Impaired Nursing

Nurses General Nursing


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814 Posts

I wouldn't mind a policy that requires 2 mandatory, random drug tests a year. We had two nurses caught taking patient meds. They are both gone but it seems that the nurses are suspicious of each other because of these incidents. We had a nurse who was tired and fell asleep on break last month. A comment was made about why he couldn't stay awake during a shift (made with raised eyebrows). I only saw evidence of a tired nurse and felt the implication was kind of paranoid. Random drug tests would perhaps ease the minds of nurses and patients about who we are working with and who is taking care of us when we get sick. I am sure some people may look at a set number of random drug tests as an invasion of their privacy or something they do not want to go through physically or emotionally. I respect that but for me it just seems like a good idea.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,819 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

If I suspected a nurse to be impaired, I personally would not confront him/her. It's a very serious issue. First of all I would feel morally and legally obligated to report him/her to the manager or supervisor on duty. It's their job to put into place any intervention, they've been trained for that and have policies in place for that.

I wouldn't necessary individually confront the person, because the problem is bigger than that. Patient safety is at risk.

Fortunately, I've never been in that situation, but have seen it in the facility I've worked in.


564 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

Oh yeah,

I've seen it. One case the person doing it had a history and when hired administration knew. We kept finding pills replced with others and all our injectable narcs were at different levels in the tubex's. We would show admin. they would replace the meds. We were all paranoid wondering who was doing it and hoping coworkers weren't suspecting us. This went on for a while. We all started suspecting the person that was doing . Admin. kept blowiung it off. I think pharmacy event. demaned something be done. She was fired and I don't know for sure but I think she lost her license.

Sad thing is she was very bright and capable. I'v thought of her occasionally and hope she is doing allright.



2,719 Posts

Yes, I worked with an impaird nurse on the floor. Alcohol was the drug of choice.

All you can do is report what you see.

She was eventually fired for excess absense. I guess it must be a sticky situation if you suspect but don't really have the goods on someone, for an employer to act? What does it take to do drug testing when you suspect?

Also too, at least in this state (NV) I think an employer has to offer rehab (first offense only) if found using. So, If it is the employer who must do this then I can understand. Rehab does not come cheaply.

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