Nursing Student Impairment

WGU instructors and coaches and clinical learning lab instructors are to promptly remove from the clinical and/or lab setting students who demonstrate reasonable suspicion of emotional or chemical impairment or sleep deprivation impairment which may place peers, instructors, staff, patients and or families in danger. When such a removal occurs, it must be reported immediately to the State Director of Nursing for review and corrective action.

Students with emotional illness or chemical dependence are urged to seek appropriate treatment voluntarily.

  1. Students may not possess or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs in the clinical and/or lab setting.
  2. Students may not be under the influence of prescription drugs, particularly controlled substances, in the clinical and/or lab setting, when such use impairs the student’s ability to provide safe nursing care or interact with others in a safe, rational manner.
  3. Students who are under emotional stress that impairs their ability to provide safe nursing care or interact with others in a safe, rational manner should refrain from clinical attendance.
  4. When reasonable suspicion of emotional, chemical or sleep deprivation impairment is present, a student must be removed from the clinical setting immediately by the WGU coach or instructor. Signs that may indicate emotional, chemical, or sleep deprivation impairment include, but are not limited to:
    • Inability to concentrate or respond appropriately
    • Hostility or irritability
    • Sudden verbal aggression toward others
    • Impaired short term memory
    • Slurred speech
    • Odor of alcohol on breath
    • Unsteady gait
    • Shaking hands
    • Runny nose
    • Frequent trips to bathroom or other unexplained absences
    • Poor grooming
    • Pupils either constricted or dilated, face flushed
  5. Students must adhere to the impairment policies of the clinical agency/facility as required, which may include drug screening. Refusal to comply with clinical agency/facility drug screening requests may result in dismissal from the WGU nursing program.
  6. The WGU instructor immediately notifies the State Director of Nursing or designee of student removal from the clinical setting. The State Director of Nursing or designee confers with both the student and the clinical instructor about the occurrence. 
  7. If a reasonable suspicion of chemical impairment is present, the State Director of Nursing or designee requests a blood alcohol level or urine drug screening as indicated.
    • The student is immediately transported (at their own expense) or escorted to a nearby urgent care center or emergency department for screening.
    • The student must consent to drug/alcohol screening. Failure to consent may result in dismissal from the WGU nursing program.
    • The student must authorize results to be released to the WGU Department of Nursing.
    • The student is responsible for all costs incurred for screening.
  8. The WGU instructor arranges for student transportation home at the student’s expense.
  9. A member of the WGU Health Professions Success Center will contact the student by email to arrange a time to discuss the violation (visit CHP Code of Professional Conduct and Dispositions (opens new window)).
 

 

 



Article Number: 20519, 2488

Version history
Revision #:
11 of 11
Last update:
‎09-23-2019 04:06 PM
Updated by: