Can lpns become addictions nurses? - page 2
by geekchic 6,391 Views | 16 Comments
hey everyone! I am currently enrolled in LPN school and exploring all my career options. Although I am sold on geriatrics I have always been interested in psychology so I was wondering if a career as an addictions nurse was an... Read More
- 2Jul 9, '12 by libran1984Geekchic,
I'm an LPN in an Emergency Department. I was an LPN who refused to go into LTC and chose places as my first jobs in corrections and methadone clinics. I believe these two options fall under addictions nursing.
Corrections was very difficult because the clientele was so unruly and the turn over was fast there was rarely anyone there long enough to properly learn from. However, if you were lucky one and could couple up with an experienced nurse, you could learn soooo much about s/s of heroine abuse, cocaine abuse, alcohol intoxication, etc. There was little in the way of treatment within corrections other than let them sleep it off and detox under observation.
As an ED LPN I now learned treatment like banana bags, narcan, High flow oxygen nonrebreather, etc. It really put two and two together for me.
The best place I think was the methadone clinic. I never held a job there b/c I was offered the ED job simultaneously. Yet, during my interview i learned so much. The LPN was responsible for gathering the clinical data and observations (which an NP would sign off at the end of the day as an assessment), performing blood draws, urine samples, and recognizing s/s of those who needed immediate interventions. No RNs, other than NPs were employed by the methadone clinic. The largest part of the LPNs duty was to become a fast food server. Let me explain....
Throughout the day, there would be long long long lines people with substance abuse history requiring a regular dose methadone. These people would form a line along 4-5 nurses behind a bullet proof glass wall. The patient would pass their driver's license under the glass and the nurse would verify the patient's identity along side the license, a high tech computer profile picture, and of course the patient themselves. The nurse would then collect cash from the patient and retrieve a liquid dose of methadone from a giant methadone milk shake machine. The patient would receive this paid in full dose and be on their way for the next day or two. The LPNs working there said it was the best job they'd ever had and all of them loved it with a great passion, rotation through responsibilities on a regular basis. They would work along side MHP's, NPs, and a physician who oversaw the clinic. It was a wonderful dynamic from all outward apparences.
PS- I would love it if you responded, Geekchic, if this helped inspire you any.
- 8Jul 19, '12 by demylenatedYes, I’ve been an LPN for 13 years. I’ve spent every one in Psych. The last 6 specifically in an addiction clinic that I helped co-found. It is an amazing job. We are different from the typical clinic. We treat with IV amino acids which help repair the damage caused to the neurotransmitters in the brain from the drugs. We have a 70-80% success rate… almost unheard of. We don't simply trade addictions (replacement therapy, i.e. methadone, suboxone). 10 days, little to no withdrawal, and clean and usually craving free by day 10. Then the patients enters therapy, because that is ESSENTIAL. Also we try and get the family into therapy to change their outlook and change the environment. ALL very important in recovery.
A little information:
The initial decision to take drugs is mostly voluntary. However, when drug abuse takes over, a person's ability to exert self control can become seriously impaired. Brain imaging studies from drug-addicted individuals show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control.
ADDICTION IS A BRAIN DISEASE! Addiction occurs in a subconscious area of the brain that is not under conscious control, the mesolimbic dopamine system. The brain mediates behavior. If there is a problem with the decision-making portion of the brain, can people say Addicts have poor “will-power” when that portion of the brain is not working properly? The disease of addiction is NOT a disease due to CHARACTER, but a disease due to CHEMISTRY. We depend on our brain's ability to release dopamine in order to experience pleasure and to motivate our responses to the natural rewards of everyday life. Drugs produce very large and rapid dopamine surges and the brain responds by reducing normal dopamine activity. Eventually, the disrupted dopamine system renders the addict incapable of feeling any pleasure even from the drugs they seek to feed their addiction.
A person takes a drug of abuse (marijuana, cocaine, alcohol...) and activates brain circuits linked to survival (eating, bonding). The brain wants it repeated. The need for drugs becomes more important than any other need (eating, love). The addict no longer seeks the drug for pleasure, but for "survival." Finally, control, choice and everything valuable in life (family, job) are lost to the disease of addiction.
Studies show that people diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to also suffer from a drug use disorder, and the inverse is also true. We need to treat the underlying condition and stop self-medicating. Self medicating HURTS and messes with the neuro-chemistry of your brain.
As you can see, I am passionate about understanding and educating about addiction. This a great starting point to help you understand more, instead of “treating” in the typical judgment filled stigma-laced way addicts are treated.
- 1Aug 13, '12 by shrinkyrn@ demylenated.....Awesome description and understanding of addiction...I have been an RN in the field of psych and addictions for 38 years....(takes deep breath)....I have worked with RN's who lack that knowledge...Kudos to you!!!Last edit by shrinkyrn on Aug 13, '12 : Reason: address to demylenated
- 1Aug 23, '12 by thtonya1234I came straight out of nursing school, persuing a job in psych and addiction. I landed the perfect job on a MICA unit as an LPN and was able to do so much there. From meds, to groups, to 1:1's, obtain my IV certification and BAT and drug testing certifications, although I wanted to get my certification in Addiction counseling, it wasn't allowed for LPN's....only RN's...It used to be that an LPN could obtain a certification in addiction counseling, but then was changed to RN. Kinda stinks to have to go further on for your RN when you don't want to, but you'd like to further your LPN by specializing! Best of luck to you! and each state may be different. This was in Pennsylvania.