Jump to content

Drug testing in the work force

Posted

Nurse friends I have a question for all of you, and would appreciate your input.

How important do you think drug testing is in the work place?...and how often should random drug tests be given?

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Is this a homework question? If so, what are YOUR thoughts?

If not, can you give us a little context and background?

duskyjewel

Specializes in hospice.

Pre-nursing student and this is her only post....it's homework.

I hope your screenname isn't your real name.

Rebecca, why don't you tell us what you think first, and we can chime in :)

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Are we going to get paid for testing these new drugs?

chevyv, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gero Psych, Ortho Rebab, LTC, Psych. Has 20 years experience.

It's important in any field. They should randomly test anyone as often as they feel like it. Kind of don't have much of a choice if your employer wants it and you want to get/keep your job.

Muser69

Specializes in Critical care. Has 42 years experience.

No one....unless there is just cause.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I've always had issues with the constitutionality of drug testing. For one thing, what employees do on their time off shouldn't be any of the employer's business---if they want to smoke a little MJ on their days off (in states where it's legal, or if they have a MM card), or take Klonopin for anxiety, why shouldn't they? And in the latter case, why should they have to disclose a mental-health diagnosis in order to prove the need for the medication?

That being said, I think UDS is valuable sometimes, like when there is a question of possible diversion. Even then, it's not foolproof, because the guilty party may not be taking the drugs her/himself but selling them. However, drug testing is here to stay, and with increasingly stringent regulation of scheduled drugs, it's probably only going to get more and more invasive.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

For one thing, what employees do on their time off shouldn't be any of the employer's business---if they want to smoke a little MJ on their days off (in states where it's legal, or if they have a MM card), or take Klonopin for anxiety, why shouldn't they?

There is no problem with screening and legally prescribed medication. I have many patients that are health care workers who I prescribe controlled substances. They have no problems with their employment and their legally prescribed drugs.

Those that take drugs recreationally then there is a legal problem there. And a potential impairment problem.

Muser69

Specializes in Critical care. Has 42 years experience.

I honestly can't remember when they did start drug testing. I do remember in the 1980's the agencies would have you sign a paper stating that they would not drug test you. I personally have never been tested in 42 years. Do they really have the entire staff take drug tests when diversion is suspected ? Don't they need a warrant?

duskyjewel

Specializes in hospice.

No. They are not law enforcement or government doing a search. You can refuse, and your employer can fire you for refusing. That's why most people comply, to keep their jobs.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

I have no objection to drug testing. Then again, I'm not doing anything that I shouldn't be. And you will find that usually (but NOT always) the ones that scream the loudest about drug testing in the workplace are the ones that are often doing things that they shouldn't be.

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

I have had to take a urine drug screen prior to employment for every hospital job I have had. However, only once in 25 years have I had to give a random urine drug screen. After 8 years with that same hospital, my number just came up, in a random draw. They have their place, like if an employee falls or hurts themselves while "on the job," or a sentinel event, or some certain incident reports may require them. That just protects the employer and the patient. If you have a legitimate prescription, nothing illegal, and aren't impaired, then what's the problem.

I think drug testing is necessary, pre employment, upon injury and random. However I find it troubling that we're so lax with people who are prescribed narcotics like its fine for them to take opiates and work. Not talking about people who have a procedure done and need some relief until they heal, but chronic pain patients who use pain meds on the job. Why aren't they considered impaired?

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

Because they aren't abusing the medication.

Because they aren't abusing the medication.

But the medication still causes impairment to some degree.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

But the medication still causes impairment to some degree.

The research on this isn't as clear on that topic; there are a number of conflicting studies. There is lots to read and you can make you own decision.

Really if the scripts are legal it becomes an issue of job performance and safety. The same is true for other professions; each facility would need to address that. Provided the nurse (or bus driver, etc) is practicing safely then it is difficult to determine if they are "impaired". And then there is a debate if person A slightly "impaired" may still be safer than person B not impaired....