Should a nursing student be given a 2nd chance if they have a positive drug screen


  • Specializes in heart failure and prison.

If a nursing student is caught with a positive drug screen do you think they should be given a second chance? should she be kicked out of school? Ok so here is the story, my classmate has got be the dumbest person ever? She went to a physical exam for a job and she was reeking of alcohol. She said they did a breath test on her and it came up positive. Now this is where the story is really interesting, they also did a drug screen on her and she is worried that it will come back positive for marijuana and if it does, the place of employement will notify the school and their is a possibly that she will be kicked out of the nursing program. She claimed that she doesn't smoke weed all the time, however, if you are a once and a blue-moon smoker I think it can take upto 6 months to get out of your system providing that you don't smoke again for awhile. I know, at my place of employement, we do have nurses who have been caught in the past for drugs or pills and they have to go through rehab program and then, they have to call a number every morning and they may have to report for a drug screen. It does vary, they could report everyday or once a month. So my question is should nursing students be given the same chance as a RN who was caught doing drugs?


898 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics Only.

There are plenty of other students out there who would do anything to become a nurse and would be smart enough to not drink and show up for a physical.

If you are dumb enough to show up to a physical drunk, you don't deserve to have one of those coveted nursing student spots.

Since the student obviously was impaired at a physical, which you would think would be common sense to NOT be, how is her judgment going to be at work? Might as well show up impaired at work as well..

No thanks. Others deserve the chance. She lost hers.


19 Posts

Specializes in hospice, rehab, insurance CM. Has 16 years experience.

If it was my call I would say no, never

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

IF this student is given a second chance, it should be only after successfully completing a rehab program.

RN BSN 2009

1,289 Posts

I would definitely say no. There are way too many non-drug using people out there who would bend over backwards to go to nsg school.

Has 19 years experience.

Your friend has no business even trying to be a nurse.

Lovely_RN, MSN

1,122 Posts

Has 11 years experience.

Sorry but I don't believe your friend...she has a problem. For a once in a blue smoker the clearance rate is usually 1 week. It can take up to 4 weeks for MJ to clear out of the system if you are a regular smoker. 6 months? Never heard that one before. Also why would you go to a physical exam for a JOB reeking of alcohol. It really says something about a person when they can't stay sober long enough to make it through the docs appointment. Her ex-potential employer doesn't have the right to tell the school anything because of HIPPA but part of being a NS is that you have to attend clinical and the site can request a drug screen at anytime.

One of my classmates was kicked out after the clinical site sprang a surprise toxicology test on her group. We all had physicals with tox screens at our private doctors and submitted the paperwork so she thought she was in the clear to toke up. Well she was really surprised when she showed up for clinical and the site requested an immediate urinalysis. She came up positive for MJ and was immediately dropped from the program with no chance to come back. It was really sad because she was the top student in class...straight As.

Advise your friend that if she wants to become a nurse she is going to have to give up the bong. It's as simple as that because once she becomes a working nurse she can be drug tested at anytime. Why lose the license that you will work incredibly hard to get for some weed? Personally I think MJ should be legal and I think there is nothing wrong with smoking it as long as your aren't going to work impaired. Yeah I said it...however I knew going into this that I would rather give it up and have a great career than sit around broke and stoned.

She's gotta make a choice.


2,016 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

She showed extremely poor judgement :(

Heaven help her patients if she showed that same, second chance.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,232 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Simply no! Its all about integrity.

Absolutely not. At our school, and most others I'm sure, it is made perfectly clear that random drug testing can and will be used, and that if your test shows a positive, it is immediate expulsion. As it should be. And showing up drunk is just icing on the cake. If she would have wanted to become an RN badly enough, she would have chosen to say no.

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,666 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

In this situation as described, no. No second chances.


38,333 Posts

Every response thus far expresses my views. There are more than enough students that can show better judgement who would be more than grateful to take her place and conduct themselves accordingly. Likewise jobseekers. She had her chance. Many who are more deserving don't get that chance. She needs to find other options for her future. I never want her near any of my sick or injured loved ones.

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