Nursing is a very demanding profession. People have to obtain specialized training and commit to continued education throughout their careers to maintain their licenses. They have to work long shifts and may have to give up some of their personal time to be on call in case their employer needs additional support.
Not only is nursing demanding, but it comes with a host of risks. For example, those who work in nursing have a higher risk than others to develop substance abuse issues involving drugs or alcohol.
How prevalent is addiction in nursing?
The American Nurses Association estimates that almost 10% of nurses struggle with substance abuse, which is a higher rate than the general public.
People may turn to substances to help them relax after a difficult day or to treat symptoms like the pain they have from over-exerting themselves on the job. Regardless of why nurses turn to drugs or alcohol, it’s possible that their addictions could affect their jobs and their licensing.
Reports of addiction or medication theft could cost a nurse their license
It could be easier for nurses to maintain an addiction because they have access to narcotic pain relievers and other substances through their work. However, that access could end abruptly if someone faces criminal charges or if a patient makes a complaint to the state licensing board about a nurse’s behavior.
Allegations of medication misappropriation or addiction issues could lead to disciplinary action and even the loss of licensing for the nurse involved. Anyone facing disciplinary measures that could affect their professional license will have the right to defend themselves, just like they could against criminal charges. Responding appropriately to allegations of substance abuse could help a nurse protect their license and their career.