In the past year I represented several students in graduate nursing programs in the areas of nurse practitioner as well as certified registered nurse anesthetist who have been terminated from these programs for either recreational drug use or use of a pain medication without a prescription.

Many graduate nursing programs will periodically drug test students. Some programs will test students prior to a student entering a clinical rotation. I also see situations where nurses who are in a graduate program, have returned to their prior job on a part-time basis and have been required to undergo another pre-employment drug screen.

If you test positive for recreational drugs or any medication for which you do not have a prescription, many of the graduate programs will terminate you and report you to the State Board of Nursing.

When this happens, you will usually be asked to join the Pennsylvania Nursing Assistance Program (PNAP) as well as the Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP) which is administered by the Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP). I have previously written extensively on these programs. You can also find information on these programs on my website. If you are in nursing program or graduate nursing program and have tested positive for recreational drug use or use of medication without a prescription, please contact me immediately to discuss your rights and what you can expect. Any decision to enter the VRP should only be made after an informed decision and conversations with an experienced healthcare attorney.

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If you are a licensed nurse, doctor, dentist, pharmacist or any other professional in Pennsylvania, call The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn for help. Based in Philadelphia, our attorneys have decades of experience in the fields of professional license defense, criminal defense and family law.

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