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Why Addiction Occurs Among Nurses

Why Addiction Occurs Among Nurses

Nurses and Addiction

Studies show that of all professions that are deemed highly stressful careers, nursing is identified as being in the top 10. Nurses serve the doctors, interns, patients, and family members of patients. They serve as an imperative team member trying to save lives, and they do it day after day. As a result, and as part of their job, they have easy access to pain medications, as well as stimulants that are prescribed for their patients. This combination of situations can lead to illegal use, then abuse, and ultimately addiction of the very substances they are administering to their patients.

True Causes

Besides their job requirements of fulfilling a doctor’s orders and needs (in some cases several doctors), a nurse also fills the needs of patients, their family members, other colleagues he/she is associated with, and the demands their own family makes on them as well.

  • Putting all these other people first and themselves last can lead to depression, exhaustion, anxiety, and emotional upheavals that cause stress.
  • A nurse treats patients that die on their watch, and then comforts those related to the patient.
  • Nurses are asked to work overtime at a moment’s notice, or they work swing or graveyard shifts that impact their personal lives in a negative way.
  • They must take certification courses throughout their career to keep their licenses current and active.
  • Extremely busy doctors who are in charge of many patients, some of whom are extremely ill or with an untreatable disease, can be overly demanding.

Nursing is a highly skilled profession that necessitates life-or-death decisions, deadlines, and the ability to multitask and assume several roles at once to be efficient. Their observations and quick thinking can save lives. Their knowledge of pharmaceuticals is imperative. That causes considerable pressure to be foisted upon one human being.

Documented Cases

Empirical studies and research on the rise in addiction at the nursing level have resulted in alarming findings. A study done in 2012 of Cincinnati, Ohio shows that 1 in every 3 nurses battles with addiction. Another study showed that at least 15% of nurses nationwide have become addicted to pain medications, and that number is rising. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has also conducted studies, and dispenses materials about this issue and others in the hopes of helping professionals work with improved environments that could prevent the situation. Counseling and rehab are some benefits they offer to those in need.

Inpatient Treatment Is The Best Recourse

Inpatient care may be necessary for any individual who is working under the influence of medication that impedes their work or can harm others. Though there might be a stigma attached to an addict in recovery, some form of professional help is imperative. As we all cope differently with issues, allowing a nurse to continually use and work on the job is dangerous for all concerned.

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