UBC Graduate Research

Problematic substance use among nurses : a knowledge translation campaign Stadnek, Margaret Ann


Purpose. The focus of this Scholarly Practice Advancement Research Project was to examine the literature related to problematic substance use amongst nurses. Using the findings of the literature review a knowledge translation campaign was developed to educate both undergrad nurses and practicing nurses on problematic substance use. Background. Problematic substance use amongst nurses has been known to exist in nursing for over a century. Throughout this time there have been many strategies employed to combat this complex devastating affliction. The rates of problematic substance use in nursing ranges from 8%-20%. Many nurses are unaware that problematic substance is a serious concern in the workplace, or of the signs and symptoms of this complex illness. Method. The theories of complexity and sensemaking were used to direct the literature review. Through this process two themes were identified. 1) The need of early and ongoing education regarding problematic substance use and 2) the situational circumstances of the occupational environment for professional nurses in facilitating problematic substance use. Two knowledge translation campaigns were developed to create awareness and to decrease the stigma related to problematic substance use in nursing. Conclusion. The cause of problematic substance use can range from personal to occupational triggers, making problematic substance use amongst nurses difficult to identify and treat. The knowledge translation campaigns will advance nursing by educating nurses about the signs and symptoms of problematic substance use allowing for recognition in the practice environment.

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