Substance abuse and mental illness among nurses exist among some who are unable to cope with fast-paced life. Nursing requires much energy, focus, and responsibility in addition to working for many hours. Some nurses who are unable to deal with the pressure to abuse substances such as illicit and prescription drugs. Others become dependent on alcohol. Substance use is a complex disease that causes severe physical, emotional, legal and financial consequences.
Some of the nurses who are unable to cope with challenges get detrimental effects on their mental health. Those who struggle a lot can feel as if they are a failure and get metal conditions such as depression.
Reasons for substance use and mental illness among nurses
1. High-stress jobs
Many nurses work for long hours on the frontline of dealing with sick patients can take a toll on any nurse especially those who work in facilities with inadequate staff members. The pressure is higher since nurses, unlike many other professions, except that they should always be happy, compassionate and friendly. As a result, some get mental conditions or try self-medication to treat stress.
2. Emotional strain
Nurses grow some attachment towards patient they take care for extended periods. While it is usual for many to recover and get a discharge, not all of them survive. The feeling of loss and grief can cause a fondness for drugs or alcohol and depression.
Most nurses work for long shifts thus reducing the time for resting and full recovery. The hours might take a toll after a particular period causing mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Many nurses get burnout early in their careers turning to abuse of prescription stimulants to cope with daily fatigue.
4. Easy access to substances
Nursing provides care to patients who are on medication hence get a chance to handle powerful prescription drugs and painkillers. The accessibility increases temptation to use them as a coping mechanism for stress or depression due to an issue relating to work or other happenings.
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Treatment for substance use and mental illness among nurses
Treatment for substance use and mental illness is challenging hence requires much support and the right approach. Psychologists and therapists who treat nurses struggling with addiction or mental challenges can provide them with a new lifeline by doing the following:
I. Extensive evaluation and assessment of the condition
It is essential to determine the nature of addiction or mental illness before starting an addiction treatment program. A specialist should assess the needs of the nurse, diagnose mental health disorders and create a matching treatment plan.
II. Detoxification or withdrawal plan
Detoxification is critical in eliminating harmful substances from the body systems before other treatment. A detox program helps the patient to go through withdrawal from alcohol or drug without the severe symptoms that are likely to cause a relapse. The risk of relapsing is smaller if a nurse begins treatment at a detoxification facility because there is no access to harmful substances.
III. Implementing psychological and addiction treatment therapies
There are various types of therapies that can help to treat a nurse with substance abuse or mental illness. Treatment options can include intensive outpatient, partial inpatient and residential inpatient treatment. When affects nurses undergo addiction treatment program, they will usually attend addiction education classes, behavior, and group therapy sessions. Pharmacotherapy in some cases is also an option to support the recovery.
Aftercare is extremely important after substance and mental illness treatment program. Nurses who are recovering from will need to continue going through their outpatient therapy programs and group therapy sessions. It reduces chances of relapsing and maintaining the job because some employers require the signing of a contract about termination in certain situations. For instance, it might state there will be a sack for failing a drug test, or certain medications miss during the nurse's shift.
Nurses with addiction or mental illness should get quick help because some think their care provision skills will help them to self-treat but end up escalating the problems.
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Nurses spend a lot of time with their patients as it is part of their healthcare system. It is part of their job as they get lots of opportunities in observing and monitoring patients to see how they are faring and spot problems early. Understanding how to asses a patient’s wellbeing i.e. checking his or her pressure and temperature is part of her daily routine. Undertaking this career often leaves nurses with lots of questions. Many are not always content with their selves as it is a process which requires deep preparations and the right attitude for the job. Nurses are in demand for their services in many healthcare centers. It is also evident because many schools require admission letters of purpose before joining. Nursing skills are vital in preparing yourself for a future of serving and caring for others by learning and acquiring upon the skills and characteristics needed to succeed on the job. Many clinical skills are important that will help you achieve greater strides in your career.
1. Good communication skills
Nurses are always on the frontline of care. Many will have to pass critical information that is coming from a physician to a patient. He or she must create an open dialogue with patients and their families so they fully comprehend medication, diagnosis or any other medical concerns that may be in need. Clear concise information amongst fellow colleagues is key as it involves sharing of responsibilities and caring for your patients. Many nurses find themselves sharing information with critically ill patients or their doctors. Strong communication is critical for achieving this.
2. Possess critical thinking skills
For one to be admitted to the nursing field, critical skills are vital to employing in your everyday life situations. Crucial decisions need to be met and solved on the spot as it always a matter of life and death. Showing confidence and quickly mitigating the issue is necessary to the nursing profession field.
Nurses often meet surprises in their daily operations. Emergency situations are constant in their day to day operations. Many nurses should be able to juggle the strenuous schedules that they have. Showing the capability to adapt to the evolving schedules is imperative to them succeeding. Apart from acquiring skills, nursing must constantly attend remedial classes or go back to books to improve their nursing skills. as the world continues to evolve so is the emergence of new medications and diseases that should have them prepared for the rest of their careers.
There are multiple sources for improving nursing skills. resources help improve a nurse’s competency in the profession and provides an overview of procedures or the desired outcomes that need communication with the patient’s family. Nurses can also improve their skillsets by acquiring additional resources that include resources covering a wide range of topics that relate to their communication skills, critical thinking skills and about drug information.
Enhancement of your clinical skills also includes accessing drug information and also knowing those that contain precautions, side effects before administering them to patients. Another way of enhancing your skillset is by continuing to work on education modules that will help expand their knowledge capacity and thinning areas. Having a broad scope of knowledge is beneficial to one’s career. Many diseases are emerging in this fast-paced moving healthcare environment. One can increase their skills with additional resources that includes going through research information’s found in clinical libraries and textbooks covering a wide range of topics. Nurses can greatly improve their skills through resources which focus on many areas of clinical nursing that include patient care, technical, nursing, communication, and critical thinking skills as stated above.
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