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Substance Abuse Nurse


Substance Abuses Nurses are specialized in pain management, and help regulate treatment for patients addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Much of their job also involves teaching patients about the dangers of substance abuse and possible treatment options. Since addiction is both a mental and physical disease, these nurses are trained in both general medicine and mental health. As a Substance Abuse Nurse, you’ll be able to give support to people with little else in their lives besides addiction.

Things You'll Do:

  • Administer medication and regulate patient treatment
  • Teach patients, their families and the public about the dangers of substance abuse
  • Provide physical and emotional support for patients and their families

Your job characteristics:

  • Multifaceted
  • Structured
  • Patient-facing
  • Independent

How You'll Get There
  • Get Your
    Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Pass Your
    National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • You’ll need to work as a Registered Nurse for at least three years (logging 4,000 hours), or get two years of experience in substance abuse before applying to take your certification exam.
    More about becoming an RN ›
  • Get Your
    Substance abuse nurse certification from the International Nurses Society on Addictions, an exam that is only available twice a year.
  • Become a
    Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN)

More About this Specialty
  • Where You
    Can Work

    • Mental health clinics
    • Psychiatric wards
    • Inpatient or outpatient treatment centers

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  • What Else You
    Can Expect

    • As a Substance Abuse Nurse, you can organize family member support groups, serve on task forces, lead educational programs and become an abuse counselor.

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