What does an addictions nurse do at work?

  1. My agency just called with a new contract at drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I think it would be a nice change of pace since I've only ever worked in LTC but doing something new is kinda scary at the same time. What does the nurse do in a facility like that besides pass medication? I don't want to say yes to an assignment I'm not comfortable with.
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    Joined: Mar '14; Posts: 85; Likes: 146


  3. by   marvelmom
    I should probably mention it is an inpatient facility.
  4. by   Qteapi
    It is not a walk in the park that is for sure! But it is rewarding....you do everything from passing meds to teaching, leading groups, being a referee to being a punching bag! It is not for the faint at heart....cause you will be called everything but a child of God sometimes!
  5. by   copelin7
    It has it's moments. But it is an awarding job when you help give someone a new start on life.
  6. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from marvelmom
    I should probably mention it is an inpatient facility.
    Are you an LVN or RN - If you are an LVN you will most likely be passing meds to patients who are detoxing. This includes monitoring vitals, hydration and nutrition status. All Nurses in addiction medicine doing a lot of talking and reassuring patients. If it's a 12 step model there will be a lot of talk about God and Higher power etc.....if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable i would take a pass.

  7. by   tom7044
    I work in a free standing, medical detox unit. we have patients from three to five days and see them through acute withdrawal and use mostly Valium and Suboxone (for our) opiate addicted patients. I love what I do because it is never the same. Besides the routine of passing medications, doing assessments and triaging patients requesting admission, there are always unusual situations that makes each patients care challenging. Perhaps they are using a combination of substances and knowing what protocol to use and talking with the providers to get orders, can be very challenging. Often the patients give very complex and convoluted, conflicting histories. Sorting through the information and formulating a plan of care can be difficult at times. I do a lot of physical assessments before the providers see the patient. This is most important in getting the orders and implementing them. We are not attached to a hospital and we are an acute care facility so determining which patients can be taken care of safely in our facility and those that need to be seen by an ER physician is a large part of what I do. The other thing; the attitudes of many of the clients can be difficult to deal with for some nurses. Often angry, entitled, victims, resistant to help is something that you have to work with. Also, some have complex medical problems made worse by drug and alcohol issues. Heart disease, HTN, Diabetes and other problems that are often neglected by the addicted client make the job even more complicated but not impossible. I do a tremendous amount of patient education on an informal basis, i.e, when giving medications or helping with diabetics diet choices. This is my favorite job in years. I was CARN certified two years ago and I am grateful for that certification because it gives me recognition as having the specialized body of knowledge required to provide the best care possible. Good luck!
  8. by   Mandycane.xo
    I work in outpatient addictions. It is basically a methadone clinic. Patients come in, we dispense their methadone, and they leave unless they're scheduled to see the doc or counselors. We do urine tests, pregnancy tests, blood work, TB tests. You actually would be surprised at the skills that you do utilize and how much you learn about different meds. Good luck!
  9. by   WonderousIvy
    I work in an inpatient detox in California. I'm a new grad LVN I don't find the experience challenging or even interesting. I'm the youngest nurse in our company and feel as though people try to take advantage of me because of my age . I appreciate the laid back atmosphere however,I'm looking forward to a new setting.
  10. by   yhl1975
    I am OASIS outpatient program RN this is not union position, Per diem contract. My job is to do following: health assessments/ referrals for full physicals /labs/ x-ray / referrals to ER / First Aid ( seizures, chest pain, withdrawals and patient education/ staff education regarding Infection control per my contract ( in the past I did groups, but for full for profit OASIS RN'S are expensive providers and the hourly pay for CASAC is lower, so all "non nursing" coordination, case management, phone calls to the pharmacy, phone calls to the clients, urine screening and other done by other providers )I can do only what my contract was sighed for. For labs/medication management for HIV and Hep B/C other-my directors sighed the contract with Ryan Center
    William F Ryan Community Health Network , for TB /x-ray I am sending patients for free to Health Department.
    For Hep ABC other we singed the contract with The Mount Sinai Hepatitis C Outreach and Treatment Program.
  11. by   Maevish
    Quote from marvelmom
    I should probably mention it is an inpatient facility.

    I think it takes a special kind of crazy (just like any specialty does lol)

    kickA** username, by-the-way!!