Nursing Shortage in the United States

1680 WordsFeb 24, 20187 Pages
It is no secret that the United States is currently experiencing a shortage of nurses . “The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( 2009 ) estimated that more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2018 to meet the increased demands of the health care workforce” (). The stressful conditions under which nurses work, due in part to the nursing shortage, are among the risk factors that contribute to nurses’ abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol. Nurses are unique in that they work in an environment where they not only have access to controlled substances, but also are exposed to critically ill patients, traumatic situations, death and dying, the stress of which can increase the risk of substance abuse. (Epstein, Burns, & Conlon, 2010). Unfortunately, it is the patient that suffers the most. Substance abuse continues to be a serious health care concern with millions of American 18 and older using illegal drugs. Substance abuse occurs across all generations, cultures, and occupations, including nursing. “About 1 in 10, or 10-15% of all nurses, may be impaired or in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction” (Thomas & Siela, 2011). When a nurse is impaired they will not be able to function at their normal capacity, and are not able to provide quality patient care. They may not be able to think as quickly, and have a delayed reaction time. Although addiction is considered a disease the nurse still remains responsible for any
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