Few Pennsylvania nurses would deny the fact that their jobs come with a significant amount of stress. The pressures of the job can quickly become overwhelming, and without proper coping mechanisms, nurses could turn to pharmaceuticals or alcohol for an escape.
Research indicates that around 10 percent of the nurses here in the country abuse alcohol or drugs. That sounds like good news, but those nurses put their and their patients' lives in danger, which they would never do if not for the addiction. They also risk losing their licenses and their livelihood.
These factors make you vulnerable to addiction
As a nurse, you would probably agree that the following factors increase your stress and the temptation to self-medicate:
- Long hours
- Rotating shifts
- Increased responsibilities
- Increased workloads
- Easy access to pharmaceuticals
In the beginning, it may just be a painkiller for a sore back after lifting a patient, a stimulant when you didn't get enough sleep and you have to stay alert, or a mood elevator when you have a particularly difficult and emotional shift. Over time, those excuses fade away, and the addiction remains.
These indicators make you vulnerable to detection
You may not notice the signs in yourself until it's too late and you are already dealing with an addiction. However, the following indicators may expose your addiction:
- Repeated requests for prescriptions from doctors
- Finding reasons to access a narcotics safe, alone
- Volunteering to work holidays or overtime
- Working graveyard or weekends
- Unwitnessed "waste" of medication
- Incorrect narcotics counts
Exhibiting these behaviors could draw the attention of your superiors and colleagues. If it does, you may find yourself in need of a health care license defense. Fortunately, you may be able to take advantage of the Impaired Nurses Program in order to beat your addiction and keep your license.
You may need support
With the help of the INP, your friends and family, you will more than likely recover from your addiction. You may even find assistance from the Professional Health Monitoring Program and the Nurse Peer Assistance Program.
However, when it comes to keeping your nursing license, you may need a different type of support. Even if you face criminal charges connected to your use and abuse of drugs, you would benefit from discussing your case with an experienced health care license defense attorney.