Graduate Publications and Other Selected Works - Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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Decades of previous studies suggest that approximately 10-15% of all actively licensed nurses in the United States may be impaired by or in recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical professionals are experiencing unprecedented amounts of stress, fatigue and emotional distress that when coupled with poor coping mechanisms and easily accessible addictive substances may result in an increased risk for developing substance use disorder. By providing education to nurses regarding substance use disorder (SUD) and alternative to discipline programs (ADP), previous studies have shown that the risk of nurses developing SUD can be mitigated by increasing awareness of the early signs and symptoms of addiction, how to effectively intervene when SUD is suspected, and how to prepare nurses for a safe return-to-work process involving an ADP drug and alcohol monitoring program (Cadiz, 2014). Objective: Positively influence nursing perspectives and knowledge base regarding SUD among nurses. Design: Clinical quality improvement initiative. Setting: Southeastern United States collegiate healthcare clinic. Participants: Registered nurses (RN) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). Intervention/Measurements: Pre- and post- intervention surveys, and a SUD educational module created by the Tennessee Peer Assistance Recovery Program. Results: 83% of all respondents indicated the educational intervention positively affected their perceptions of SUD among nurses. 92% indicated that the education increased their confidence level in identifying early signs of addiction in themselves and among their nursing colleagues. 100% of participants responded that the education increased their confidence level to intervene when they suspect a fellow nurse is struggling with addiction. And 75% of participants indicated the education increased their willingness to seek help from an alternative-to-discipline program if they suspect they may personally be struggling with addiction. Conclusions: After data analysis it can be determined the project achieved its primary goal of increasing nursing knowledge regarding SUD and reducing the stigma surrounding nurses in recovery returning to practice.

For further information in The Tennessean: COVID-19 has highlighted the mental toll nurses face. Organizations must create a better system | Opinion

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