DRUG & ALCOHOL NURSING

  1. I AM A REGISTERED NURSE FROM AUSTRALIA,AND WOULD BE INTERESTED TO HEAR OTHER D&A NURSES SPEAK ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES IN THIS LINE OF NURSING, ANY TAKERS
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Hello frematus! You've asked a pretty broad question here! But here goes...

    As the name implies, I work OB now. But I worked (for about a year) prior to this at a 6 week inpatient drug & alcohol treatment facility for women. I can't figure out why, but I've always been fascinated with addiction and the recovery process. It was a job that I honestly loved. It was, however, extremely emotionally draining! Now when I get home from work I feel physical pain, my feet ache, my back hurts, etc. At that job, when the day was over, it was my head and my heart that ached. The things that I saw and the stories that I heard still send chills up my spine to this day. But I remember all of their names, and see them occasionally here and there. I sleep at night because I know that, whether their treatment was successful or not, I was there for them for 6 weeks.

    Another important thing about that job was the lessons it taught me about judgement. Just when I was at the end of my rope with "all these junkies" (no backlash please! We all have lapses in sanity and get a little jaded!) in would walk the new patient who looked just like my little old lady kindergarten teacher. It really makes you sit back and realize that THIS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE! Then there were times that I was sitting around having a friendly conversation with someone that, if I passed them on the street, I might fear for my safety. There is a realizaton, for why or what I can't explain, that occurs when you look around you and see that you are the only white person (and a female to boot) at an inner city narcotics anonymous meeting, but yet you've never felt more welcome or belonging anywhere in your life. The people who are really working the program are the warmest, most open, welcoming people I may have ever met. The meetings are hard to describe. When they're good, they're good. When they're bad, they're bad. But no one walks out of them alone.

    That year was a great year that really brought me full circle in my life. I had been in a "recovery" of my own, from eating disorders, for a few years when I got that job. While I couldn't empathize with their substance abuse, I knew the pain of not liking yourself, wanting to hurt yourself. But I also know the joy of finding myself again, and actually enjoying this person that I have become. I hope I was able to share that with them, because they shared so much with me and taught me more can they could ever imagine.

    So, I eventually got an offer from my true love, OB. It was a days position at a big hospital that I couldn't pass up. I did the D&A thing per diem for about 6 months, but it eventually got to be too much. The commute was a good one (45 min) and my husband was beginning to worry about my safety. But not a day goes by that I don't miss it, or wonder about my girls...

    I didn't mean to ramble on, as you can see it's late and I'm getting a little slap happy! I apologize in advance for any spelling errors, but I don't feel like proof reading tonight!

    Heather
  4. by   MollyJ
    I work the prevention end of it in a middle school and high school setting. I have been at it now about three years but feel I still have a lot to learn.

    I feel like prevention makes the mistake of being a little like chicken little (The sky is falling! the sky is falling) and kids know that alot of people use and don't die or get addicted (immediately) so they don't take prevention very seriously but ALL you have to see is a few seriously involved kids and you realize how horrible this phenomena is. It is a complicated issue. From my end, I see an awful lot of kids who I think use to feel better in the midst of their otherwise crappy lives and then they compound their problems by becoming messed up by the chemicals. Very complex issue and coming here makes me realize that people want to talk with their clients about drug abuse concerns at about the same rate as they want to talk about sexuality with their clients or maybe paying their bills on time!

    Have a step kid who is in recovery so I realize that alot of these kids are fooling themselves into thinking that they are getting by with their usage.

    Good to see a post on this topic. Have posted on the topic several times and it doesn't tend to draw alot of attention.
  5. by   AlishaNHayzley
    If anyone of you are certified in addiction and recovery nursing I have some questions to ask if I may.
  6. by   Hidi74
    I have been curious about doing this type of nursing when I get out of school. I have enjoyed the posts so far and would love to here more!
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    I have a question from a Med-Surg perspective. I really could use some good information on how to medicate for pain but not over-medicate the addict who has had surgery.

    I hate trying to figure out whether I'm giving too much or not enough pain meds. Is there a way to figure == like, say-- a baseline maintenance, so we'd be medicating for PAIN and not just the addiction maintenance???

    Sorry if I don't phrase the question just right, but I honestly know nothing about how to take care of these folks when they're sick, and too many of us just dismiss their pain needs with a judgmental attitude like "Oh well, their tolerance is high because of addiction, so maybe this'll make them quit."

    I'm not thrilled with feeling like i"m forced into the addiction -enabler cycle, but when someone has medication needs, what're ya supposed to do????
  8. by   JonRN
    I worked Part-time prn in a facility that had adult alcohol and substance abusers, teen-agers who were substance abusers ordered there by the courts, teen-agers who were mentally ill, and even little kids who were mentally ill. As a prn I worked all 3 units. Heather's description was very accurate when it comes to adult addicts, proving once again that she is much more than a pretty face.

    The teen-agers were fairly easy to work with, they seemed to want to learn about their problems for the most part, and straighten out their acts. We had a few that just plain didn't care, and a few escaped from time to time. This was a locked hospital but not too secure. They sorta bruised your heart, but didn't totally break it, usually.

    The little kids were a different story. Most of them had been abused beyond belief, and were realy very sick. One little girl still makes me very sad when I think of her which is often. She was a very cute 6 y.o., and when I first met her, she held my hand and said, can I call you grandpa? I said sure you can honey. She would go off at times and finger paint with poop, and cuss like a sailor. This would happen maybe once a week or so. The rest of the time she was a typical 6 y.o., and enjoyed playing with the other kids etc. We went to lunch with the pts and she would always say, sit with me grandpa. They have since closed the hospital where I worked, and I often wonder what happened to her. Her prognosis is probably not too great, being that sick that young, and my heart aches for her, and all the others. One boy got moved to a children's home, he was about 8 or 9. I went to see him and bought him a watch from Burger King. He was thrilled to death with it. But I haven't been back to see him, I should, but I put it off because of my illness, and the fact I hate to leave him there. Hope this helps you to realize what it is like, Scope. Welcome to the board.

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