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Positive drug test letter from BON

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The board of nursing just sent me a letter that they discovered I had a positive drug screen from my previous employer. This was not for a diversion, this is for illicit drug use. I now have another good nursing job in another state and I did not tell this employer about my positive drug screen. I have been with this employer for 3 months. I was hoping my previous employer would not report this instance to the BON, but I just found out today by means of a letter from my previous state BON. What should I do? What is going to happen. I'm scared that I'm now going to lose out on this great job, lose my license, or even go to jail. I already signed a one year lease for an apartment in my new state and I'm the only bread winner for my family. Will the new state find out?

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

It's highly likely the current BoN will find out as I believe that this is now mandated especially when they review endorsement license verifications as a part of your former BoN's investigative process.

Contact your malpractice insurance for advice how to proceed especially since it appears you did not self report to the new BoN or current employer. If you do not have malpractice insurance consult with a license defense attorney. It won't be cheap but you need to protect your license and do damage control. The American Association of nurse attorneys offers a lawyer referral service on their website. http://www.taana.org

If not already, consider NA meetings ASAP. I think caduceus meetings are healthcare professional specific. This will help show that you are trying to be proactive.

Given the information you've provided, I doubt you'll be arrested for anything. This is what I think will happen: your license will be suspended and/or have conditions. If the state(s) in which you're licensed have a nurse assistance program, you'll be referred to that and enter into a contract with them in order to keep your license.

Being licensed in two states complicates things. Most likely both BONs will find out things you don't want them to know.

Call your malpractice insurance and/or an attorney who specializes in licensing issues STAT. Don't worry about losing this job as much as your license(s). You may be advised to refrain from practice until this gets straightened out.

Best of luck to you.

Adele_Michal7, ASN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric. Has 5 years experience.

Best of luck, please keep us apprised of how it turns out::

Cooperate with the BON... go through all the steps to show that you have reformed- Intensive Outpatient Treatment programs might provide you with the necessary treatment and drug screens to show you are clean.

A word of warning about lawyers- I had one who wanted to fight the BON and almost cost me a chance at retaining my license (I had hired him to walk me through the steps to be successful). When I got notice of revocation due to my inaction (as advised by the lawyer to wait to get into treatment until the BON made a decision) I consulted another attorney who during a free consultation told me to get into treatment and jump through the hoops (she also told me I should go through the treatment program that was 50K out of pocket). Free consultation can be a great thing when you are facing the possibility of not working for an amount of time.

I called all of the board approved treatment centers and found one that had worked with the BON and also only offered Intensive Outpatient (covered by insurance).

Also there is a post here about the ADA- it does not seem like your current employer would be able to fire you.

catmom1, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

Also there is a post here about the ADA- it does not seem like your current employer would be able to fire you.

My experience has been that if an employer wants you out, they will find a way. It isn't hard for them to make it look like you have screwed up. This may vary by state. My state is a "right to work" state, meaning the employers hold all the cards and the employee is powerless. You can be fired for any reason on no reason in a "right to work" state.

Sad but true.

Catmom :paw:

Most states have "at will" clauses. The ADA protection just makes it a little harder for them to do...

Did you have to pass a drug screen for the new wonderful job and did you pass it with flying colors?

I haven't heard anything from the BON since I posted. I had until to the 1st of July to respond to the accusations but I didn't. I contacted a few attorneys but I can't afford +$7,000 to retain them. Here's more to the story: I only had this job for 3 weeks and had one pre-employment and two random drug screens. This is my first nursing job since I graduated May 2013. I thought it was kind of suspicious when other employees been there for 5 years and never had a random. I was stupid and tried some weed during a party I went to at my cousins house. I never touched any kind of illicit drug before this. I didn't even like it. I thought I was safe since they just did a random a few days earlier. Two days later I was asked to do another so called random at work again and ****** dirty. So now I'm trying to figure out the best course of action. Don't say anything or be honest and explain the situation. Should I just voluntarily surrender my license and try to get it back at a latter date and work at a non-nursing job. I'm currently working in ICU in another state and I would assume I would lose this job if they find out. Yes, I passed the test with flying colors and I haven't used since or even touched alcohol. My original licensed state is Ohio and I don't know if you can do the alternative program in another state. Seems like if I go into a treatment program I will lose my job and won't have a chance for future employment once they find out I was in rehab. I doubt I could get a job in dialysis since I have less than one year of experience. Should I work at a non-nursing job until I finish the alternative program if I'm able to take it in another state? If the only nursing job I can obtain is in LTC, I rather give up my license and work in another field.

You need to see if your current state has an impaired program and get in it ASAP. You are in major jeopardy of having your license supsended or pulled. Those actions will follow you and haunt you. Fix it NOW.

sallyrnrrt, ADN, RN

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

southernpoint, knocked it out of the park, you have been given sound advice ;)

Surrendering your license is a drastic move you may come to regret. I would imagine getting it back will be more difficult than keeping it, and you're making the decision based on assumptions. Why don't you cooperate and find out what happens as it transpires. You need to cooperate with the powers that be...be proactive and go to them before they come looking for you. Maybe you can pay the attorney on credit?

You have been given VERY sound advice- fear has a way of paralyzingly us and we would give up everything to avoid anxiety and embarrassment. Nurses are doing these steps everyday. Do not let inaction and fear make things worse- you can salvage this.

I think it is sad that you felt a need to explain your positive to the posters here on AN.

It was pot and is really only a big deal to the BON and the employer.

Most of us realize that you smoking pot, even on a regular basis, is less likely to adversely affect your performance as a nursing professional than would the same consumption of alcohol.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

It was pot and is really only a big deal to the BON and the employer.

Most of us realize that you smoking pot, even on a regular basis, is less likely to adversely affect your performance as a nursing professional than would the same consumption of alcohol.

The BON, the current employer, future employers, the police, the DEA, patients, patients families, the poster, the posters family, etc.

If the OP came to work drunk it would be the same problem.

We have an excellent thread already started on the topic of nurses smoking marijuana. It has good discussion on the subject as well as an array of differing opinions. You should check it out! To the OP: how are you doing?

The BON, the current employer, future employers, the police, the DEA, patients, patients families, the poster, the posters family, etc.

If the OP came to work drunk it would be the same problem.

Of course, no where in this thread does it intimate that the individual presented to work under the influence of cannabis. You may extrapolate that if you wish.

What we do know is that she could smoke several joints on Monday evening and report to work without any impairment on Tuesday morning while a contemporary who enjoyed a large dose of alcohol at the same time may very well still be inebriated on Tuesday morning but would pass a urine drug screen.

@ toomuchbaloney: as far as I know- most, or all, states' BON takes a very dim view of a positive drug screen for MJ- end of discussion- regardless of your, or anyone else's- opinion.