Substance Abuse Nursing
Substance abuse nurses are trained in behavioral health and play a significant role in the education and treatment of individuals with tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction. They have a strong skill set and can work effectively with the healthcare team that can include physicians, counselors, and therapists. They have strong communication and interpersonal skills and can handle stress and remain calm in chaotic situations. Nurses in this field have exceptional assessment and judgment skills, which is necessary when working with high-risk populations.
Duties include monitor patient treatments, administer medications, educate, and provide support to patients. In some facilities, a nurse may also organize support groups, teach and lead educational programs, and provide counseling. Substance abuse nurses can work in many different types of facilities, including hospitals, inpatient or outpatient treatment centers, private practices, mental health clinics, and psychiatric facilities.
To work in substance abuse, a nurse needs to be a registered nurse and have taken training in behavioral/mental health. They can also elect to take an exam to become a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN), which is offered twice per year through the Nurses Society on Addictions.
Organizations and Societies for Substance Abuse Nursing
- International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA)
- Certified Addictions Registered Nurses (CARN)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)
- Internal Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN)
Our featured Substance Abuse experts
Expert 1336 – This Expert been a registered nurse since and has been working in the psychiatric and addictions setting since 1971. She has experience working in mental health and addictions with adults and adolescences in inpatient and outpatient detox/rehab facilities. Since 2006 she has been the Supervisor of a Mobile Assessment and Intake unit, which triages and assesses patients at hospitals presenting with psychiatric illnesses including Substance Use Disorders and Dual Diagnosis Disorders. She is involved in direct patient care and the supervision of the mobile intake unit staff.
Expert 4387 - This has 20 years of nursing experience and has cared for a wide age range of patients with mental health and addiction issues and has knowledge of Behavioural Health Rules, Mental Health Holds, Involuntary Medications, Short Term Certification (STC), seclusion and restraints, Intoxication Treatment and more. She has worked in various psychiatric settings since 1998, including as a staff nurse, charge nurse, house supervisor, and as an intake nurse and support line call manager. This expert also has experience working in a Medical Detox/Recovery facility caring for patients admitted for acute inpatient medical detox. To read more on this expert click here.
Expert 2687 - has 18 years of clinical and administrative nursing experience including med-surg, ER, ICU, and cardiac rehab. She has been working in Behavioural Health since 2007 caring for patients with mental health and chemical dependency issues. She is currently living and working in Texas.
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