Substance abuse nurses help patients overcome their additions to various substances such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine and various other abusive substances that may have a negative impact on the well being, relationships and general health of an individual.
These nurses use their expertise and medical training to educate patients and families about the negative consequences of taking addictive substances and help patients wane off of these substances in as painless a manner as possible.
Substance abuse nurses also develop treatment plans, educate communities about substance abuse and advocate for better healthcare practices among other tasks related to improving the lives of individuals suffering from substance abuse.
Because most substance abuse additions are caused by both the patients mental and physical dependencies on the substance these nurses are educated and trained to deal with and treat both the psychological and physiological components of the patients they are helping in order to provide a more affective treatment and recovery process.
In many cases substance abuse nurses may be found working in rehabilitation clinics, outpatient centers, healthcare clinics, hospitals, homecare and substance abuse facilities.
Although less common substance abuse nurses may also specialize in helping other nurses are themselves dealing with substance abuse.
In these situations a nurse may find relief from work overload, family problems or depression through addictive substances which may consequently have a negative impact on their work performance.
Individuals who would like to start a career as a substance abuse nurse must first go through a nursing program and earn their ASN or BSN degree from an accredited school.
After finishing nursing school and passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) RN’s may apply for a career in the nursing field.
From their RN’s must obtain several years of training (3 or more years) as a registered nurse or acquire two years of experience working in substance abuse before taking the certified addictions registered nurse certification exam.
Upon completion of the exam registered nurses may then apply for a job as a substance abuse nurse.
Note: While gathering experience in the nursing field potential substance abuse nurses may choose to take certification courses and additional education classes related to substance abuse and patient psychology in order to obtain additional experience and equip themselves with the skills they need to be successful as a substance abuse nurse.