Administrative Law

Can I lose my nursing License for refusing a drug test

Can nurses lose their license if they refuse to drug test?

Lots of nurses want to know if they’ll lose their licenses for refusing to take a drug test. The short answer is yes, you can lose your license if you refuse to take a requested drug test.

However, it is a little more complicated than that.  If a nurse has been asked to take a drug test by their employer, refusing is a violation of the nurse practice act. The employer will likely report the refusal to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.  This will lead to an investigation into the nurse’s work history.

If a nurse refuses to take a drug test, the Board will send a letter to the nurse with a request for the nurse to surrender their license for a 1-year period.

Should I surrender my Nursing License?

In most cases, the nurse should not surrender their license.  Especially in cases where the only violation of the nurse practice act is the refusal of a drug test.  When refusal to take a drug test is the basis for the violation, a consent agreement with the board can likely be reached where the nurse does not lose their license. Instead, they are placed on probation and will have to comply with certain rules.  

What about Consent Agreements?

The down side to entering a consent agreement is the nurse will have their license flagged with a violation.  However, as of November 2018, the Arkansas State Board of Nursing has adopted a new system. The Alternative to Discipline Act allows a nurse to enter a probationary type period and complete certain tasks assigned to them by the Board in exchange for not having their license flagged.   One of the requirements to be eligible for the Alternative to Discipline Program is the nurse must self-report the violation. There are other requirements that go along with self-reporting, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as any potential issues with your nursing license appear.

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