Honesty In Nursing

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Nurses and the nursing profession hold the highest rating of honesty at 85% (Gallup, 2015). This proves how important honesty and trust is in the nursing field and brings attention to any impairments that affect nurse-patient relationships such as substance abuse. The increasing rate of substance abuse among nurses can be related to the roles nurses possess and their wide array of responsibilities. Pressure and stressors come along with the roles and responsibilities that a professional nurse possess in terms leading to the excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
The Role of the Professional Nurse Since ancient civilization, the definition of the registered nurse has evolved significantly to include multidimensional roles and responsibilities.
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Along with such roles and responsibilities comes pressure and stress. “Risk factors unique to a nurse’s workplace can predispose them to developing a substance use disorder” (NCSBN, 2011, p. 16). The major risk factors for nurses in the workplace that contribute to substance abuse include “role strain, problems of daily living, enabling by peers and managers, attitudes towards drugs and drug use, lack of education regarding a substance use disorder, lack of controls, and physician prescribing practices” (CNB, 2011, p. 16). Other stressors nurses encounter every day include staffing shortages, increased nurse-patient ratio, increased workload, and working overtimes (CNB, 2011). On top of all these predisposing factors, nurses are expected to numerous tasks with limited resources and time while under the demand of their patients, physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, among other healthcare professionals. When all these stressors pile up, some nurses use substances as a scape goat. It has been proven that drugs and alcohol help to relieve stress through pleasure, relaxation, and relief of negativity. “As the dependence or addiction progresses the benefits of using substances diminish and more drugs or alcohol are needed to feel the same level of pleasure” (“NCSB,” 2011, p. …show more content…
Coworkers are often hesitant to report suspected abuse even though there are patient lives on the line. Code 3.6 in the ANA’s Code of Ethics states “the nurse must be vigilant to protect the public and intervene when a colleague’s practice appears to be impaired” (Alunni-Kinkle, 2015, p. 53). This means that a nurse who is aware of unsafe practice has the ethical obligation to report it. However, it is often seen that suspected substance abuse does not get acknowledged due to possible “fear of repercussion or retaliation, fear of a lack of administrative support, and uncertainty regarding what to report or the consequences of not reporting” (Bettinardi-Angres, 2011, p. 11). Nurses need to view reporting potential substance abuse as a precautionary measure rather than a disciplinary