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A Day in The Life: Addiction Nurse

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Many people may wonder what it is like to be working firsthand with patients at Destination Hope. What does a real day look like? No fluff, no censoring, no embellishment. Well, our own Director of Nursing at Destination Hope, Vanessa Cole, gave her description of an inside look of what a day in the life of an addiction nurse looks like.

Vanessa’s focus is to have a team invested in mental health, enjoying what they do, and having their heart in the right place. They are trained accordingly, with the goal of taking a holistic approach to care – with strong relationships with their patients. She wants her nurses to treat the patients like they would their own loved ones. Everyone on the nursing team has a strong passion for helping their patients be successful in their path toward addiction and mental health recovery.

Daily Shift Responsibilities

When a nurse works a day shift, they arrive at the treatment center and check reports for issues and make sure patients are properly followed up with or get to the doctor, if needed. Each shift assesses patients for their mental status, vitals, organ systems, appetite, nausea or vomiting, and how much they eat. The reports are then directed to the appropriate department. Assessments of those in detox or residential care are performed two times a day for accuracy

Medication management is a big part of our nurses’ days – making sure medication is filled, monitoring progression of patients in residential or detox, and getting prescriptions filled. Nurses work closely with their patients to help them transition toward independence. They share their analysis with the doctors to discuss what works and doesn’t. Nurses are the boots on the ground for our medical staff. They are essential to each case because the doctor doesn’t observe each client as much as the nurses do, therefore, the nurses provide a full and accurate view of the patients’ daily status and delegate who needs to see a doctor. Destination Hope takes a multidisciplinary approach to rehab, having doctors that specialize in psychiatry, addictionology, and other focused areas. Patients see whichever doctor best suits their needs.

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The nursing department has a monthly meeting, ongoing additional training and required continuing education credit hours are completed annually by all nursing staff.

Nurses collaborate closely with the therapists on call for consistent communication about where the patients are at in their recovery journey. Nurses are a friendly and compassionate face where patients can go with any problems or needs.

After the day shift is over, the oncoming shift gets a detailed update from the out-going nurses. Destination Hope currently has 13 nurses and is still expanding. Vanessa, Director of Nursing, is on call for emergencies, executive decisions, and 24/7 collaboration. Behavioral health technicians are on call 24/7 and are the main support staff for overnight nurses.

There are daily meetings with the various departments – clinical, dietary, nursing, etc. – but communication is ongoing. Patient updates are appropriately shared between departments throughout the day.

The Bottom Line

The saying “it takes a village” is very true here at Destination Hope. Our nursing team is dedicated to each of our patients to ensure that they have the resources, support, and attention necessary to achieve sobriety. A true collaborative spirit between all our departments allows for excellent communication and ultimately, the very best in patient care.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and looking for a dedicated and compassionate staff to support the path toward recovery, give us a call today.

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