If you are a nurse who is under disciplinary action with the Ohio Board of Nursing that requires you to submit to random drug testing, you may not be able to travel outside of the United States without risking disciplinary action.
Ohio nurses who are under probation with the Nursing Board are required to strictly comply with all terms and conditions imposed in their Consent Agreement or Adjudication Order. While under probation, some nurses are subjected to:
- random drug or alcohol screens;
- AA or NA meetings; and/or
- counseling with a chemical dependency or mental health professional.
Traditionally, when a nurse is subjected to random drug testing, they are required to notify FirstLab (the Nursing Board’s contracted screening provider) and their Monitoring Agent at the Nursing Board if the nurse is going to travel so that an alternative screening site can be located for the nurse. However, this notification alone DOES NOT EXCUSE THE NURSE FROM THE DRUG TESTING REQUIREMENT!
In some cases, nurses have requested to be excused from the random drug testing requirement while on vacation. In very limited instances in the past, the Nursing Board has excused nurses from the drug testing requirement. However, these were extremely limited circumstances and compliance with all other probationary terms including abstinence was nevertheless required. More recently, the Board has denied requests to be excused from drug testing while on vacation.
If you are subjected to Nursing Board random screens, it is recommended that you first verify with FirstLab whether there is an approved testing site at your vacation destination (which also has weekend hours) prior to booking your vacation. If no approved testing site is available, you may request to be released from random drug testing while on vacation. However, based on our recent experience, you should anticipate that the request may be denied. If the Board denies your request, you may be subjected to discipline if you fail to provide a screen on a day you are selected to do so.
It is our understanding that FirstLab only has testing sites in the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and that there are no FirstLab locations on cruise ships or outside of the U.S.
Merely notifying your Monitoring Agent of your vacation dates does not excuse or waive any of the requirements of your Consent Agreement or Board Order. You must comply with all probationary terms while on vacation, unless you have been given specific written approval in advance by the Board.
As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group LLC at 614-486-3909 or email me at Beth@collislaw.com.