Student Drug Testing Policy

The purpose of this policy is to notify students of the Purdue University Northwest requirement that all students in the College who are enrolled in a clinical course submit to a drug screen as outlined in this policy and test negative before engaging in clinical activity associated with a College of Nursing Program.

The University’s Alcohol-and-Drug-Free Campus Workplace Policy prohibits the unauthorized use, possession, sale, conveyance, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances, as well as being under the influence of legally prescribed drugs that prevent an individual from performing the essential functions of his or her job or where the individual poses a direct threat while using those drugs.

Clinical agencies affiliated with the University also have drug and alcohol policies and are requiring that nursing students comply with their drug testing policies in a similar manner to their employees. Safety in the delivery of care to patient/client populations is the basis for drug testing. Clinical sites have the right to refuse any student for clinical placement based on concerns about that student’s ability to deliver safe practice.

It is the policy of Purdue University Northwest to comply with federal and state laws and regulations dealing with the usage and detection of drugs. This policy is subject to change at the sole discretion of the University and is meant to supplement other relevant University policies, including but not limited to, the Alcohol- and Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Policy, Executive Memorandum C-44.

This policy is in addition to any drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures at the clinical sites, and while students are engaging in clinical activities at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or other facilities on behalf of the College, the drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures of the hospital, clinic, nursing home, or facility will govern.

All nursing students will be required to submit to a drug screen at the expense of the student, and test negative for drugs  at certain times in their nursing education:

  • prior to participation in a clinical course in a College of Nursing Program,
  • annually,
  • as requested by the clinical facility

Unannounced drug testing may occur based on reasonable suspicion.

If a student’s drug screen is positive but the student provides proof that prescribed medications (a copy of the prescription or verification from the healthcare provider that they are taking medication under supervision) lead to a positive drug screen, the College of Nursing will make record of such.

All positive drug tests will be reported to the clinical site in an anonymous manner.  If present, prescription verifications will accompany any positive drug screens also in an anonymous manner.  The clinical site policy will determine whether a student may participate in the scheduled clinical rotation.

By participating in the drug screening process, the student is authorizing release of the drug test results in accordance with this policy.

Negative Test Result

If the drug test is negative, and pending all other requisite acceptances and approvals, the student will be allowed to participate in clinical activities.

Refusal to Test

If a student fails to produce the requested sample by the date and time designated, the student will be treated as if the test result was positive.

Positive Test Result

Any student who engages in conduct prohibited by this policy, tests positive for drugs, or who does not comply with any notice, request, or procedure provided for hereunder, shall be withdrawn from all clinical courses, and may be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal from the Program, on the basis that the student is not able to meet course objectives for classroom and/or clinical requirements.

If the Student is not dismissed from the Program, the Student will not be permitted to participate in Clinical Activities until the Student undergoes the rehabilitation process set forth below. In addition, future participation in Clinical Activities is dependent on the length of time needed for the rehabilitation process and space availability as described below.

If the Student is not dismissed from the Program, the Student will be required to undergo a professional evaluation by the Counseling Center or by a mutually agreed upon independent, certified drug and alcohol counselor for evaluation and treatment at the student’s expense. The student must complete the treatment prescribed by the approved counselor at the student’s expense. Upon completion of the treatment plan, the counselor shall conduct a follow-up evaluation and issue a report to the Dean of the College of Nursing.

If the counselor reports that the student successfully completed the treatment plan and is ready to engage in Clinical Activities, the student will be tested with a new drug screen at the Student’s expense. If the Drug test is positive, the Student will be dismissed from the Program.  If the Drug test result is negative, the student will be eligible to enroll in clinical coursework depending on space availability and acceptance by clinical sites.

Because of the time that is required to complete treatment and testing, it is possible that the Student will be delayed and need to re-work his/her plan of study with an academic counselor.

After a student has completed the required treatment plan prescribed by the certified drug and alcohol counselor, has a negative Drug screen and is participating in Clinical Activities, unannounced drug testing may occur periodically, based on reasonable suspicion, until the student graduates from the Program.

The Dean of the College of Nursing will notify the student of the designated time and place for the drug screening which will be completed, at the student’s expense, on the day of notification. If a positive Drug screen occurs, or if the student fails to complete a drug test as requested or otherwise comply with this policy, the student will be dismissed from the Program.

The College of Nursing and the University will take reasonable measures to ensure individual privacy under this Policy including, without limitation, keeping all Drug test results confidential to the extent possible.  Drug test results will be released in accordance with this policy and applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Pursuant to the University’s Bill of Student Rights, any student can seek redress for any complaints related to the application or enforcement of this Policy through applicable University grievance policies and procedures, including Program appeal procedures.

The College of Nursing and the University will maintain records relating to this policy as required by law.  Upon written request to the Dean of the College of Nursing, a student will be provided copies of records pertaining to his or her Drug tests. The University may charge the student a reasonable fee for copying these records.

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Dean of the College of Nursing.