Employment Implications for Nurses Going Through Peer Assistance Programs for Substance Abuse
Mumba, Mercy N.
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Session presented on Friday, July 24, 2015: Purpose: The purpose of this presentation will be to highlight the lived experiences and employment implications experienced by chemically impaired nurses who are going through peer assistance programs. Methods: This was a qualitative research study that focused on the lived experiences and employment implications of nurses participating in a peer assistance program for substance abuse. A convenience sample was used in this research study. Inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) an active member of the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN). 2) able to read and write English proficiently. 3) at least 18 years of age. IRB approval was obtained from the University of Texas at Arlington. Ten nurses participated in the sudy. A 9-item questionnaire was used to obtain the data. The QSR XSight 2 software was used for qualitative data analysis. Results: Sixty percent of the participants were female and all the participants classified themselves as nonHispanic White. Seventy percent were employed at the time of the study. 50% had bachelor's degree, 20% had Associate's degrees, 10% had master's degree and 10% Diploma in Nursing. Age of the study participants ranged from 26 to 55 years old. Four themes emerged from the qualitative data analysis was these were (1) stress from restrictions, (2) guilt and shame, (3) gratitude for being caught, and (4) keeping up with recovery. Conclusion: This research study highlighted several aspects of the lived experiences of nurses participating in a peer assistance program for substance abuse. The themes captured many of the concerns that this population of nurses had toward their employment status. The issue of chemical dependency and substance abuse in the nursing profession is one of the most sensitive issues of our time. Six out of the ten participants in the study indicated that they had problems with substance abuse prior to becoming nurses. They however, relapsed after entering the nursing profession. Many of them are concerns about the legal implications for their dependency and dread losing employment any time, which leaves them with financial responsibilities that they are not able to take care of, thus contributing to the stress of the disease process.