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Detox nursing is sucking the life out of me

Addictions   (32,804 Views | 34 Replies)

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Hey all, I was wondering if anyone with detox nursing experience would care to share their experience? I have been a detox RN for almost a year and I feel like it has made me jaded and is making me question why I even became a nurse. Some days are better than others, like any position, but rough shifts have me leaving feeling like I don't even want to do this anymore. Has anyone else had experience in this area, like this? Manipulative pt's aside... I don't have anymore in me to deal with being spoken down to, lied to and yelled at. I'm sure this happens in any unit but does detox carry a bit more of this sort of thing?

- frustrated

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

5 Followers; 10 Articles; 14,905 Posts; 165,322 Profile Views

Check out the posts in our Addictions Nursing forum for member advice and support.... you will see similar concerns with this specialty.

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6 Posts; 895 Profile Views

I so feel your pain, I'm in Detox unit almost 2 years now, my first job. Starting to feel bitter, patients are so needy, demanding. I used to think that maybe I would make a difference in someone life, but not very much any more, I see the same faces over and over again, for most , I have no sympathy anymore, and I feel terrible about that. I'm always seeing patient's that didn't make it, in the obits. Been looking for a job for 2 years now, feeling like I'm "stuck" in addictions and can't get out, no Med surg floor wants a detox nurse, so I'm pretty much a "lifer" which infuriates me, this is not why I went back to school. Sorry for the rant. Good luck to you.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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"being spoken down to, lied to and yelled at." Is this management or patients?

Seriously.. this is the manipulative drug seeker's behavior. Managing and treating this behavior is part of the treatment protocol. Your facility should have a plan in place to deal with it.

Being spoken down to is a subjective experience.. just remember, YOU are the one with the keys.

Unclear on what you mean by being lied to.

As far as being yelled AT... h*ll to the no, turn and walk away. They'll stop yelling when they realize it will only take that much longer to get their meds.What is the facilities protocol for managing that behavior?

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nurse2033 is a MSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU.

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I don't work in your specialty but I've had rough patches in my career. Hating my job was one... You need to adjust your attitude. I don't mean you have a bad attitude, but you need to look at your job in a different way. Since what you are doing isn't working for you, do something different. I started to focus on my own internal compass of what I felt was a good day, not what I was receiving from my dysfunctional workplace. My problem was management, not the patients, but it took me a long time to readjust so I could at least, not hate going to work. Every job has its ups and downs so this skill will serve you well over your career. Look for makes you feel good at work and focus on that. If there is truly nothing, ask yourself what would be different in a different environment. Sometimes leaving is the best choice, but not the only one. I hope that helps...

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4 Posts; 589 Profile Views

I've worked in Psych hospital over 21 years, 20 of it on detox. It is hard

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4 Posts; 589 Profile Views

sorry, hit the wrong button...It is hard, physically and mentally. It's disheartening to see the same ones time and time again. But when you get new unfamiliar patients, you can have hope again that you are making a difference in somebody's life. There are so many who come in the hospital just to get detoxed for the next binge, pacify the judge, trying to get a check (this is the one I hate the most), etc., but every once I awhile, I get someone who says "I have to change my life or I'll lose everything--my job, family, home and my life, I'm sick of living like this and I need help". The trick is to not let the rest of the patients jade that new patient before you can make your impression. I've even had patients tell me "I don't see how you can keep doing this, with all that you have to put up with" (This coming from patients who were admitting they gave me a hard time). I try to get past all of the nasty personality disorders that are so ingrained in addicts, and if I can see one person a month that I 've made a difference in, I'm pretty satisfied. That being said, I work in a short term, acute care, stand alone psych hospital, 45 beds divided up into 2 adult psych units, 1 adolescent unit, 1 dual diagnosis/detox unit. Now the treatment we get from management is another story, harder to deal with. We do get lied to, short staffed, poorly equipped, etc. all to make that almighty budget look good. It all comes down to how much you can deal with in a healthy and constructive manner. Keep your options open, look around, do some networking. Chin up!

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nursej22 has 30 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in med/surg,CV.

1 Follower; 1,365 Posts; 34,727 Profile Views

I work on a cardiac telemetry unit, but the powers that be decided we should "elevate the bar" and become a Progressive Care Unit. So in exchange for a slightly better staffing ratio we have become the ETOH detox. unit, in addition to cardiac care. We are bleeding, no, hemorrhaging RNs and CNAs.

Everyone is running from the get-go, dealing with elderly patients being diuresed (fall-risk), ETOH and narcotic withdrawal, and open heart surgery patients with pump head and demanding families.

Off to work soon, hope I don't get peed or spit on, again.

P.S. What does hand sanitizer taste like, anyway? Apparently ours is 61% ethanol and the preferred drink of some...

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Roy Hanson has 36 years experience and specializes in as above.

211 Posts; 6,568 Profile Views

hand sanitizer...alcohol and soap, also over rated. wipes the germs from your hand that you need to protect yourself, use gloves.

your getting too involved. Some detox people are habitual, dont become part of it. Its their problem NOT yours. Develop a thicker skin.

Many of these people are looking for a shoulder and mommy image to cry on, dont be it. They have never been told NO! Becuase everyone patronizes them and their stupidity.

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nursej22 has 30 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in med/surg,CV.

1 Follower; 1,365 Posts; 34,727 Profile Views

Roy, I am not sure what your post means.We have hand sanitizer at the door of every room and are required to use it every time in and out of a room, even if gloves are worn.

Staff are leaving because caring for addicts is not what they signed up for.

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Roy Hanson has 36 years experience and specializes in as above.

211 Posts; 6,568 Profile Views

EVEN if gloves are worn! then what is purpose of hand sanitizer. IN the old days, we wore gloves IF there were open wounds. As for sanitizer...soap and water going in, leaving out. Staff are leaving? Wow! They are nurses..you are assigned. You take the assignment. Staff get away with a lot of silly stuff these days. You can learn alot from addicts, as why they became addicts, home life, pressure, job. You can learn alot from celebrities who die from addiction, and those that did not.

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