Contemporary Issues in Health Care
HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
During my four year period as a healthcare professional, I have seen the doctor who has been missing from the floor for hours because he/she went for lunch and had too much to drink or the nurse who is missing every few hours, gone to take a smoke. I have heard of the missing narcotics in pharmacy or the patient who constantly complain that whenever a particular nurse works she does not receive her pain medication, only to find out that the nurse is withholding the narcotics for herself. Although the nursing profession can become very stressful at times, and many healthcare professional multitask more than one job, and many have easy access to medication, no excuse can pardon this kind of behavior. I have noticed that many healthcare workers are not being detected early for drug addiction; their job performance seems to be the last thing affected by their drug abuse. They are more likely to; alienate their families, destroy their finances, drop out of their usual recreational or social groups, but missing work tend to be the last thing they do, I surmise that this is because they get their drugs from the job site and keeping up an appearance at work is important. While on the other hand, the general workers are advised to look for early signs of substance abuse, such as increased rate of absenteeism or decline in job performance this does not seem to be the case with healthcare workers. Also, many healthcare professionals who are early detectors of symptoms of drug abuse in their patients tend to turn a blind eye toward the same symptoms in their colleagues. It is hard to say whether this attitude stems from concern that they may alienate somebody whom they deal with on a daily basis or if it is a form of professional pride that leads to denial. Although there are no easy solutions for these problems we need our health care workers to be...
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