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Understanding Addiction

Name withheld upon request,

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: January 2013 - Volume 113 - Issue 1 - p 12
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000425727.84623.ed

Name withheld upon reques


I was disappointed with “A Good Nurse?” (Reflections, October 2012), which displayed a limited understanding of nurses and of anyone who battles addiction.

The word “junkie” is such an offensive, common word to use to describe a professional nurse who struggles with addiction. It's like calling a woman a “slut” for having sexual relations.

I'm a professional, good nurse, and I'm also an addict in recovery. My addiction was very personal, as is my recovery. However, Theresa Brown, the author of this article, makes the nurse's addiction about herself and the other nurses, about how they were betrayed. Then she admits, with surprise, that the addicted nurse took good care of the patients. She had remained competent.

That's because she was a good nurse. This is not to say it's all right for nurses to be impaired at work. But addiction doesn't mean the professional is unable to function. Those in the medical profession should be better educated about addiction. They should understand how the professional caregiver functions while on drugs.

Also, I question Brown's conclusion that “potentially one in 11 nurses” has addiction problems. In the United States, addiction is an epidemic, and, many times, the medical profession enables addicts. Look at the abuse of prescribed drugs!

Let's educate nurses rather than perpetuate the misunderstanding of professional RNs who have a problem with addiction. The author should have tried to be part of the solution, not the problem.

Name withheld upon request


© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.