how hard is it to break into addiction nursing?

  1. For so many reasons- both personal and professional- that are too long winded to get into here, I believe I really am meant to be in addictions nursing. I have a degree in psychology and personal experience with support groups for both behavioral health and addictions.

    I have never formally worked with this patient population though and am looking into several outpatient facilities in my area. Will they honestly even consider me? I'd be completely willing and eager and honored to start off low man on the totem pole. Simply want the opportunity to get my foot in the door and prove myself.

    What are my chances?

    Thanks!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   kim47
    Addictions positions would be easier to obtain than straight psych nursing, at least in my area of New England. One thing to consider is that it may be hard to transition out if you don't care for it because it's so different from most nursing. I work in inpt. detox and they do hire new nurses. Good luck.
  4. by   heynow1313
    Thanks. I am speaking with people at Banyan Treatment Center. I really hope I get a shot and appreciate your honest feedback.
  5. by   Buyer beware
    OP:
    As you are probably aware by your reference to Banyan Treatment Centers, here in South Florida the treatment of substance abuse is a billion dollar business.
    People from all over the United States come here to detox in varying degrees of comfortable surroundings from beachside villas with swaying palm trees to barracks-like accommodations nestled discreetly into middle class communities as to make them appear as innocuous as possible.
    You may have seen a commercial on TV with a young bearded man dressed in scrubs with a cheap stethoscope strewn around his neck exhorting the afflicted as to of the importance of seeking treatment. (and they can always help)
    These commercials function as concentrating centers and brokers for detox businesses that pay handsomely to have their services considered by those in need.
    As a result of the epidemic of substance abuse ranging from the very young to the elderly, many nursing positions are available in inpatient as well as outpatient venues; and that's the good news.
    Now for the alternative perspective: Many of these businesses are operated by individuals, believe it or not, who have zero experience in providing substance abuse services; except for the fact that they may have been substance abusers at one time themselves.
    Many are also Social Workers or Psychologists or Lawyers and others who also happen to be business oriented people with access to working capital who recognize a gold mine when they see it.
    So where does all this leave the nursing professionals? Well despite all the training and the importance of hopefully being able to identify the seriously ill from the healthy but addicted patient, the nurse very often becomes a mindless technically oriented functionary dispensing the usual ever tampering dosing of this or that prescribed medication. (not very challenging, but it's a living, I guess)
    So at the the risk of underplaying the importance of these businesses to society, it is important to know that the recidivism rate for substance abuse patients is up to 60%.
    With this said, maybe this figure would be much less if the profit motive was subsumed under the aegis of the true-blue Nursing Profession.
    So, OP thank you for the thread and the opportunity to advocate for nurses owning the means of production.
    That nurse among nurses might be YOU!
  6. by   DL66
    Be willing to take any job available at a substance abuse/addiction center. After working many years as a clinic LPN in Internal medicine/family practice, working 8-5, no holidays,weekends,nights etc.. I applied for and was hired for a position working 10 hours every other weekend and continued to work my main job at an Internal medicine/family practice. After the first day at the Addiction clinic, I knew that I had found my calling. Now 6 months later, I have been offered and accepted a .70 fte position. It can be hard to break into because the job turnover is usually very low (at least it is at the clinic that I work at)......you might also consider finding and asking a clinic that you want to work at, if they would consider hiring you per diem. Good luck.
  7. by   heynow1313
    Quote from DL66
    Be willing to take any job available at a substance abuse/addiction center. After working many years as a clinic LPN in Internal medicine/family practice, working 8-5, no holidays,weekends,nights etc.. I applied for and was hired for a position working 10 hours every other weekend and continued to work my main job at an Internal medicine/family practice. After the first day at the Addiction clinic, I knew that I had found my calling. Now 6 months later, I have been offered and accepted a .70 fte position. It can be hard to break into because the job turnover is usually very low (at least it is at the clinic that I work at)......you might also consider finding and asking a clinic that you want to work at, if they would consider hiring you per diem. Good luck.

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. That's sound advice that I will take and I am happy to hear you found your calling. Best of luck to you!
  8. by   DL66
    In reference to "Buyer Beware" s comment. I am employed by a nonprofit hospital. I have no knowledge of how "for profit centers" operate. Besides dosing patients, I also do nurse intakes, sedation checks, numerous other clinical nurse skills also needed for Primary care and run new patient educational groups about Nutrition, Opiates and the brain as well as STDs. We visually and verbally assess patients daily and perform EKGs, Lab tests etc.
  9. by   MethotrexateMillie
    Quote from Buyer beware
    OP:
    As you are probably aware by your reference to Banyan Treatment Centers, here in South Florida the treatment of substance abuse is a billion dollar business.
    People from all over the United States come here to detox in varying degrees of comfortable surroundings from beachside villas with swaying palm trees to barracks-like accommodations nestled discreetly into middle class communities as to make them appear as innocuous as possible.
    You may have seen a commercial on TV with a young bearded man dressed in scrubs with a cheap stethoscope strewn around his neck exhorting the afflicted as to of the importance of seeking treatment. (and they can always help)
    These commercials function as concentrating centers and brokers for detox businesses that pay handsomely to have their services considered by those in need.
    Ahh yes, they run those commercials endlessly in my neck of the woods and they are some of the cheesiest commercials around-even more than that woman who hawks "dump cakes".
    have you noticed that those treatment centers/brokers being advertised only accept "Private Insurance?" If they accepted federal money they must prove they use methods proven by peer- reviewed studies.
  10. by   AlannaCT
    I also agree with youDL66. I also have no idea how for profit centers work, and have worked in a nonprofit substance abuse facility for many years. I cannot disagree with Buyer Beware more regarding our facility. I have used my assessment skills more here than on a med-surg floor. Along with the nursing skills you mentioned our nursing staff of RNs has assessed many clients with pneumonia, bronchitis, active MI, active stroke, pulmonary edema, hypertensive crisis, cellulitis, diabetic necrosis, untreated diabetes, HIV, STDs, Hep C and B along with providing clients in need of Psychiatric and mental health care, and a long term pcp. Addiction nurses do way more than just treat addiction. We are educators, community health nurses, psych nurses, as well as the first line of any medical assessment the majority of our clients have had sometimes in years. This doesn't include the clients who come in with untreated dental issues, that we nurses first recognize examine and provide needed care for.

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