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My coworker was high and got away with it

Nurses   (49,781 Views | 287 Replies)

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"Partying" doesn't mean someone is incapable of providing care, and people joke about still being drunk/high the morning after a night out all the time. Doesn't mean they actually are. Also, the "high" from marijuana doesn't last that long. The Snapchat you saw was probably just a joke.

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HermioneG has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency Nursing.

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"Partying" doesn't mean someone is incapable of providing care, and people joke about still being drunk/high the morning after a night out all the time. Doesn't mean they actually are. Also, the "high" from marijuana doesn't last that long. The Snapchat you saw was probably just a joke.

I agree that partying doesn't mean that someone is incapable of providing care. I also agree that people tend to joke about still being drunk or high the next morning. I just wanted to add to what you said about the high from marijuana, and offer some extra information to clarify about the effects of edibles vs inhaled THC.

Excluding factors such as prescription medications, hydration level, how much food there is in the stomach, frequency of use, personal tolerance, etc... Typically, a high from smoking can last between 4-6 hours. In contrast, a high from edibles can last up to a day, if not more. Granted, this is not the same for everyone.

This is because when THC (or delta-9-THC) is inhaled it simply enters into the bloodstream via the blood vessels in the lungs, and crosses the blood brain barrier. It's fairly standard and can wear off in 4-6 hours.

In contrast, when ingested, the delta-9-THC is metabolized and breaks down to 11-hydroxy-THC which is a significantly more potent and powerful psychotropic form of the drug. It gives stronger highs, and can even produce hallucinations. Also, unlike the delta-9 version, 11-hydroxy-THC can stay in the body for up to an entire day. This, of course, can depend on many things, an important one being dosages. The standard single starting dose is 10 mg THC, with the recommended starting dosage range between 10-25 mg for beginners. When people buy or make edibles, however, it can be very difficult to standardize the dosages and that's why you get people who talk about being incredibly high for up to several days after ingesting edibles.

This is important because, hypothetically speaking, if someone was to smoke and their friend that they were partying with ingested edibles the night before a shift and then they both showed up to work the next morning, the one that ingested edibles is a much higher risk for coming in impaired.

But I agree that speculation aside, it comes down to how the coworker is acting in the morning. The OP said that the coworker seemed to be fine, was providing safe care, and was on top of his game. Therefore, the OP should let it go.

Also, disclaimer, I know these things because I really want to be an ER nurse and want to have a better understanding of recreational drug processes. Therefore I study it. I had a patient come in high on Meth one day and I discovered that I didn't know a single thing about the drug or what he was going through. I wanted to be able to understand different drugs, drug dosages, and what the type/duration of the high for common drugs is so I can understand patient needs and behaviors better!

-HermioneG

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I understand feeling like someone is impaired and not being able to do anything about it. It's worse when there is only "hearsay" evidence and really very little you can do. You feel angry and powerless and worry for the patients. The truth is all you CAN do is report it and watch for anything in the future.

We have a nurse who is a consistently poor performer, always on the cellphone, going missing on the floor, signing things that clearly were not done, ignoring patients in pain, staying late just to drain the clock, etc. This person also meets people from other departments in the parking lot, has a ton of documentation holes, doesn't chart PRNs, and has been found with a pill in the pocket.

I would bet my job that there are drugs missing, and all the signs are there. But all I can do is give it to the higher ups and let it be, because suspicion is only worth reporting, not worth causing someone to lose their job.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

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I am responding to the OP only, without reading any comments first.

OP, last year I developed persistent insomnia that at its peak, ended in me going into a psychosis at the end of a shift, complete with hallucinations. Instead of taking seriously the report I'd made to my manager on two prior shifts stating that I'd been dealing with sleeplessness (and me calling out in between those two shifts), the man assumed I was actually high. I received no medical attention whatsoever. Instead, I received a drug test. My manager received the results before I did, and I was fired before proof of one controlled medication validly prescribed was requested.

That is just the BEGINNING of how my life was ruined by a person assuming I was on drugs. That was more than a year ago, and I am still knee deep in the massive pile of crap that dealt me. All they had to do was get me a doctor.

You do NOTHING. Absolutely not one damn thing.

