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J Nurs Manag. 2015 Jan;23(1):54-64. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12081. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Substance use disorders among registered nurses: prevalence, risks and perceptions in a disciplinary jurisdiction.

Author information

1
Faculty of Nursing, John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, Centre for Effective Business Management of Addiction Treatment, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate substance use disorders, impaired practice and health risks among nurses in a disciplinary jurisdiction.

BACKGROUND:

The relationship between substance-related risks to patient safety, nurse health and discipline is understudied.

METHOD:

A convenience sample of 4064 registered nurses responded to an Internet survey in 2010. Self-reports were given to psychometrically robust measures of health, substance use disorders and organisational support. Perceptions on the treatment and disposition of impaired nurses were also asked.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of substance use disorders was similar to the general population. Most nurses' coded high risk for impaired practices were working, unknown by their employer/regulator and not receiving treatment. When compared with nurse-peers, their health and organisational support were compromised. Nurse-peers viewed impaired nurses as having a treatable illness that their employers/regulators should assist and afford confidentiality.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this jurisdiction, discipline was not rated as effective for risk mitigation, supportive of nurses with substance use disorders or in alignment with nurse perceptions.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT:

Nursing managers play a significant role in addressing substance-related issues among nurses and can be key to influencing the outcomes of these difficult situations. For these reasons, it is important they recognize the ineffectiveness of discipline for substance-related risk mitigation.

KEYWORDS:

nursing; policy; risk management; substance abuse; workforce issues

PMID:
23952722
DOI:
10.1111/jonm.12081
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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