Addictions Nurses: Why?

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    What inspired you to become a nurse in the field addictions or recovery? I am a nursing student and this is a field that I have a lot of interest in this field. I am interested in it because I have a lot of friends and relatives who do not receive the help the need due to the stigma with addictions and I want to be able to positively impact people with similar afflictions.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    My reason isn't as exciting or noble as yours: I was placed on a detox unit as a new grad, and was fortunate to be working under an excellent addictionologist and nurses who knew--and understood--chemical dependency. I guess I couldn't have had a better start in the specialty than that
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    I felt that this population was under servered and challeneging to work with.
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    There are addiction units?? and addictionologists?!?!
    frosti1031 likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from Du3du3
    There are addiction units?? and addictionologists?!?!
    In the USA it is a specialty and there are entire facilities dedicated to the treatment of addiction and detoxification.

    Addiction.....https://www.google.com/search?q=addi...ient=firefox-a
  7. 0
    Very true, sometimes you just have to be thrown into a situation to see how good you may actually be at it!
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    I was "forced" into this speciality after going through rehab and surrendering my nursing license. I was then placed on a monitoring contract with my BON, which prohibits me from working in the area I had been employed previously (ICU). The only places we were really authorized to work were long term care (not an option for me), dialysis (did that for a few months; hated it), and psychiatric nursing. I have been here for over 3 years and I love it. It's where I feel I can make an impact and I have the opportunity to do a lot of patient education, which I did not have in the ICU. I've been sober for well over 4 years now and am pretty happy that the road led me to this job. I NEVER would have chose psych otherwise. I believe now that this is where I am supposed to be and if I ever leave this speciality, I will explore an area in nutrition as it relates to mental health/substance abuse. I have NO urge to return to hospital nursing, especially critical care. I do miss the total patient care but I also understand that it feeds into my codependency issues and my ego/pride, which can impact my sobriety in a negative way. I am grateful that my current supervisor took a chance on me, not having any psych nursing experience and believed in me.
    ShaBBy23, Lovely_RN, salvadordolly, and 1 other like this.
  9. 2
    Yes, there are specific detox units and clinics that specialize in this, but if you work in the ICU, you will see it frequently. We get ETOH withdrawal patients that are there only for that reason, and we also get patients who are admitted for other reasons, but we start to notice s/s on day 4 or so. Also, any other kind of drug issue occurs, too. Overdose, whether incidental or intended. So, you can take care of patients with addiction in the ICU, too.

    However, your job is more to medically stabilize them, obviously, so there's not as much time to talk as there would be in a clinic; also, most of the time they are not lucid, though I did have 1 or 2 that became lucid who I was able to talk with regarding their addiction.

    Best of luck to you! They are an under-served area where people judge them all of the time. Yes, they chose to start drinking, but they didn't choose to become addicted. I would think being able to see them make a full turn-around would be very rewarding.
    ShaBBy23 and Meriwhen like this.
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    After realizing that I needed help for my own abuse of alcohol, entering treatment and embracing a life of recovery (yes that's the short and tidy version) I knew that I wanted to work in this field. I had already been nursing for 13 years in a variety of medical areas, but I found my passion through my own experience. After 4 years of working with "my peeps" I would be lying if I said that it's easy work for there are many frustrations and heartbreaks. It is challenging work, even to those of us that live in recovery daily and understand the way that addicts think. Having said that, there is not a day that I don't go home full of gratitude for my own sobriety and the opportunity to help another alcoholic or addict. My goal is to welcome them into recovery without judgement, but with hope and motivation!
    ShaBBy23 likes this.
  11. 3
    Congratulations on your recovery. I watched my stepmother battle her demons till it finally took her life. She was an RN for over 20 years and she was much more giving to other people than to herself. Stay strong and remember to care for yourself. She is my inspiration to become a nurse.


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