Wow-----so sorry....so sorry.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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Leave it alone, OP. You were the one who experienced this, not us. You know whether your concerns were well-placed and you know if your intentions were good. You were probably right, even if the way the charge nurse handled it was terrible. I believe you still did the right thing.

The way the OP handled this was terrible. If you absolutely feel you MUST "report" someone based on the sketchy "evidence" provided, report them. But do not involve yourself in "investigating". That was just plain wrong. I'm wondering on which planet folks originate who think that the ensuing witch hunt was "the right thing."

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337 Posts; 4,022 Profile Views

IMHO, If you were concerned, you should have approached the person in question privately FIRST and asked. It is very possible he was joking around or being sarcastic, or you took his comment out of context. why were you snooping on his phone in the first place. I don't see how someone can accidentally see and read someone's text messages on a 4-5 inch screen in passing without intentionally looking and violating their privacy.

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3 Followers; 4,610 Posts; 35,987 Profile Views

@ Kooky Korky, 4/20 has become an informal sort of 'holiday' for pot smokers. The idea is they all light up on 4/20 (more so than usual.) Edibles are food laced with marijuana AKA Alice B. Toklas brownies.

In California the pot smokers were really excited this year given it was legalized November 2016...well, excited for pot smokers, they were not getting off the couch to have smoke-outs that I'm aware of.

Thanks for the info. It just occurred to me that 4/20 might be Hitler's BD. Is it? Is there any relevance to that?

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ThePrincessBride has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

1 Article; 2,325 Posts; 56,391 Profile Views

Karma's a witch, OP. Trying to screw with someone's living like you just did is messed up and it will come around to get you.

I work with someone like you. Many people dislike her and for good reason.

You better have your crap down pat because don't be surprised if you are his target...and you deserve it.

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186 Posts; 2,482 Profile Views

I can't believe that you were snooping on someone else's phone. What on earth were you thinking? Do you not realize that invading someone's privacy like this is immoral and possibly illegal?

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1,403 Posts; 13,684 Profile Views

Thanks for the info. It just occurred to me that 4/20 might be Hitler's BD. Is it? Is there any relevance to that?

Probably not but I was curious too so I found this:

42

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507 Posts; 5,251 Profile Views

I can relate being a bit flighty at times, that and too much coffee! When I became clean and sober in 1989 I lived in a very small town and my reputation had no place to go but up. There were a lot of people who thought I was headed toward jails, institutions or death and were really impressed that I turned my life around, I did not mind if others knew I was in AA; it was a vast improvement over the people I ran with. I was 7 years clean & sober by the time, still on a bit of a pink cloud, still brimming with pride over acing college, happy marriage, beautiful baby. I was not judged in town, in my naivete' I was not aware how harsh medical professionals were, I did not announce it but I did not conceal my past, either. Wow, I was wrong to ever disclose that to any healthcare provider and advise nurses never to open up on this topic. With exception of @ 2-3 RNs I was judged quite harshly, other RNs freely share about how much the hate addicts and what a lowly species they consider them. Being falsely accused is just one of many reasons not to disclose. The recent thread on 'Jake, the drug seeker' only served to remind me not much has changed.

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186 Posts; 2,482 Profile Views

Don't listen to these people!! You did the right thing!! If you see something, even unintentionally and personal, and it could affect patient care, you need to pursue it. YOU DID THE RIGHT THING.

You saw the edibles on his snapchat for goodness' sake. For all you elderly know-it-alls: SNAPCHAT STORIES ARE PUBLIC, it's like Facebook or Instagram. That's not snooping. Also, you saw his reaction to the individual at the end of the shift. It's very likely he was high. If it were my family he was taking care of and I knew there was suspicious behavior, I would be thankful to you, and that's all that matters.

There's not much more you can do at this point. But I will say it again: you did the right thing.

Many of the "elderly know-it-all" are very bit as tech savvy as some of you young folks. Your reply is condescending and ageist. I've seen some of the younger nurses knock back 5 or 6 large energy drinks in a shift. Many hit a nightclub till 2am and th roll into work half asleep. There are many many ways to be unsafe at work.

Edited by Ellie G
Wrong words

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