Substance Abuse Nurse

Assist chronic addicts by monitoring care and giving emotional support.
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Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$44,000 – $95,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Substance Abuse Nurses do?

Drug and alcohol abuse is at an all-time high across the country. Prescription drugs, street drugs, and alcohol are addictive substances that can be extremely hard to quit. It’s a good thing there are medical facilities across the nation to help addicts, staffed with Substance Abuse Counselors and Substance Abuse Nurses.

Just as there are different levels of addiction, there are varying levels of care. Some patients attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to find the support they need. Others handle their addiction through outpatient services where they attend meetings and receive basic medical monitoring.

Many seek out extensive, inpatient care. And some require hospitalization while they deal with the initial symptoms of withdrawal.

Because of this variety, a Substance Abuse Nurse might work at a rehabilitation facility, a clinic, or a hospital. Regardless of where you are, your job as a Substance Abuse Nurse is to care for the patient’s physical symptoms. You closely monitor vital signs to watch for respiratory, heart, and other distress. Some patients require medications to help with symptoms, so you follow the Doctor ’s orders, administer IVs or pills, and assess the patient’s response.

In addition to providing medical services, a large part of your job is offering emotional support. Your patients may be dealing with job loss, bills, and strained relationships. So you do what you can to lend an ear, a hand, or a shoulder to help them cope and begin rebuilding their future.

Should I be a Substance Abuse Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: Addiction Nurse

    How to become a Substance Abuse Nurse

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