Addiction in nursing and midwifery

Nurses, midwives and students are exposed to professional demands that may make them vulnerable to health issues, including addiction. Early intervention provides the best outcomes for people experiencing an addiction. As with any health issue, addiction is treatable with the right support.

If you are being affected by addiction and would like some support you can call our confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
81% of people found this helpful

Workplace demands and self-imposed personal and professional expectations may result in nurses, midwives and students resorting to harmful behaviours in an attempt to self-manage health issues.

These health issues, including addiction, can affect a health professional's ability to perform competently at work, putting the public at risk of harm.

Barriers for seeking help

You may be reluctant to access support and treatment for an addiction or mental health issue because you fear it may lead to:

  • loss of employment or ability to continue with studies
  • being deregistered as a nurse or midwife
  • inability to work and consequent loss of income
  • professional and social isolation
  • stigma and judgement from colleagues within the team
  • legal ramifications especially if diverting drugs from the workplace for own use
  • loss of respect and trust between colleagues and the wider community, or
  • threat to career advancement and promotion opportunities.

You may have not asked for support or treatment because you:

  • believe that you should have the expertise to be able to manage the issues on your own
  • are too unwell or unaware of the direct effect and severity of your health issue and resulting risk to others
  • feel ashamed and guilty about your behaviour or actions
  • have a sense of failure to self and the profession, causing an internal conflict in accessing support
  • have feelings of loss of control and guilt about not coping
  • are unaware of treatment pathways/support available, or
  • are unsure where to access support or navigate your way through treatment.
What can I do next?

Why not read some of our articles on staying healthy:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

Was this page helpful?
81% of people found this helpful