A Better Today

Nurses and
Substance Abuse

Nurses are People Too: Drug & Alcohol Abuse in the Nursing Field

Nurses are the backbone of our health care system. No matter what a patient might be dealing with, nurses are always there to support their patients throughout the best and the worst situations.

They deal with stressors that are often unimaginable to the average worker. 12-hour workdays are often the norm, and their alertness during those 12-hours is critical. During it all, their main concern is to make sure that their patients receive the best care possible and are able to thrive. Nurses often work long work hours with rotating shifts and emergency overtime expectations that are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Nearly everyone who met the criteria also tested positive for nurse burnout syndrome (BOS).

According to the Journal of Clinical Nursing, approximately 20 percent of nurses struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A survey of 2,700 certified registered nurse anesthetists with 10 and 20 years of practice under their belts revealed nearly 9% misused opioids and more than 4 % misused midazolam, a sedative.

Even though nurses go through so much, they often do not get the support that they need. This leads to nurses finding other ways to cope with their stressors, which can, in the long run, lead to an addiction.