moral obligations re: drug users in nursing school - page 2

Hi all! I have a major problem. There is a person in my nursing class that uses pot and meth. I was told this by my best friend (also in nursing school)who hangs out with this person and their... Read More

  1. by   ejm99
    True story...

    I was once falsely accused of being a drug user. I worked in a daycare setting and a friend of mine was also an employee...well she got ticked off at me about something stupid and told the director that I was doing drugs (yea, this girl herself is a wack job drama queen and makes the weirdest stuff up just for attention) anyway...I was confronted and was just FLOORED by the accusation.
    I mean I'm a little flaky...but not in a spacey druggie type way and it's all completely 100% in comes from who I am..not something I DO!
    When she said "I heard your doing drugs" I dang near peed my first reaction was like "are you outta your mind! I work w/ little kids everyday!"
    and before she could even ASK me...I handed her my purse and told her to go my purse, car..whatever...and I'd go take a drug test THAT minute to prove my innocence....
    well she kinda made a show about looking in my purse then said "what made XXX so made that she would say something like this about you?"....and then it all I filled her in on some of HER history....nothing false but wanted to be sure she was okay w/ a such a complete wack job working for her...
    I was cleared...she said a drug test wasn't necessary she believed me 100% but had to ask out of responsibility for the kids....heck yea...I agreed.
    and my "friend" got fired for lying on her job application....not something I told the director at all, in fact I didn't know.....but she just didn't want someone who would make up heinous lies about the other staff working there....

    So what I personally would do is drop a note under the door of her clinical instructor's office saying that you've heard some rumors that concern you regarding drug use and you felt she should know since it was HER license that could be called into question.
    I wouldn't sign my name....but that would definitely put the ball in her court as to what to do about it from that point on.
    At worst she'll be asked to take a drug test....if she passes great....if not she'll be out and patients will be safer. Having been accused...I personally couldn't WAIT to prove my if she is...she won't either!
  2. by   colleen10
    Hi Twintoo,

    I feel bad about your situation and wanted to offer my advice and what I would do based on my experiences. Sorry if I get on my "drinking and driving" soapbox but that is a big issue to me.

    I am currently in an evening/weekend nursing school program and work full time during the weekday in a small office of salesmen basically taking care of the office, etc. To say that the people in my office have a small alcohol problem would be the understatement of the year.

    I have seen my co-workers come in hung over, heard stories about their alcohol induced voyages during business trips and conferences and a few times some of them have even come back to the office after lunch wreaking of liquor.

    In fact, two of them even took out clients to dinner, then a bar, then a strip club where they stayed out til all hours of the night drinking and drinking and drinking........ wouldn't you know it one of them tried to drive home drunker than a skunk at 3:00AM and ran his "company" car off the road, was hauled into the pokey for DUI, eventually was found guilty lost his license for a time, etc. Luckily only the car was damaged, he didn't hurt himself and did not run into any other motorists.

    Now looking back on the situation there are a number of things I would do differently. I cannot imagine how guilty I would feel if that one co-worker did hit another person or family, killing, injuring or maiming them.

    Sure, I could rationalize to myself that maybe they weren't hung over a lot, maybe they were just sick, or even though they wreak of alchol after lunch time I wasn't there with them to say positively that they were drinking, who am I to accuse someone of being an alcholic if I didn't see them take a drink with my own two eyes.

    But the fact is if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a's a duck.

    I think you need to consider how trust worthy the source is (your best friend) and what you have observed regarding this classmates behavior, ie. do they exhibit any other behavior that is odd or would lead you to believe that they do drugs? I mean who just stands in a corner?

    If you truly believe that there is a possibility that this person is using drugs, and Meth use is NOTHING to take lightly, then I really feel you have no choice but to report it to your instructor, anonomously or not. Certainly, an innocent person would not like to be falsely accused of using drugs but if they are innocent a simple drug test will clear them.

    Your first duty as a nurse, and nursing student, is your patients. It is unethical to knowingly put your patients or any patient in harms way.

    If you don't feel you have enough evidence in your mind to think that this person has a drug problem, keep an eye on them until you are sure one way or the other. I would not advise going to this person directly either. If they are using drugs chances are likely that they will devise better means of covering up their habit, making it harder to prove that they have an addiction.

    It's not your duty to "save" this person, or act as prosecutor, juror and judge. All you have to do is report it to your instructor or dean and let them take care of compiling evidence and making a judgement. A simple annonomous note or letter explaining your feelings and observations should be enough to forwarn your instructor. There are number of things your instructor can do such as simply watching the behavior of this student, conducting random drug testing for your class, to going directly to the student for questioning. Let them figure out how best to handle this. If this student is not taking drugs then they have nothing to worry about because a urine test will show nothing.