Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious disease that can be debilitating to those who suffer from it. They experience withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes become deadly when they decide to stop using the drugs at once. This is where the role of the addiction nurse comes in. The addiction or drug rehab nurse generally works in in-patient rehabilitation centers where those who are attempting to kick their addictions go to recover from the disease, as well as gain the tools needed to return back into society without the need of drugs.
Specialized training for addiction nurses
The addiction nurse is a different kind of nurse. While they are still required to attend a specialized nursing degree program and become a registered nurse (RN), they must also participate in various certification exams that will give them the designation as a certified addiction nurse. Once the nurse has completed this type of exam, he or she is fully qualified to begin working in an in-patient rehabilitation facility. If, however, the rehab nurse does not want to gain the certification, he or she can enter into a specialized master’s degree program. The nurse can gain additional education, experience and knowledge through the graduate program. For any of these avenues that the nurse wants to take, he or she needs to begin working in rehabilitation clinics, possibly as an RN, while observing and assisting the drug rehab nurses.
In-patient rehabilitation clinics
In this type of facility, a rehab nurse will provide withdrawal care to patients as they enter into the program. This step includes placing the patient in a room where special medications are administered that makes the withdrawal process much less painful, easier to cope with and much less dangerous to the patient. As the patient is weaned off the drugs, he or she is able to enter into the facility to participate in other programs that will help kick the addictions. The drug rehab nurse will continue to monitor the progress of the patient and administer any other medications that will help the patient get through recovery. The addiction nurse will be well-versed in various ways to help the patient throughout the process, providing the patient with a place to feel safe, loved and be able to fully recover from addiction.
The addiction nurse is a different kind of nurse. Instead of working with people who have serious injuries or illnesses, they are working with patients who have another illness, an illness that kills just as many people as any serious disease such as cancer. Addiction is a disease and although it should be treated just as such, it also requires the additional training that one would get in addictions certification programs.