Failed breathalyzer

  1. Does anyone know if failing a breathalyzer at work is a reportable offense to the BON? I am going to be terminated next week cuz of a stupid mistake I made. Started a new unit and had a few daytime classes to attend blah blah blah.

    I'm a night-shifter and went to am class sill smelling of alcohol. Failed the breathalyzer miserably. I blew a .05 prob 10 hours after my last drink...

    I haven't been officially fired but will prob happen on Tues. I wasn't taking care of patients or giving meds and I have a spotless record of 4 years of my nursing career. Wondering if quitting would be better than termination? And, more importantly is my license in jeopardy?

    Any words of wisdom greatly appreciated.
    Last edit by Joe V on May 28
  2. Visit remorse profile page

    About remorse

    Joined: May '18; Posts: 6; Likes: 12
    from NC , US

    32 Comments

  3. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    I can't speak to the status of your employment, but yes, blowing positive on a breathalyzer is reportable to the BON.

    Whether your job will report you depends on if reporting is mandatory in your state. If it is mandatory, then they have no choice and will report you. If it is not mandatory, then it is basically up to their discretion. They certainly have the right and ability to report you in that case, but I guess there could be circumstances where they may not...

    Either way, I would be prepared to be reported. This forum is a great place to come to for support as you navigate this process.

    Best wishes.
  4. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Yeah its reportable for sure. You may have some defense though. I really don't want to give false hope but I'm not sure a 0.05 is high enough to be considered legally impaired. That along with the fact that you were reporting for a class may offer some meager defense so I'd at least talk to an attorney who is versed in dealing with the BON in your state. Heck here nurses go to classes and seminars where alcohol is served when patients aren't involved. Its worth a shot anyway. However, I'll say this any excuse these folks have to stick you in one of these programs is good enough & you will probably get stuck in one of these miserable programs. I hope not. Good luck.
  5. by   Uncle-JoJo
    Whether you quit or get fired is irrelevant. They can report you regardless. Get a lawyers advice as to how you should proceed and don't make any anxious decisions, like quiting, until you've acquired sound legal advice.

    When I was in my interview where they tried to drill questions from me I told them "I can't answer questions like that until I've consulted my lawyer." They left it alone and moved on. It's a completely acceptable answer. Going forward, any questions that come your way will most likely be just to build their reportable case against you. Unless you're sitting in front of the judge, don't answer anything.
  6. by   remorse
    my new manager wants to keep me and give me a chance. but HR thinks otherwise. he "unofficially" called me to give heads up so i wouldnt have to wait weekend for final outcome and try to figure out some sort of plan
  7. by   remorse
    so failed breathalyzer isnt mandatory reportable offence like a failed drug screen? I have accepted fact that i am going to lose my job. Trying to figure out what will be on my record for potential jobs.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    You must have given some reason for them to breathalyze you- despite blowing under the legal limit.
  9. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    Quote from remorse
    so failed breathalyzer isnt mandatory reportable offence like a failed drug screen? I have accepted fact that i am going to lose my job. Trying to figure out what will be on my record for potential jobs.
    It falls under the umbrella of "impaired", so it is just as reportable as a failed drug screen.

    My hospital has an official policy on the subject, as a matter of fact. My hospital states that if you are requested to perform a breathalyzer while at at work, in any capacity, they will terminate you and report you to your regulatory body for any value greater than 0.02. Do you have access to look up your facility's policy on substance abuse and reporting? Many places have one.

    Ultimately, HR has the final word in these cases most often. They are ultimately responsible for the CYA of the facility. Did your new boss mention anything about reporting to the BON? Or did they just discuss the possibility of termination?
  10. by   remorse
    HR's decision is termination. There isnt a clear rule in policies and procedures at my hospital. A positive drug or alcohol test means final corrective action or termination but doesnt specify any specifics as to decision or clear rule. My manager called me cuz he has to do something he doesnt agree with and didnt want me go all weekend without any answers. He wasnt sure if HR would report me and suggested quitting as a possible option if that would keep my license intact. I figure they will report me regardless if thats the policy, problem is I can't' find policy and the policy I have found says I dont have to be terminated. I know I messed up. I accept that. I'm not being given a chance and thats what really upsets me.
  11. by   remorse
    i smelled like alcohol. and considering what i blew im sure i reeked. so mad at myself!!
  12. by   Medic_Murse
    Yeah, if what you say is true, "sill smelling of alcohol." And blew a 0.05, chances are, you didn't blow a 0.05. I smell something, but it isn't alcohol.
  13. by   aprilmoss
    I think you should obtain professional help with your substance abuse problem. Your post reeks of an attempt to explain away a serious consequence of drinking. Am I to understand that you were caught at .05 AFTER you did your shift and were heading to class. This means you were almost certainly intoxicated while performing patient care? Not only is that grounds for a report and firing. You can have your license revoked and you certainly will not get it back (if at all) without showing that somehow you have had treatment.
  14. by   aprilmoss
    Alcohol itself doesn't smell. However, the metabolites do have a definite odor. It's been years since I was an ER nurse, but boy you could smell it without difficulty. There could be other reasons for the smell, but the blood alcohol test confirms that it really was this.

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