Detox facility, new RN and pregnancy?

  1. So here it is. I have an upcoming interview for a detox center which seems VERY interesting. It is ONLY a detox center/ not hospital. I'm a new RN and would hope to start this job in the next few weeks. My husband and I have been planning on a baby and my husband seems concerned about this type of work environment if/when I do get pregnant.

    Is there a lot of violence in detox facilities? What is the general day/night like as a nurse? Job duties? Do they have security? I'd prefer to hear about all the RISK factors associated with this line of work (higher chance of Hep B or HIV, assault, ect..). Thanks.
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    About CrazyFLBean

    Joined: Jan '07; Posts: 27; Likes: 3


  3. by   Thunderwolf
    You raise many good questions for yourself.

    Much depends upon the facility, where it is located (inner/outer city), the policies, procedures, and training of personnel, the staff/patient ratio, and the availability of the physician/medical access (ie the ED).

    Detox is its own little world in the big world of nursing and medicine. The best nurses who do well in detox are those who have had both the experience in medical and psych nursing. Also, the best detox nurses are equally competent to work as a team member as well as function fairly independently...who can critically think on his/her own two feet. If a patient shows signs of decompensating either mentally, emotionally, or need to know how to differentially assess and intervene appropriately. Providing just one example, if you have a heroin user who happens to have a history of asthma....knowing and anticipating that withdrawal may exacerbate the presence of an asthmatic attack. Are you knowledgeable of this? How would you intervene? Another example could be a person with schizophrenia with prolonged QT EKG changes, in detox for alcohol, and the physician decides to change a psych med...a new med that runs a significant risk of prolonging the QT interval even more. Would you know what to look for, what to assess, and what to ask for from the physician before initiating this med change? If not, depending upon that patient and how long his/her QT is normally prolonged, are you ready to code him/her on the floor when he/she goes into a Torsades rhythm?

    I don't mean to scare you none, but I do wish to point out that detox nursing is serious nursing at its best in the realm of psych...because often, it overlaps both the medical and psych fields.

    So, look at those questions you have regarding personal safety and readiness. Present them, if you are still interested, upon your interview. Then go home, discuss with your husband, and then listen to your gut.

    Many have entered detox nursing with little or no experience and have done fine. But, if you do decide to go into this realm of nursing, you will need to grow.

    My best to you.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on May 1, '09
  4. by   tashapeterson29
    I work in drug and alcohol detox on the night shift. I am the only nurse on a detox unit with up to 15 clients. I have one tech that works the night shift with me. I do not know of us ever having a violent occurance here but occasionally a patient does get irate and you must be able to deal with it. There is alot to learn, detox like any other specialized field of nursing is a whole differant world. I don't think that the risk of violence is any higher than it would be working in an ER.