Early Career Nurse Reports of Work-Related Substance Use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Substance use disorder (SUD) is a public health crisis in the United States that occurs across many population segments, including nurses. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the culture of substance use among nurses in their first 5 years of practice. Methods: Qualitative descriptive design using virtual focus groups in an online platform was used. Data were collected from February to March 2019 with a total of 23 participants. An open-ended focus group guide was used based on the Work, Stress, and Health Model. Results: Three major themes were identified: “See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil”; “It's Somewhere Out There”; and “Caffeine is King and Alcohol is Queen.” Participants reported high caffeine use and moderate alcohol use to cope with shift work and work stress. There was general acceptance of marijuana use in states that legalized it. Participants were reluctance to fully describe illicit substance use on a personal or unit-level basis; however, substance use was identified as a profession-wide problem for nurses. Conclusions: The early career nurses enrolled in this study reported that they relied on caffeine, alcohol, and other substances before, during, and after their workday. These types of substances are readily reported and deemed acceptable by their peers. New nurses could benefit from coping strategies that do not include substance use to manage work stress and professional challenges, such as shift work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing Regulation
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Caffeine
  • early career nurses
  • marijuana use
  • substance use
  • work-related stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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