Inpatient Detox Nursing

  1. Hello, I am looking for information on what inpatient detox nurses do at work and see on a regular basis. What skills should I look to work on during my preceptorship if this is my goal down the road? I am finishing my ADN program this June and eventually look forward to working as a Psych Nurse. Lately I am drawn toward drug and alcohol detox. I am asked to describe goals related to career goals and goals for my preceptorship on my paperwork for school. I would love to have input from nurses who are currently practicing at detox centers. Thanks!
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    About RNratched

    Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 38; Likes: 3
    Chest Pain Center RN
    Specialty: CPU, ICU, HD,CPC,OPSU,PSY


  3. by   RNratched
    yeah, i accidently posted this twice. i couldn't figure out how to delete it once i did it and i appologize for the confusion...:imbar

    no problem...fixed it.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Feb 8, '06
  4. by   RNratched
    Hmmmmm...An inpatient detox center? Is that right? Am I describing something that doesn't exist as an actual job or am I thinking maybe rapid detox? What is a rapid detox program? Can anyone help me out?:selfbonk:
    Thanks, simssn
  5. by   Thunderwolf
    Be patient...someone will answer.
  6. by   nursekelly217
    Hi simssn,

    About a year and a half ago I moved from Med-Surg to inpatient drug/etoh detox nursing... all I can say is that it is very different from all other nursing. On a daily basis I fluctuate from a medical nurse to a psych nurse to a correctional officer (only sort of kidding here!). It is a very interesting job and as nurses, we are the only medical staff in the building most of the time, and therefore are required to have superior assessment skills... for both medical and psych issues. However, our recidivism rate is ridiculously high and the successes we see are minimal and my family tells me I am much more cynical now. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.
  7. by   Nanaie4ever
    Hi Simmssn:
    In pt detox units vary a lot. I worked on a dual dx unit which was run by a very skilled Psychiatrist/addictiononologist. We had team mtgs every day, meeting with every client on the unit. The nurses worked with the counselors on the floor, monitoring VS, withdrawal symptoms, mood, ability to interact with others, level of motivation for change. We have had many many repeats, but that is the nature of this type of beast which we dealt with. The best times were when a client came back after 6months to a year of not hearing from them (they would have been the "repeaters" for the previous 6 months to a year) and they were sober, had a place to live and had a job. They would come in and be ever so thankful for the help they received. Others never seem to make it. Anyway, there is lots of documentation, diffferent meds to learn, some of which are not given unless 2 nurses are giving the med together. Learning to discern the difference from w/d sx and just plain old med seeking behavior. Also a lot of alcholics and drug addicts have a very manipulative side to them to begin with, you have to make sure they aren't in their rooms doing jumping jacks prior to vs being takekn. We would actually make some of them sit for 15" in front of us prior to checking vs. I loved it, it was a nice change for me from straight psych of 19 years. Been at it 3 yrs now and would advice anyone to give it a try. But you do need your medical skills to be top notch also as there are all the times you can run into DT's, Szs, HTN r/t only to w/d; when to give certain meds and when not to give them. Good luck. Teh
  8. by   RNratched
    Hi, thanks for the input. I have been super busy with school the last week or so and haven't had time to check back here until now. I was very excited to read the replies as they are exactly what I was looking for. I anticipate the manipulative personalities and repeaters. Anyhow, I am glad to hear that I will be able to utilize my medical skills as I know I would miss them. I would be absolutely out of my own mind though if I had to work on a medsurg floor.
    I'm sure I will have more questions as I prepare for my preceptorship and graduation.
    Thanks! SimsSN