Do nursing schools drug test students?
This is a common question that comes up from time to time. A lot of people these days are on prescription medications, and some even take recreational drugs to get high or feel a buzz. But when it comes time to enter nursing school, they are often worried if they will be drug tested, fearing that they may fail a drug test and consequently not get accepted into nursing school.
Here is a great question we recently received:
I’ve applied to nursing school, but I’ve heard that I might be drug tested as a part of my application. Is this true? I don’t do really heavy drugs (such as cocaine or meth), but I do smoke marijuana from time to time. I also drink alcohol. Will this be a problem?
Drug Testing in Nursing School
Thanks so much for your question Jasmine.
Yes, in many cases nursing schools can and will drug test students. This is usually done during the admission process, along with the application, interviews, and so forth. In fact, some nursing schools will even go as far as checking for STDs or venereal diseases as a part of testing. Crazy, but true.
So yes, if you do recreational drugs that are illegal, and your school will drug test you, you do have cause to worry. Let me explain why.
First, let’s examine why a nursing school would want a drug free student. If you are taking recreational drugs, you are breaking the law. I know that a lot of people don’t think things like marijuana (also called pot, weed) are a big deal, but it is. Not only are you breaking the law, but some recreational drugs can really impact your ability to perform tasks.
During nursing school, you are going to be performing clinical work and a practicum on REAL patients. This means their lives could be in your hands.
Try to imagine things from this perspective: Would you want a surgeon to perform risky brain surgery on you after smoking dope? Or snorting a line of cocaine? Or after doing some meth?
I don’t know about you, but I know I wouldn’t!
As a nursing student and potential future nurse, you are dealing with life and death. You need to be completely sober-minded at all times, with complete mental clarity.
If you are taking illegal recreational drugs now, not only are you breaking the law, but you are also playing with someone’s potential life in the future.
And the drug tests don’t stop with nursing school. When you graduate and get hired for your first job, you’ll certainly be drug tested again. Many employers also engage in a random drug screening and testing program.
So the best solution is to simply stop taking drugs now and forever. I know it can be very very difficult, but there are many options for getting help such as detox centers and drug rehabilitation clinics if you have a severe addiction.
And if you think about it, shouldn’t nurses be an example to others for living a law-abiding and healthy lifestyle? Would it really be worth the risk to be banned from nursing school, to get fired as a nurse, or even lose your nursing license over a simple drug?
My friends and I have decided to live a healthy lifestyle and to avoid drugs–even alcohol. We also believe in exercising regularly and doing everything we can to preserve our health. If I’ve learned anything as a nurse, it’s this: Your health is a precious gift, and you should strive to hold onto it.
Prescription Medications In Nursing School?
If you take prescription medications (given to you by a doctor), then obviously most of those will be excused, and any time you take a drug test you will need to let them know you do indeed have a prescription for those drugs. In most cases prescription drugs are not a problem (assuming they do not affect your job performance). Although some employers or nursing schools may prohibit certain drugs.