Considering becoming a nurse for a drug rehab center any advise?

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    I want to become a nurse. I haven't gone to school yet and am undecided on what type of nursing job to get. I was kind of thinking of going for a drug rehab job. It would be great if anyone could give me an idea of what I would be dealing with. The ups, the downs, salary, job availability and what not. Thanks.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

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    I have worked detox and rehab units and the thing to remember is that people in recovery have developed coping skills that appear highly manipulative,they can be extremely demanding and assertive and are often not like the grateful clients you find in a hospital medical/surgical setting.You have to have very good personal boundaries and be aware that the clients are often suffering physically as they detox but emotionally as well as they are being forced to come to terms with their own pain and the pain they have caused others.They can become aggressive and inappropriate at times in a way that you rarely see in a medical hospital.you may also find yourself administering medications to large numbers of people,i had 28 clients on varying detox protocols,they vary significantly from drug to drug,and this requires concentration and patience as people in withdrawal may come to the med window and yell at you. It can be very rewarding to work with these clients but you have to know yourself well and be able to separate your own personal issues from theirs and not be too crestfallen when a large number relapse...people have lots of different reasons for ending up in rehab,many of them having nothing to do with actually getting clean,but there is a lot to learn in this milieu and i would not trade the 3 years i worked with this population for anything...good luck with your choices
    elizabethgrad09, elkpark, Darisa05, and 4 others like this.
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    netsua sums it up beautifully......the only thing I can add is to read and study up on borderline personality disorder.....you will see quite a bit of them on a detox unit....
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    I worked 1 yr. drug and alcohol, the pay was not good; one is supposed to be there for altruistic reasons....ummmmm

    The patients can be very needy and manipulative, but that type of nursing is a real eye opener. I am glad I received the experience, because in any walk of life as a nurse on the floor; one is bound to come into contact with a patient who has a history. It also teaches you alot of psych; yes, dual diagnosis; it takes a special person to do this type of nursing and not get resentment toward the patients who are aggressive; needy and manipulative. A stern demeanor with absolute bounderies is absolutely essential.
    Evergreen09 likes this.
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    A lot of the time, working in detox/rehab can be very rewarding. And a lot of the time, working with the patients can feel like you're talking to the walls That being said, I love my job and am considering specializing/certification in addictions nursing.

    The other posters have got it pegged as to what the patients are like...and how you need to be to be successful at it. Don't have much more to add...except that yes, there is A LOT of dual diagnosis in there. And a lot of manipulative patients, and borderlines left and right. The textbook therapeutic communication that you learn in nursing school...the best way to describe it is that there needs to be a "tough love" twist added to it when it comes to detox/rehab or the patients will eat you alive.
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    Hello fellow nurses! I am a new grad LVN, and have recently been interviewed for a position at a Sober Living House... I was told that the compensation/benefits could not be discussed till my second interview, which I am going to go to next week..I was just wondering if any of you know how much I can expect? I am desperate for experience, but also need to be making money! LOL
    thanks, any help is appreciated!

    and by the way...weird thing...I was told that this was mostly a desk job, and my prime responsibility is to be ordering meds from the pharmacy, then packaging...then someone else picks them up and destributes to different 'houses'...where 'parent of the house' passes them out to clients... i was a little surprised that i woldn't be interacting with patients that much... and no charting! weird...
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    Quote from koslik1
    Hello fellow nurses! I am a new grad LVN, and have recently been interviewed for a position at a Sober Living House... I was told that the compensation/benefits could not be discussed till my second interview, which I am going to go to next week..I was just wondering if any of you know how much I can expect? I am desperate for experience, but also need to be making money! LOL
    thanks, any help is appreciated!

    and by the way...weird thing...I was told that this was mostly a desk job, and my prime responsibility is to be ordering meds from the pharmacy, then packaging...then someone else picks them up and destributes to different 'houses'...where 'parent of the house' passes them out to clients... i was a little surprised that i woldn't be interacting with patients that much... and no charting! weird...
    Sounds like you are talking about a "halfway house" type program, and those type programs, like group homes and other community based "live-in" programs typically use the v. least amount of licensed, educated staff possible (just enough to be able to keep the operation's license, in my experience) and rely heavily on non-professional "tech" type staff. Non-licensed people frequently give the meds in that kind of setting, and a program like that will often have only 1 RN or LPN who is responsible largely for the paperwork and chart QA stuff. You might want to be careful to investigate how much (legal) responsibility you will bear for the unlicensed people giving meds (like, are they actually working under/off of your license????)
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    thanks for the warning...wow...i haven't really thought about other people working off my license.
    and you are right...it is a type of living safeway house....i really didn't think i would be doing this
    after graduating, but its so hard to find any work for new grads right now, i feel like some companies
    are taking advantage of this situation by offering low pay and little experience..
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    Quote from koslik1
    its so hard to find any work for new grads right now, i feel like some companies are taking advantage of this situation by offering low pay and little experience..
    They are. (Of course, the type of program you're describing probably offered low pay, poor benefits, etc., to begin with.)
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    I am a bit new to this world. Nursing was the last thing I thought I would ever consider getting into. I work as a coding analyst currently, but find that I am being pulled more and more towards working towards a nursing degree in Drug Rehabilitiation. Call me alturistic, or naive, but I have a deep desire to bring people back. I would like to work primarily with heroin addicts. Where do I start? How do I begin this path? I have done hours of research, attended NA meetings, interviewed addicts at treatment centers...My company offers a program that pays for nursing courses, but my degree is in history...Totally lost on how to begin. Help?


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