What is your role as a nurse executive in the hiring process?
The nurse executive holds the senior most position in a nursing organization and oversees management roles such as recruitment and training. During the hiring process, the nurse executive is tasked with assessing key candidate traits that can predict success. For example, the nurse leader assesses self-starter behaviors, motivation, collaboration, and critical thinking that are necessary to work as a nurse (Fried & Fottler, 2018). The nurse executive meets the candidate personally and uses a standardized interviewing process to assess if the candidate meets the set standards. The nurse executive also assesses the candidate’s ability to meet the regulatory requirements including licensure and criminal activities. Additionally, the nurse executive selects the best candidates, makes job offers and introduces approved candidates to staff members.
What are the legal mandates that you need to abide by in this situation?
Cannabis use poses significant challenges to human resource (HR) professionals during the process of hiring employees. Although some states have legalized marijuana, failing marijuana tests in states where recreational use is illegal limits one’s ability to get a job (Lytle, 2019). Because the federal laws still prohibit possession of marijuana, a prospective employee testing positive for the drug should not be hired. The nurse executive ought to assess for signs of impairment and consult state policies for hiring employees after failing drug tests. It is important to note that cannabis affects people differently and the hiring manager should adhere to the ethical standards of practice in this case. For example, nurses have a responsibility to report employees if they think they may be impaired. Marijuana is a schedule I substance according to federal laws making its use a federal offense (Lytle, 2019). Another consideration, in this case, is whether the employee used marijuana for medical purposes.
How would you engage with this prospective employee?
The first part should involve discussing the drug test with the prospective employee and the state laws regarding marijuana use. The nurse executive should receive an explanation from the employee why the drug was in his system and if the employee is registered for medical marijuana. The nurse executive should engage the employee in reviewing the organizational and professional standards to ascertain whether marijuana use could potentially affect his work if hired. In some cases, employees have filed lawsuits regarding discrimination for using marijuana and won leading to mixed thoughts about hiring such people (Lytle, 2019). It would be important for the prospective employee to state how they intend to work and if the drug will affect their duties. Consultation with lawyers may also be a good option to ensure the prospective employee understands the issue and any legal issues that should follow.
What if this was a current employee? What would guide your response and how would you engage with this employee?
If an employee tests positive for marijuana during routine drug tests, the nurse executive must examine the circumstances leading to the observed results. Given the potential risks of using the drug to healthcare providers, the employee must provide evidence that the drug was used for medical purposes. The nurse executive then reviews the organizational policies regarding the use of drugs and the consequences. To engage this employee, the nurse executive should explain the safety issues related to marijuana use and how the profession as a whole is strict about substance use. Disciplinary action can be initiated based on the evidence of drug abuse and going against the institutional policies and professional code of conduct.
Fried, B. J., & Fottler, M. D. (Eds.). (2018). Fundamentals of human resources in healthcare (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
Lytle, T. (2019). Marijuana and the workplace: It’s complicated. HR Magazine. Retrieved from
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