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My coworker was high and got away with it

Nurses   (49,784 Views | 287 Replies)

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That's horrible. So pretty much everyone covers for each other when they are not in the right state of mind? Even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what about the day he isn't? Then what?

Don't come to work high on any substance period! Then you won't have to worry about losing your job/career.

Do that on your own time, not the patients time.

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Rocknurse is a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Critical Care and ED.

1,367 Posts; 27,622 Profile Views

That's horrible. So pretty much everyone covers for each other when they are not in the right state of mind? Even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what about the day he isn't? Then what?

Don't come to work high on any substance period! Then you won't have to worry about losing your job/career.

Do that on your own time, not the patients time.

What if you're wrong? You could open up a whole world of hurt for someone who hadn't done anything. If there are genuine concerns then it would be prudent to mention something wasn't right to your manager and let them make the decision. If you start saying unfounded things about someone that aren't true it turns into a very bad situation for both you and the person you suspect. If you see someone steal or use drugs that's a different story. But speculation is very quickly turned into a major event that could cost someone everything they own.

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CelticGoddess has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Palliative, Onc, Med-Surg, Home Hospice.

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That's horrible. So pretty much everyone covers for each other when they are not in the right state of mind? Even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what about the day he isn't? Then what?

Don't come to work high on any substance period! Then you won't have to worry about losing your job/career.

Do that on your own time, not the patients time.

There was NO evidence that Jon was high. NONE! If he does appear at work impaired, it should be reported and if he is, they should have him leave. Unfounded accusations of drug use can and do cause careers and lives to be shattered.

It's very naive to think that you don't have to worry if you don't work impaired. I worked with a woman who was accused of diverting and it caused her a lot of heart ache. She was innocent of all charges. But I guess she really din't have to worry, did she? She wasn't impaired.

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

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WOW! I cannot believe how all of you are responding to this. I'm not even in nursing school yet and I believe she did the right thing. I would think that as a nurse, patient care and safety is the number one priority. If I had suspicion that someone on my shift was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you better believe I will say something. They may be able to handle it one day but what about that one day they don't and something horrible happens? They give the wrong medication to a patient or the wrong dose, what if the patient dies under their watch? I for sure don't want to say to myself at that point, "I should have said something"

If management did not want to pursue an investigation on "jon" at that time, then anything that happens from that point would be on them. Not me, I did my part. I would not continue to try and find out more on his "extracurricular activities" and just go about my shift.

I get that whatever you do outside of work is your business but lets NOT bring it to

work too.

Sorry I couldn't read anything past the "I'm not even in nursing school yet" :sarcastic::sarcastic:

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

5,259 Posts; 31,275 Profile Views

That's horrible. So pretty much everyone covers for each other when they are not in the right state of mind? Even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what about the day he isn't? Then what?

Don't come to work high on any substance period! Then you won't have to worry about losing your job/career.

Do that on your own time, not the patients time.

There was nothing posted that Jon wasn't in his right state of mine. Your whole "even though Jon seemed fine that day, what if one day he isn't." So much wrong to that. You don't go accuse people of being impaired at work and risk them losing their hard earned license because of a "What if someday" You report if something actually happens. If he is actually impaired. Not "what if".

Do me a favor, do your pre reqs, get into nursing school, actually start school and get through nursing school, pass your boards, land your first job, get through being a new grad. Work hard for your license, and than come talk to me about accusations and and reporting off of a "What if" when NO signs of impairment happened.

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78 Posts; 1,079 Profile Views

There was nothing posted that Jon wasn't in his right state of mine. Your whole "even though Jon seemed fine that day, what if one day he isn't." So much wrong to that. You don't go accuse people of being impaired at work and risk them losing their hard earned license because of a "What if someday" You report if something actually happens. If he is actually impaired. Not "what if".

Do me a favor, do your pre reqs, get into nursing school, actually start school and get through nursing school, pass your boards, land your first job, get through being a new grad. Work hard for your license, and than come talk to me about accusations and and reporting off of a "What if" when NO signs of impairment happened.

