Lots of nurses go into this noble field because they want to make an impact and help others. Every nurse gets to do this but there are others who tend to face bigger challenges on a regular basis. Substance abuse nurses belong in this category.
Is substance abuse nursing the right specialty for you? Find out below.
What is a Substance Abuse Nurse?
Also known as addiction nurses, substance abuse nurses work with patients who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substance. They have wide knowledge in pain management and various treatment options for substance abuse patients.
These professionals are knowledgeable in both mental health and general medicine. Because addiction is a disease that both plagues its sufferer physically and psychologically, such proficiency is necessary to help patients effectively.
What They Do
Substance abuse nurses perform a wide range of tasks. However, providing support to their patients tend to be the most important one. They are always relied upon by their patients for emotional support as the road to recovery of this illness can be a very tough one.
As these professionals are also knowledgeable in pain management, they also often take on the regulation of their patient’s treatment and the proper administration of their medications. They also perform tasks related to the physical care of patients who are in the withdrawal phase.
They also provide education to patients, their families, and the general public regarding the health dangers of substance abuse. This can help prevent their patients from relapsing which makes it an important task for these professionals as well.
Where They Work
Substance abuse nurses are found in various mental health facilities. You can find them in hospitals, drug treatment centers, methadone clinics, or even at physicians’ offices. Some government agencies and facilities also hire these specialists.
How Much They Make
With the growing demand for substance abuse nurses in the country, they’re also getting paid rather competitively. The average salary for these professionals is at around $70k per year and higher.
How to Become a Substance Abuse Nurse
As mentioned above, substance abuse nurses need to be well-rounded to perform their tasks well. This is why to become one, you need to have a significant amount of experience.
Those who want to specialize in this area needs to be a registered nurse for three years. Having at least two years of clinical experience in substance abuse is an alternative. Once you meet these requirements, you can then apply to take the substance abuse nurse certification.
What Can You Expect in Being a Substance Abuse Nurse?
Lots of substance abuse nurses will tell you how rewarding and fulfilling this line of work is. You’ll get to meet lots of people who are trying their best to get better. You might also find yourself helping others through various methods by specializing in this field.
However, it also comes with plenty of challenges. It can be emotionally draining as well, so you have to be ready for that.
Nursing Organizations Associated with Substance Abuse Nursing
What are the professional organizations that substance abuse nurses can join?
- International Nurses Society on Addictions
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- American Society of Addiction Medicine
The other specialties that you can explore if you’re interested in substance abuse nursing are:
- Pain Management Nursing
- Rehabilitation Nursing
- Psychiatric Nursing