, especially in medical professions where there is access to drugs that could seriously impair judgement. As for taking something that's not RX'd for you, just don't do it. Not that hard. The only medication I've ever "shared" with someone is an albuterol inhaler, which I had an RX for, just forgot to bring it with me one night. Otherwise, I've only taken drugs that have been RX'd for me or OTC drugs.
  7. by   lapappey
    Quote from LilPeanut
    And I can totally understand why they do this. It is VERY difficult to get smoke smell out completely and the nurses are going to be working with people who are already ill and more sensitive to the side-effects of SHS. Unless you are taking a full shower after every cigarette, it is still clinging to you and has the potential to make patients feel even more ill than they already are.
    We need to differentiate between SHS, which I presume means second-hand-smoke, and a lingering smell. I don't think any of us are pushing the med cart down the hall with an ashtray on it anymore. On cigarette break I'm across the street from my hospital, yes, it's a pain, yes, I do it when it rains, I guess that means I'm committed to my nicotine. And as far as the smell goes, I do my best to minimize it and people have really never commented on it to me. I'm sure once in a great while it will bother a pt, but all in all I think there are much bigger fish to fry when it comes to nurse conduct.

    Quote from LilPeanut
    I have to do drug testing for my job. I have no issue with it, especially in medical professions where there is access to drugs that could seriously impair judgement.
    Poppyseed bagels anyone? (No, it's not an urban legend, but, yes, I am being facetious.)

    But seriously ... impairment that is dangerous to patients tends to make itself pretty clear fairly, on the early side, to the astute observer. And that's what we need to be worried about.

    If I smoke a pack of Winstons and drink a six pack of Heineken after work, as long as I'll be in top form the next day, my choice. If I smoke a couple butts on break, hey, my choice. If I drink a Heineken on break ... well ... that's going to be a problem.

    It's all about drawing those lines .
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    If I smoke a pack of Winstons and drink a six pack of Heineken after work, as long as I'll be in top form the next day, my choice. If I smoke a couple butts on break, hey, my choice.
    If you still smell like either the next day, etc. then it's not just your problem.
  9. by   LilPeanut
    If you can smell the smoke, it has the potential to cause problems. When my kids were born early, it was stressed to us by the drs. and nurses that if anyone was going to hold them, they needed to have showered and have fresh clothing if they smoked at all because holding them against smokey clothing was like blowing smoke in their faces.

    And when I was travelling once, I was stuck in a smoking room in a hotel. Clearly no one was smoking while I was there, but the pillow and smoke clinging to the rest of the items in the room was enough to give me a terrible asthma attack and trigger the rest of my allergies. I couldn't see because my eyes were so swollen and watering the next morning.

    If I can smell the smoke, it could potentially hurt me. The same can hold true for a lot of patients.
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    And when I was travelling once, I was stuck in a smoking room in a hotel. Clearly no one was smoking while I was there, but the pillow and smoke clinging to the rest of the items in the room was enough to give me a terrible asthma attack and trigger the rest of my allergies. I couldn't see because my eyes were so swollen and watering the next morning.
    I had an ex that was affected by smoke like this. Even smelling it off of someone clothes can do this. And i'd never know which pt. might react that way to it, so all the more reason to avoid it.
  11. by   URO-RN
    I've worked with people who go smoke on their break and when they come back they spray themselves with a cheap spray in a futile attempt to rid themselves of the cig odor. :uhoh21:
  12. by   katbeau
    [Isn't that discrimination and restraint of trade???


    QUOTE=RN4NICU]Dont be, because there are already hospitals that do this. They test for nicotine in the urine, right along with other drugs in the urine screening prior to hire. Nicotine in the urine is an automatic NO HIRE. What they do past that point, I don't know. I guess they just figure they will find people who lied to the "do you smoke?" question on the application because they do not tell people upfront that the drug screen tests for nicotine.[/QUOTE]
  13. by   zenman
    If smoking was ok, firemen wouldn't wear masks.

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