Do Nurses Get Drug Tested?

Do nurses get drug tested

This particular question “Do nurses get drug tested?” came upon me when I was having a barbecue evening with my friends. So I figured out this could be a frequently asked question you would like to have a clear answer to.

Of course, it depends on circumstances, like where are you living, where are you working or who are you working for. For that reason I tried to cover most of the circumstances and conditions there could be.

You already might know that we nurses work in an environment where safeguarding patient safety is important.

Nurses must follow nursing regulatory policies, as well as their code of ethics. Being under the influence of drugs is not how you do that.

Without further ado let’s get down to the answer(s) for the question do nurses get drug tested.

Do nurses get drug tested by country, region or state

You guessed it right, I’m not able to provide an answer about drug testing for ALL the locations out there. These are probably the most used ones.

First I’m going to answer the question do nurses get drug tested in California.

Do nurses get drug tested in California?

According to California’s drug testing laws nurses, nurse practitioners, public health nurses, and basically, anyone working in California may have to undergo a drug test.

Drug testing for nurses in California is although only justified in very limited and strict circumstances.

What are these limited circumstances then? Generally, if there is enough evidence to suspect that someone is working under the influence of drugs.

The answer to the question is “Yes, even though you are not very likely to get drug tested in California”.

This meme reflects the situation in California. If you got what you were looking for, maybe relax and enjoy these male nurse memes.

Do nurses get drug tested in California

How about in Canada?

Do nurses get drug tested in Canada?

The CFNU (Canadian Federations of Nurses Unions) has released its own statement about the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada on October 17, 2018.

According to the CFNU’s statement, there should be no random drug testing for nurses. They recommend that employers should develop policies on the accommodation of prescribed psychoactive drugs on recreational cannabis.

I also found this conversation on Reddit about drug testing for nurses in Canada.

Based on several nurse’s years of experience from Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, there have been no drug tests for nurses at all.

I would say it’s acceptable to use recreational cannabis in free time in Canada. Just make sure you always get to work in the proper condition.


As you may already know, for example, marijuana is legal for recreational use in Colorado.

For that reason, we could think that at least some of the nurses are using drugs in their free time. But do nurses get drug tested in Colorado?

According to Colorado’s drug testing laws, it may be possible for nurses to get drug tested. For that reason you should know your legal rights if your Colorado employer asks you to take a drug test:

  • Disability discrimination. A nurse who is taking medication for a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Invasion of privacy. Even though an employer has a legitimate reason to drug test might violate employee privacy in the way it conducts the test. For example, requiring nurses to provide a urine sample in front of others could be a privacy violation.
  • Defamation. The employer can not publicize their employee’s test results.

Conclusion: Yes, you might get drug tested in Colorado even as a nurse.


According to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), you might get regular drug tested as a nurse.

Under the protocol of the AHPRA, all health practitioners (including nurses) who have restrictions on their registration linked to past substance abuse will have routine hair testing in addition to urine testing.

Based on these facts it’s pretty obvious that you might get drug tested as a nurse in Australia.

Do nurses get drug tested in Australia

United Kingdom (UK)?

So do nurses get drug tested in the United Kingdom (UK)?

National Health Services (The NHS) employs the most nurses in the UK.

According to this Reddit thread, there have been no drug tests in the NHS for nurses.

It is still possible to get drug tested as a nurse in the UK. Law says that employers wanting to test staff for drugs of abuse must seek consent.

As a nurse (or employee) you can although refuse to take the drug test in the UK.

If you want to learn more about drug testing in the UK, check out this article.

How often do nurses get drug tested?

Now you know that you might get drug tested as a nurse at least in California, Colorado, Australia, and the UK. But how often do nurses get drug tested if they do?

Of course, the answer to this question also varies depending on circumstances.

If you take care of your job and patients and you don’t use drugs of any kind, we can reasonably assume that you will not get drug tested ever.

Okay but how about if you are doing drugs, even the mild ones like marijuana? Or if you cause an accident at work and someone suspects that you weren’t in full working capacity?

In these kinds of cases, you might get regularly drug tested monthly or bi-monthly by your employer.

How often do nurses get drug tested

How often do nursing homes drug test?

Do nurses get drug tested in nursing homes?

The answer about nursing home drug testing is pretty much the same as shown previously.

You will get regularly drug tested in nursing homes if there is enough evidence to do that. So I would say that be really, really careful if you do drugs of any kind, even the mild ones. Best way to go: don’t do drugs at all.

Do you get drug tested for nursing school?

The short answer for that is: Yes, in many cases nursing schools will drug test students.

Drug testing for nursing school students is usually done during the mission process along with applications and interviews.

You should be worried if you are using illegal drugs of any kind and if you are applying for nursing school. Most nursing schools will drug test students.

See also: Can Nurses Take Adderall?

If you are on prescribed medications by your doctor, in most cases you will be excused from drug testing.

It is still important to know that some nursing schools will drug test based on levels of usage. You may face problems if you are overusing the drugs that your doctor has prescribed.

Do you get drug tested for nursing school?

So, do nurses get drug tested?

Yes, nurses get drug tested… in some circumstances.

I hope you found the answer that you were looking for from here.

If you are interested to learn some more, check out these related articles:

Check out more about a normal nurse’s life.

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.