Can lpns become addictions nurses?

  1. 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 an option with an LPN degree?
    Any help would be much loved!
  2. Visit geekchic profile page

    About geekchic

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 24; Likes: 19


  3. by   BeJuled
    Maybe it depends on the area but I just got a job as an LVN in CA in a drug & alcohol detox and rehab facility. I'm still getting used to all of my duties but mainly I give meds, talk to the doctors and take orders, do admissions, drug testing, monitor withdrawal symptoms, send them to ER as necessary and I'm sure theres more but that's the majority of it!

    I like it so far, it can be stressful but I feel like its a good opportunity and a supportive working environment!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    When I was an LVN, I worked a PRN job at a psychiatric hospital on the adult chemical dependency unit. Almost all of my patients had substance abuse issues.
  5. by   royhanosn
    I love the terms used now for alcoholics, drug users..chemical dependency uses, addiction, substance abuse.
    calling a spade a spade, do they do a background check to see what/why these people started.
  6. by   poppycat
    Why would you need a background check to see why "these people" started? Chemical dependency & crime do not always go hand in hand!
  7. by   royhanosn
    that is the key to how & why these people got into drugs in the first place. !
  8. by   poppycat
    That's a very broad & biased generalization, royhanosn. I have absolutely no criminal background that would account for me becoming an alcoholic. To assume that every person with a substance abuse problem is a criminal is wrong. Most of the time the criminal acts are the result of the addiction. You need to study up a little & get your facts straight.
  9. by   SweetPEI
    I disagree royhanosn. Many people start using for various reasons. Criminal history may not be a part of it. Some people start using simply because of severe depression, developing an addiction to their prescription drugs, boredom, peer pressure, some people have even been forced to take drugs and then become addicted. And yes some people have a drug and criminal history that go hand in hand. A patient its a patient. Their history is available in their chart so that the healthcare team can know how to care for and develop a treatment plan for that patient. Background checks are not part of that. That is trying to find out information beyond what is necessary
  10. by   royhanosn
    not saying that! Agreed with patient history. Why did drug or booze problem start. A documentary yesterday about addiction (drugs or booze), showed the hot spots in the brain that are affected, frontal cortex. Sweet & Karen..if permitted, you have to look at the broader picture. The doctors I work with, get into the why of addiction. Background check is not meaning the cops. I am referring to the patient. They know why they got into. thanks for the return comments, good to see neurons being stimulated.
  11. by   poppycat
    Thank you for clarifying, rayhanosn. When you said background check, I thought you meant criminal background check. You do have to get as complete a history as the addicted person will allow. During active addiction, people tend not to be too truthful.
  12. by   SweetPEI
    Exactly, I wasn't sure if you meant patient history or criminal history which is why I said patient history is necessary for a treatment plan to be developed. Clarity is nice. Thanks
  13. by   libran1984

    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.
  14. by   demylenated
    Yes, 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.

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