Increasing Demand for Substance Abuse Nurses
Drug addicts need lots of physical care and counseling while recovering from their addiction. Many go to rehabilitation centers after they’ve spent years failing to kick on their own. Substance abuse nurses provide the loving care and support that addicts need to learn to live without drugs. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, you must first obtain the relevant academic qualifications and experience. Read on and learn the education requirements and job description of a substance abuse nurse.
Substance abuse nurses provide medical care to patients suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Patients can suffer from intense pain and other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and insomnia after withdrawing from drugs. Nurses administer pain medication and other drugs to relieve patients of the withdrawal symptoms.
Nurses also counsel recovering drug addicts to help them overcome the psychological issues that led to drug abuse. Without counseling and moral support, many patients go back to substance abuse after treatment. Hence, nurses have an opportunity to help patients overcome addiction and learn to prevent relapse in the future.
Education and Training
Drug addiction is a physical and mental condition. Substance abuse nurses require general medical training and specialized training in handling drug addiction. You must be a registered nurse to work as a substance abuse nurse, which means graduating from a nursing program. You can then take this knowledge further by registering for the University of South Dakota RN to BSN online degree.
After completing your education, you will take a national licensing exam to obtain your license. You may need to take additional tests depending on the rules and regulations in your state. The next step after obtaining your license is to work as a general nurse practitioner for at least three years or 4,000 hours to obtain a certificate. Alternatively, you can gain at least two years’ experience as a substance abuse nurse and get your certificate.
Once you gain the relevant work experience, you will sit for the certification exam and become a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN). The certified enables you to access well-paying jobs in any medical institution that treats drug addicts.
Substance abuse nurses work in a variety of different medical institutions that treat addicts. The professionals can work in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, psychiatric wards, and mental health centers. You can also find a job at methadone clinics and treatment centers. The increase in the number of drug addicts every year continues to lead to an increase in the demand for specialized medical practitioners. Due to the demand you are likely to find a good job after obtaining the basic requirements. Prepare to treat drug addicts of all ages including teenagers and the elderly. You can start support groups in your community or offer individualized counseling to help more people overcome drug addiction.