Nurses may not realize the danger they face  if they develop a drug or alcohol addiction. However, a nurse’s creates a significantly higher risk of danger for both the nurse and the public, due to the nature of the nurse’s job. Having a substance abuse problem can hurt a nurse’s personal life, affect the quality of care she gives patients, and put her nursing license at risk.

How Do Nurses Develop Substance Abuse Problems?

Nurses become addicted to drugs or alcohol in the same way other people do. It can be the result of mental health issues, like anxiety or depression, or it may start by taking a pain medication that leads to opioid or another drug addiction. There are some unique challenges to being a nurse, however,  that can increase the risks of suffering with this problem. These challenges include:


Nurses have a very stressful job. They care for patients who can have life-threatening medical emergencies that they must respond to quickly. Often the hospitals and other facilities where they work are understaffed. They are often required to work long hours and take on extra shifts due.


Nurses often administer drugs to patients, including painkillers. The accessibility of medications can increase the risks that a nurse will begin taking them—and become addicted.


Due to the long hours nurses often work, they can fail to get the rest they need. Being fatigued on a regular basis or for long periods of time can affect decision making, and it can cause physical and mental health problems. Some nurses may turn to drugs to stay more alert, or they may have greater difficulty choosing to abstain, because of fatigue.

Emotional Toll

Nurses work with patients who are suffering with serious health issues, and not all of those patients will survive. Even those patients that do survive may exhibit excruciating pain or hopelessness.  Nurses are caring individuals who can suffer emotional stress, sadness, and grief as a result of helping and becoming attached to others, and some nurses may abuse alcohol or drugs as a way to cope. Unfortunately, nurses may be afraid to get the help they need, due to the fear that reporting their problem could endanger their job or result in a disciplinary action by the Texas Board of Nursing.

We’re Here to Help If You Suffer With a Substance Abuse Problem

If you are a nurse in the State of Texas, and especially if you are in the Dallas, Fort Worth, or Mid-Cities area, who has an alcohol or drug abuse problem, attorney Walt Taylor is an experienced medical licensing defense and peer review attorney who can give you the legal advice you need so that your nursing license is not jeopardized. He can also assist you in mounting a strong defense if you are facing disciplinary proceedings. To schedule a free consultation to learn more, contact us online or call our office directly at  817.380.4888.
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