I was replying to a nurse who made it seem like when something like this happens, They just cover it up among themselves "...., you do NOT make accusations like this...not unless they're falling down drunk and slurring their words. And even then you may say something like "I don't think Jon is feeling very well. Can we get some help?". You don't have to bring up drugs or alcohol at all...that's your manager's call. You will learn once you're a nurse how tightly knit the nursing community is in a particular area."

I never said that he was in fact HIGH. I said even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what happens when he isn't. Or anyone else for that matter.

I love the nursing career and what we can do to help someone. Let's hope that none of us have to ever experience a situation like that.

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pixierose is a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro-ICU, psych.

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That's horrible. So pretty much everyone covers for each other when they are not in the right state of mind? Even though "Jon" seemed fine that day, what about the day he isn't? Then what?

Don't come to work high on any substance period! Then you won't have to worry about losing your job/career.

Do that on your own time, not the patients time.

Please refer back to Ixchel's post a few pages back to see what can happen to a damn fine nurse who is falsely accused.

I have a few choice words, but I'll leave it at that. I won't even mention that you're not a nurse, as many who have posted are also not nurses but have common sense and tremendous insight, something you lack.

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

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WOW! I cannot believe how all of you are responding to this. I'm not even in nursing school yet and I believe she did the right thing. I would think that as a nurse, patient care and safety is the number one priority. If I had suspicion that someone on my shift was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you better believe I will say something. They may be able to handle it one day but what about that one day they don't and something horrible happens? They give the wrong medication to a patient or the wrong dose, what if the patient dies under their watch? I for sure don't want to say to myself at that point, "I should have said something"

If management did not want to pursue an investigation on "jon" at that time, then anything that happens from that point would be on them. Not me, I did my part. I would not continue to try and find out more on his "extracurricular activities" and just go about my shift.

I get that whatever you do outside of work is your business but lets NOT bring it to

work too.

1. Patient care and patient safety is the number one priority, and part of being able to do that is having a working environment where the nursing staff communicates properly and can work as a team. If the staff discovers the OPs antics, they might be less inclined to help her out when she needs it and communicate with her openly. Not saying that's right, but that may very well happen. Then, as the OP starts to get isolated, her patients can ultimately suffer due to lack of teamwork and communication.

2. If you have the "suspicion" that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a shift, that's not enough. You need evidence to back up that suspicion. Behavior, bloodshot eyes, slurring words, swaying, are some of the many indications that something may be wrong with your coworker. With that being said, it's also important that you remember that you don't know for sure what could be causing it. What if they're experiencing a medical issue or emergency? What you really should be doing is privately disclose concerning behaviors/observations to the Charge without making the assumption that it's related to drugs or alcohol. Simply present the facts as you observed them (ie, "I noticed that Mary was swaying and slurring her words when talking to her patient. I also noticed that her eyes seemed to be really red. I could've seen it wrong, she might be just fine and I'm misunderstanding what I'm seeing, but just in case I wanted to let you know because it was concerning me") to the Charge and they can investigate it further. That way, whether it's a medical issue or drugs or alcohol, you're not pinning accusations on them, just stating observations. Also remember that after talking to the Charge nurse, if you don't hear anything more about it that doesn't mean nothing is being done. It might just mean that it's being handled appropriately and with sensitivity. I completely disagree with this all out investigation the OP took part in.

3. I'm not sure what you mean by "they may be able to handle it one day but what about that one day they don't and something horrible happens" Either they have concerning behaviors to report, or they don't. Either they're unsafe that day, or they're not. It is completely unfair to say that an alert, aware, functioning, and safe individual should be scrutinized and possibly even accused of drug use. And it's even more absurd to make the accusation under the vague assumption that someday they may be unsafe, when they are safe at the moment. Deal with these things as the legitimate concerns arise. If Jon is safe, aware, and completely functioning today then you leave that poor man alone. If the day comes when he walks in and acts high, report your observations to the Charge immediately but discretely. No one is saying to keep quiet if a nurse is clearly high.

