Beginning July 1, Sarah Bush Lincoln will no longer hire people who use nicotine. The policy change reflects an effort to better live its mission to create healthy communities and be a model for health.
Eric Benson, Vice President, Human Resources explained, “We have been moving toward this decision for quite some time and gave it a great deal of thought. In the end, we believe it is the right decision for a healthcare organization to ask its employees to be nicotine free.”
Prospective employees will be asked to submit to a nicotine screen as a part of the post-job offer physical process. The test will screen for nicotine usage, including smoking and smokeless tobacco, vapor cigarettes and nicotine patches. Current employees, hired before July 1, are exempt from being nicotine free, although they are encouraged to stop using nicotine.
“We have invested in a smoking cessation program, learning from the best at Mayo Clinic, with a goal to help anyone who wants to be become nicotine free. It is free to employees and their family members who wish to be nicotine free. Prospective employees, who need help becoming nicotine free, are welcome to register for the program for a nominal fee as well,” Benson said.
Over time, Sarah Bush Lincoln has evolved into a more health conscious organization. Benson explained that when the Health Center opened in 1977, it distributed large glass ashtrays with the logo in the base of it. “It was a different time, one in which it was fairly common for people to smoke in their offices, patients smoked in their hospital beds and cigarettes were sold in the vending machines in the hospital. Eventually, all of that ended, and in 2008, our organization went completely smoke-free,” Benson explained. It has taken nearly 30 year to get to this juncture in our culture, he added.
Sarah Bush Lincoln is actively building healthy communities through partnerships with schools and like-minded organizations, it should be a model of health. “We are a health organization with a vision to be the leading community health system in the nation. We can’t get there when we support nicotine use in any way, which is by far, the most costly health habit,” Benson said.
For more information, contact Sarah Bush Lincoln Human Resources at 258-2501.