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Nursing Substance Abuse

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Substance abuse and addiction among registered nurses is a quiet growing problem in the health care industry. Sadly, nurses are not the only profession that falls guilty to this problem. In the nursing field, addiction among nurses has been a problem for over hundreds of years. (Heise 2003) Roughly, ten percent to twenty percent of the registered nurse and nursing student population may have problems with substance abuse and addiction. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) This means there is a minimum of 250,000 nurses and nursing students. The departments with the highest rate of substance abuse users are ICU, ER, OR, and anesthesia. (Heacock, 2013) Some of the most abused substances are alcohol, amphetamines, opiates (such as fentanyl), sedatives, tranquillizers, and inhalants, according to the ANA. (Copp, 2009). This growing epidemic needs to stop for a number of reasons. The number one priority is the patient’s safety. Some other reasons would be the safety of the nurse, the costs that tie into this, and the wasted time trying to figure out what is missing.
There are numerous reasons as to why nurses fall victim to substance abuse and addiction. Some reasons are working stress, easy access to medications, and being workaholic. The reason one may believe work stress can cause a nurse to use substances is because of the long shifts and possibly the environment in which one may work. Also, nurses have to meet certain physical and emotional needs for their patients, having to make life or death choices in the matter of seconds. That alone can take a serious toll on some nurses. Nurses may feel as if they do a few substances here and there to get through the shifts they will not get addicted because they have a significant background of pharma...

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...2012) ADPs do not guarantee recovery and successful reentry into the profession, but statistics prove this approach, along with professional treatment, and peer support, offers a nurse with SUD the best chance of success” (Bettinardi-Angres, Pickett, & Patrick, 2012). For the Board of Nursing (BON), to be able to help out nurses from different backgrounds is a great job. The answer to this problem is to help nurses, not punish them because they are only human. The ANA advocates that medical facilities establish educational programs that teach nurses how to recognize co-workers who may be at risk or already abusing drugs. (Copp, 2009) All hospital staff should be in-serviced once in every few months on how to approach someone they believe has a substance abuse problem. With this co-workers will know how to properly approach someone, or know the signs to look out.
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