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Pre Enrollment Drug Screen

Hi All,

I was accepted into a very competitive nursing program that starts in the fall and I am really excited to get started with classes. I worked my butt off to maintain a 4.0 and studied hard and scored really high for the entrance exam that my program uses (it's a pretty common one).

However, I am on a low dose narcotic prescribed by my primary care physician. I have taken this particular rx for over two years now on a pretty regular basis. I never use it for recreational purposes. I have never requested an early refill, and though some people might have a hard time understanding this, it truly does not impair my judgement. At this point, my Dr. would be willing to up my dose but I would rather deal with the pain than risk taking what I take any more than I do already (which as I said, isn't very much).

Additionally, in the last few months I have had a terrible time sleeping. I am nervous about being intubated and put under anesthesia to have some hardware removed from my arm and shoulder during an upcoming surgery. I also lost a family member and a dear friend in a close proximity a few months back. I also know money will be tight while in nursing school and it was impossible to keep my previous job and attend nursing school at the same time as my previous job required frequent travel all over the country. It wasn't a bad job, it just wasn't what I wanted to do with my life anymore. I am truly excited to become a nurse. At any rate, I have really had a helluva time falling and staying asleep with all of this on my mind.

So I spoke with a Dr. about it and was prescribed something to help me sleep. Thus far it is really helping and I am very grateful for it. I do not plan on using it while I am in school, but for now it has been as I said, very beneficial for my sleep cycle. However, both of these rxs are on the upcoming drug screen for the nursing program.

Can someone explain to me how this works? I am wondering if I show valid prescriptions to the screening company if my program even has a right to know as this seems like it should be confidential, as long as I have legitimate medical documentation for the rxs which I do. If they are able to see what I am taking, can they deny me entrance to the program for the rxs I am on? I am just really confused and worried about it. I'll appreciate anyone who is willing to share their knowledge and experience in this matter. Thank you in advance.

As long as you have valid and current prescriptions, then you should be fine. I know several people with chronic pain or anxiety disorders who are competent nurses. Congrats on the acceptance into the the program of your choice! It sounds like you worked your tail off for it. Good luck!

Ioreth, thanks for the reply. I do appreciate the response. I certainly hope you are correct!

If anyone else wants to counter or confirm, I am open to hearing whatever anyone wants to share. Thanks again!

Rionoir, ADN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

I used to be a truck driver and had a prescription for klonopin before I started driving. I disclosed it before my drug test, but was required to be off of it before I was allowed to drive and had to have a clean drug screen. You're going to have to find out if they will let you do your clinicals under the influence of whatever you are taking, because they may or may not. You can understand if they don't want to take nursing students under the effects of a narcotic.

My advise is to be very forthcoming about your prescriptions, but find out their policy well ahead of time in case you need to have it clear your system before you can do any work.

I'm on a benzo, and I had to take a drug test to volunteer at a hospital. I told them up front what I was on. I "failed" the test of course, so they sent it off to a lab. The lab called and asked for a copy of my current 'script and I sent it over and within an hour I was cleared.

You should be just fine.

Thanks everyone. I also volunteer at a hospital and had to take a urine test before starting. At the time of that test, I wasn't taking anything other than the narcotic and I didn't take it for a day and a half before the exam (not to pass the test, just didn't need it those couple of days, as I had already told the person in charge at the hospital my situation and she said as long as I had a script I would be okay) and I came back clean. The one I am taking to help me sleep doesn't leave your system that fast though and I am still concerned about it reversing my acceptance into the program. As far as the clinical sites not wanting me to be under the influence, I wouldn't be during clinicals. One I only take right before I lay down for bed and the other I take when the pain gets unbearable, and never at work. At any rate, I appreciate your responses.

I'm on a benzo, and I had to take a drug test to volunteer at a hospital. I told them up front what I was on. I "failed" the test of course, so they sent it off to a lab. The lab called and asked for a copy of my current 'script and I sent it over and within an hour I was cleared.

You should be just fine.

Hey Jen, would you be willing to share which lab company your hospital used? And as far as being cleared, were you cleared in the sense that the lab company reported you as clean, or did the hospital find out what you were taking and just accepted you anyway because you had the valid rx? Thanks:)

Hey Jen, would you be willing to share which lab company your hospital used? And as far as being cleared, were you cleared in the sense that the lab company reported you as clean, or did the hospital find out what you were taking and just accepted you anyway because you had the valid rx? Thanks:)

The lab reported my specimen as clean - though I did tell the hospital what I was taking and I brought my medication with me when I initially did the on site drug test. I'll have to double check which lab was used - I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Rionoir, ADN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

As far as the clinical sites not wanting me to be under the influence, I wouldn't be during clinicals. One I only take right before I lay down for bed and the other I take when the pain gets unbearable, and never at work. At any rate, I appreciate your responses.

I understand that, but unless they'd be willing to test you before every shift, it doesn't work that way. You could withhold before your initial screening to get a clean test, but eventually you'll get a random test.

Anyway just talk to the site. If they won't allow it and you can go without it, then you just need a letter from your Dr saying he cancelled your script and you'll have to wait til it's totally out of your system.

As long as you have the scripts for them It will all be fine and dandy! I take Butalbital for migraines and it is a barbiturate which is definitely tested for! I tested positive for it (Obviously) and a physician that the drug testing company contracts out to called me and asked what medications I take. I listed off what I take and he then told me that I had tested positive for butalbital and I was given 24 hours to email a picture of my prescription to the physician. He then responded to the drug testing company and they in turn contacted my nursing school. As far as the school knowing what youre on, I believe they will be informed what was flagged as positive, at least my school was. However Im fairly positive they cannot deny you entrance because you take a pain pill for legitimate pain and sleeping meds to sleep. It all worked out fine for me, as it will with you!! Take what you need to get by. Don't make yourself suffer because you don't want people to know or judge!

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