The UT School of Nursing will be implementing a mandatory drug screening beginning next month for students who will be taking clinical programs, one of several types of classes required in the nursing curriculum.
According to Linda Carpenter, assistant dean of the School of Nursing, the primary reason for the new policy is to ensure the safety of patients treated by students and to standardize drug testing for all students in a way that meets industry guidelines.
“The bottom line is [that the new policy] is for patient safety,” Carpenter told The Daily Texan. “You can’t have people working in health care settings, being responsible for peoples’ lives, if they are under the influence of anything.”
Starting next semester, students who will be enrolling in clinical classes will need to complete their testing between Dec. 1 and Jan. 14. The tests will be administered by the University’s approved vendor.
Students who fail the drug test will not be allowed entry into the University’s clinical classes, but they can still continue enrolment in the nursing program. Depending on individual circumstances, students may be able to wait to take a second screening or may have to show proof of treatment for substance abuse before screening again.
The new policy complies with the Health Industry Steering Committee’s latest industry standards requiring standardized drug testing for students working in Central Texas hospitals.