The legalization of marijuana continues to be a hot topic of debate throughout the country as states like Colorado and Washington have passed voter supported laws to allow recreational use. But, no matter which side of the issue you find yourself supporting, one thing is undeniable: these laws have provided a layer of complexity for employers and their staff.
Under the new legislation, a positive drug test for THC is no longer illegal. However, many employers have existing policies against being under the influence of legal substances like alcohol. Marijuana creates a whole new challenge: the drug stays in the user’s system for up to a week, but there is no agreed upon blood level by which to measure intoxication.
For nurses and other healthcare professionals, who often have patients’ lives in their hands, the topic of marijuana usage is even more important. While it may not be against the law for these professionals to use marijuana in states that have passed the legislation, it’s vital that they not be under the influence of any drug during patient care.
So how will the legalization affect nurses?
In short-term hospitals and clinics should require all staff to pass a drug test as a requirement for employment (if they don’t already). Any employee should be required to submit to additional drug testing should the employer feel it’s necessary. In the same manner that many medical facilities have implemented no-smoking policies for tobacco, they should establish workplace policies that exclude the use of marijuana.
There should also be a push for the state boards of nursing to treat marijuana usage in the same way that they do alcohol. Impairment on the job should not be tolerated and should result in suspension of professional license.
In other words, the legalization of marijuana should not have much affect on nursing staff members, since they should continue to abide to their employer’s drug-free policies.
Whether you’re an experienced healthcare professional looking for work or an employer in need of nursing staff, let the experienced team at BOS Medical Staffing help. Since 2008, BOS Medical has brought talented nurses, therapists and medical administrators together with top facilities. Our nursing and healthcare staffing recruiters go above and beyond to match the right talent to the right job. Contact us today to get started.