Promoting a Culture of Wellness: Addressing
Alcohol and Drug Addiction among Nurses
Nurses are the backbone of the medical profession providing comfort, care, and compassion to patients from all walks of life.
But as noble as their work may be, not without its challenges. The long hours, emotional
strain and multiple high-pressure situations can lead to burnout and even addiction.
Statistics show that substance abuse among nurses is on the rise, particularly during and post pandemic.
It is more important now than ever before to take proactive steps to prevent and support
addiction in the nurses.
Emma RN letter
Thanks for Project Renew,
Hi, my name is Emma, and I got hooked on drugs after a simple surgery. It's a story about kindness, but it's also about the evil that took over my life and how I got better.
When I first became a nurse, I really wanted to help people and ease their pain. Over time, though, the stress of my job began to wear me down. A lot of people coming in all the time, their pain, and the drug problem made things even harder.
My doctor gave me painkillers to take after a simple therapy. It was supposed to help me get better, but it turned into more. Not only did I feel better from the physical pain, but I also felt better from the mental pain that had been building up inside me because of my job as a nurse.
I was having a rough time mentally. I felt bad about giving up on my calling, and I was scared of the road I was on. I was trapped by addiction and really wanted to get away from it.
One night, my coworker Mike saw that I was having a hard time. He knew what I was really like because he had also struggled with addiction. He didn't judge me; instead, he offered to help.
With Mike's help, I began my healing journey. It was hard, and there were times when I felt hopeless. My mental and emotional health had been hurt by addiction, and it all began with that medication.
The Project Renew, I want to share my story to show that addiction can happen to anyone, even people who went into healthcare because they wanted to help people. It's real to feel mental pain, and it can lead us in ways we never thought possible.
My story is a lesson that we should be kind to ourselves first. I hope it encourages other people to get help, find hope, and start over with their lives.
The Root of the problem
Alcohol and drug addiction in the nursing profession is often a result of working in an environment that is emotionally and physically stressful.
Other factors that can add to drug and alcohol misuse from nurses include:
● Being stressed: Nurses work in high-pressure situations that can trigger chronic
stress, depression and anxiety.
● Being exhausted and overworked: Long working hours and unpredictable schedules
can disrupt sleep and lead to exhaustion and burnout.
● Witnessing trauma: Nurses see it all, from accidents to emergencies to deaths, these
emotional experiences can leave a lasting emotional impact.
Warning signs of addiction and substance misuse
Nurses struggling with alcohol and drug misuse may display a range of symptoms including:
Withdraw from colleagues
Negative changes in their appearance
Strategies for overcoming addiction
Overcoming addiction and leading a fulfilling life can be achieved by nurses through various
● Beat addiction with expert help: Nurses struggling with addiction should seek
guidance from addiction specialists or mental health professionals.
● Recover together: Join support groups that have people who are experiencing similar challenges to you. This provides a safe space to share experiences.
● Create healthy habits, for a healthy mind: Incorporate healthy habits such as regular
exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep to promote well-being and fast-track
Never fight alone: Recovery is easier with a strong support system. You should reachout to family, friends, and colleagues who can provide emotional support.
How can we prevent addiction among nurses
To protect nurses from addiction and offer support to those struggling with alcohol or drug
addiction, employers and healthcare facilities can implement a variety of measures.
● Offer education: Healthcare facilities can offer education and prevention programs to
help nurses better understand addiction and manage stress.
● Support employees from the start: Employers can provide access to counselling,
addiction treatment, and other resources to help nurses address addiction early on.
● Offer comprehensive treatment: Nurses struggling with addiction require access to
comprehensive treatment programs.
● Create a supportive culture: Healthcare facilities can create a culture of empathy by
training colleagues, providing peer support groups, and offering resources to help nurses
Addressing alcohol and drug addiction among nurses is crucial for protecting their well-and ensuring quality patient care.
Employers and healthcare facilities must take proactive measures, such as education programs and support for addiction treatment
Nurses can take proactive steps to overcome addiction through healthy habits, seeking expert help, and building a strong support system.
By promoting a culture of wellness, we can support our nurses to be happy, healthy and fulfilled in their Career.
Have you ever experienced challenges related to alcohol or drug use?
Can you identify the underlying factors that contributed to your struggles with alcohol or drugs?
What interventions or strategies played a significant role in your recovery from alcohol or drug misuse?