Drug, Marijuana, or Alcohol Misuse

Nursing requires mental, physical and emotional competencies and coherence to practice safely. The use of drugs, marijuana, or alcohol impairs coherence, decision making, and the ability to practice.

Impairment by drugs or alcohol is a violation of WAC 246-840-710(5)(b), which states “Practicing nursing while affected by alcohol or drugs, or by a mental, physical or emotional condition to the extent that there is an undue risk that he or she, as a nurse, would cause harm to him or herself or other persons.” Impairments of a nurse or student to practice safely may result in the commission suspending a license or denying initial licensure. Practicing under the influence of drugs, marijuana or alcohol is considered a breach of professional conduct by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission.

Students whose behaviors suggest use of or impairment from alcohol, marijuana, drugs or medications (including those taken with valid prescriptions for legitimate medical purposes) during clinical, class, or lab activity are subject to removal from that area and possible dismissal from the School of Nursing. These issues are referred to the Recruitment, Admission and Progression (RAP) Committee, and will result in a Performance/Progression Alert. For further information, refer to the university policy on alcohol/drug misuse: Alcohol Sanctions or Drug Sanctions. Additional sanctions may be imposed by the School of Nursing given patient safety considerations.

In addition to PLU policies on drug, marijuana, or alcohol misuse students must also adhere to the rules and regulations of the individual clinical agencies they visit. Clinical agencies reserve the right to do mandatory scheduled or random drug screening at your expense. If the drug screening has a positive result and the clinical agency refuses to allow the student to participate in clinical at their agency, the School of Nursing is not obligated to find the student a new clinical site for the rotation.