It is estimated that at least 10 percent of nurses have a substance abuse problem. There is no doubt that the nursing profession comes with extremely long hours, heartache, exhaustion, stress, and underpaid. Not to mention an endless supply of pharmaceutical drugs. This perfect setting has unfortunately led many nurses down a path they never thought they would see.
Fortunately, Wayside House is a registered treatment provider for the Intervention Project for Nurses. This project is a state of Florida approved the alternative to disciplinary action on nursing licenses.
The High Costs of Nursing
Generally, nurses hold a pretty thankless job. They are well known to do almost if not all of the heavy lifting around medical facilities, get the brunt of stress and responsibility, and usually without a decent break.
However, despite the hardships that come along with nursing, it is a calling for most who do it. Men and women don’t go into nursing because they don’t want to help people. They live for it, they put blood, sweat, and tears into their profession, which means that most don’t want to lose their ability to serve others because of an addiction.
- Nurses walk an average of 4-5 miles a day
- Nurses on average remain on their feet for 12 hours a day
- Nursing students make up more than half of all health profession students
- The top occupational health concern of nurses in back injury
- It is estimated that 1 in 10, or 10-15% of all nurses may be suffering from, or in recovery from a substance use disorder or addiction
- The reported most common substances abused by healthcare professionals are cocaine, Ritalin, methamphetamines, sleeping pills, antidepressant, morphine, Demerol, Vicodin, and Codeine
Substance Abuse in the Nursing Field
Throughout the high levels of stress, the usually thankless hours, the fatigue and exhaustion, one could wonder why the rates of substance abuse in nursing aren’t more prevalent. However, before the 1980’s nurses were usually just fired by their employers and stripped of their license if there were signs of substance abuse.
Luckily, the Board of Nursing has created non-disciplinary options that simply require involvement in a rehabilitation program, and putting the license on hold until it is shown that safety and sobriety are met. Just like anyone else, when a nurse is given the opportunity to recover in a specially tailored and supportive environment, it is possible to return to their practice.
The Intervention Project for Nurses
IPN programs include the coordination of fitness for practice evaluation, treatment referral options, monitoring, and support for nurses looking to get back on their feet. Not only do IPN programs help nurses with substance abuse disorders, but also with a wide range of other psychiatric, psychological, or physical conditions.
- Since it’s origin, the Intervention Project for Nurses has rehabilitated over 20,000 nurses.
- IPN programs do not replace inpatient or outpatient treatment but are more focused on supplemental counseling and support to help nurses go back to their career
- They require nurses to attend to weekly IPN groups and drug testing
- The Intervention Project for Nurses urges participants to remain committed to a recovery community outside of the weekly groups, such as 12 step fellowships.
Wayside House is a haven for women only. That being said, the topics of discussion at the weekly IPN program meetings center around recovery-based practices and issues that directly relate to and focus on women.
Depending upon the stipulations set forth by each individuals case, the probationary or contract period for the Intervention Project for Nurses can be up to 5 years.
The Benefits of Preliminary Inpatient Treatment
Some of the most common reasons why many nurses don’t receive specialized treatment for their substance abuse disorder is simply because they fear to lose their job if they take the time off, or not being able to care for their loved ones.
However, in some cases, inpatient treatment is the safest and most effective option towards a healthy and safe recovery. It is common for nurses to abuse alcohol, benzodiazepines, and painkillers. These are all extremely painful and even potentially fatal withdrawal and detox processes.
In situations where a nurse has found that they are not only mentally addicted, but also physically dependent, a stay in an inpatient recovery center will help them to detach from the stress of everyday living, and to stay away from substances for an extended period of time.
Not to mention, inpatient treatment provides the opportunity to work directly with trained therapists to discover the underlying cause of the addiction. In some cases, it could simply have been overworking and stress. In others, substance abuse could come from an early trauma or unresolved emotional turmoil.
The Importance of Recovery for Nurses
With the ever-increasing opioid crisis, the record highs of heart disease and obesity, the thyroid disease, cancers, and every other increasing health problem that this country is facing, we are in desperate need for well qualified and trained nursing professionals.
No nurse that has an issue with substance abuse should be banned from returning to their career if they show that they are making a full recovery and have the public healthcare in mind.
Addiction can happen to anyone, and with the daily stressors and pressure of nursing, it is no surprise that many find they develop a substance use disorder on the job. This doesn’t have to mean the end of a nursing career. With the specialized treatment plan at Wayside House, nurses are able to regain their standings in their profession and continue to work in a field that they love.
Getting Help at Wayside House
If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.