Substance Abuse Research Paper

1453 Words 6 Pages
Drug abuse is a chronic public health issue that effects people in every level of our society. Drug abuse effects more than just the user. It interferes with relationships, status I society, health, and one’s employment. According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), approximately 10 percent of nurses reported dependency on drugs while working in the field (Copp, 2009). Why is it that nurses have a relatively high incidence of substance abuse? The goal of this research paper is to present insight to what substances are commonly abused, and dig deeper into the lives of nurses and determine why such high numbers of substance abuse have been charted, especially for anesthetic nurses and anesthesiology students. This paper will also discuss …show more content…
Nurse who specialize in anesthesia, critical care, oncology and psychiatry are believed to have the highest rates of substance abuse. As Jeri Burn tells in her story about her own addiction to opioids, nurses are often subject working night and rotating shifts, doing critical care work, working excessive overtime, suffering musculoskeletal injuries and pain, and having a great knowledge of medicine (Hastings, 2007). All of these are major stressors on the mind and body. There are 3 major occupational hazards, common in all healthcare professions, that may influence the chances of developing substance abuse issues. They are stress, access, and attitude. There was a study conducted that examined how students perceived stress in nurse anesthesia programs, as well as how available stress management resources were. 73 percent of the students surveyed said they were in the major life crisis category, as measured by the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, which put them at a higher possible risk for illness, injury or other adverse outcomes like substance abuse (Bozimowski, 2014). Nurses often times must work long hours, including nights, and they have high responsibility to patients. Controlled medications were commonly seen by nurses as a mechanism for coping with the stressful situations they are faced with, and relieve their anxiety that is associated with the …show more content…
It can be very harmful and difficult to try and cease the use of drugs once someone is addicted to them. As many times we learn, prevention starts with education. Detrimental to this cause is the fact that even today, there is no standard for substance abuse education in medical schools or anesthesia programs. On a positive note, formal substance abuse education has increased in 123 anesthesiology resident programs by 47 percent and much of the education is mandatory (Wright, 2012). There are also many signs to look for in finding out if a nurse is diverting drugs for their own use and abusing them. These signs may include arriving early or staying late at work, coming in on days off, excessive “wasting” of drugs, volunteering to give other nurses patients their medications, and frequent bathroom breaks. If a patient reports unrelieved pain despite an adequate prescription said to have been given to them, this may be an easy sign that the nurse is abusing drugs (Hastings,

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