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78 Posts; 1,079 Profile Views

1. Patient care and patient safety is the number one priority, and part of being able to do that is having a working environment where the nursing staff communicates properly and can work as a team. If the staff discovers the OPs antics, they might be less inclined to help her out when she needs it and communicate with her openly. Not saying that's right, but that may very well happen. Then, as the OP starts to get isolated, her patients can ultimately suffer due to lack of teamwork and communication.

2. If you have the "suspicion" that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a shift, that's not enough. You need evidence to back up that suspicion. Behavior, bloodshot eyes, slurring words, swaying, are some of the many indications that something may be wrong with your coworker. With that being said, it's also important that you remember that you don't know for sure what could be causing it. What if they're experiencing a medical issue or emergency? What you really should be doing is privately disclose concerning behaviors/observations to the Charge without making the assumption that it's related to drugs or alcohol. Simply present the facts as you observed them (ie, "I noticed that Mary was swaying and slurring her words when talking to her patient. I also noticed that her eyes seemed to be really red. I could've seen it wrong, she might be just fine and I'm misunderstanding what I'm seeing, but just in case I wanted to let you know because it was concerning me") to the Charge and they can investigate it further. That way, whether it's a medical issue or drugs or alcohol, you're not pinning accusations on them, just stating observations. Also remember that after talking to the Charge nurse, if you don't hear anything more about it that doesn't mean nothing is being done. It might just mean that it's being handled appropriately and with sensitivity. I completely disagree with this all out investigation the OP took part in.

3. I'm not sure what you mean by "they may be able to handle it one day but what about that one day they don't and something horrible happens" Either they have concerning behaviors to report, or they don't. Either they're unsafe that day, or they're not. It is completely unfair to say that an alert, aware, functioning, and safe individual should be scrutinized and possibly even accused of drug use. And it's even more absurd to make the accusation under the vague assumption that someday they may be unsafe, when they are safe at the moment. Deal with these things as the legitimate concerns arise. If Jon is safe, aware, and completely functioning today then you leave that poor man alone. If the day comes when he walks in and acts high, report your observations to the Charge immediately but discretely. No one is saying to keep quiet if a nurse is clearly high.

Thank you for your reply. I agree with what you are saying. We should be able to bring up any concerns to the person in charge and let them decide what the next step is. I'm not going to do my own investigation, that's not my job. I'm just saying that if a co-worker doesn't seem like their usual self and it concerns you, then I don't see the problem with saying something.

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Rocknurse is a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Critical Care and ED.

1,367 Posts; 27,622 Profile Views

Thank you for your reply. I agree with what you are saying. We should be able to bring up any concerns to the person in charge and let them decide what the next step is. I'm not going to do my own investigation, that's not my job. I'm just saying that if a co-worker doesn't seem like their usual self and it concerns you, then I don't see the problem with saying something.

Something...yes perhaps. But no need to mention anything about alcohol, drugs or inebriation. That's not your call to make, and it could sound someone's death knell. It's a dark stain on someone's character that can never come out.

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78 Posts; 1,079 Profile Views

Something...yes perhaps. But no need to mention anything about alcohol, drugs or inebriation. That's not your call to make, and it could sound someone's death knell. It's a dark stain on someone's character that can never come out.

I understand that. I think the person who started this thread might have mentioned to the in-charge that it was drug related. Thanks for your reply.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

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WOW! I cannot believe how all of you are responding to this. I'm not even in nursing school yet and I believe she did the right thing. I would think that as a nurse, patient care and safety is the number one priority. If I had suspicion that someone on my shift was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you better believe I will say something. They may be able to handle it one day but what about that one day they don't and something horrible happens? They give the wrong medication to a patient or the wrong dose, what if the patient dies under their watch? I for sure don't want to say to myself at that point, "I should have said something"

If management did not want to pursue an investigation on "jon" at that time, then anything that happens from that point would be on them. Not me, I did my part. I would not continue to try and find out more on his "extracurricular activities" and just go about my shift.

I get that whatever you do outside of work is your business but lets NOT bring it to

work too.

You are not even a nurse yet so you can't possibly understand the nuances of this situation to even be qualified to reply accurately. Sorry, but you have no idea what patient care compromise is, and what it is not, yet.

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