Newswise — PARK RIDGE, ILLINOIS—A new position statement, published in the April/May 2017 Journal of Addictions Nursing (JAN) advocates for an alternative-to-discipline (ATD) approach for those in the nursing community who have a substance use disorder. To help ensure patient safety and nurse well-being, ATD programs make it easier for impaired nurses to step away from work while they receive treatment. It also creates a clear path for co-workers to report a suspicion because they know their friend will be treated fairly, rather than punished, for addiction.
“It’s about education for prevention and fair handling when it happens,” said Lynn Reede, DNP, MBA, CRNA, FNAP, AANA senior director of Professional Practice. “Education raises awareness and understanding, and at the same time decreases the stigma related to the disease. Treatment of substance use disorder helps keep patients and healthcare professionals safe.”
The position statement, “Substance Use Among Nurses and Nursing Students,” co-authored by the International Nurses Society of Addictions (IntNSA) and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), urges using an ATD approach for nurses and nursing students with substance use disorders, “with the stated goals of retention, rehabilitation, and re-entry into safe, professional practice.” Drug diversion for personal use “is viewed as a symptom of a serious and treatable disorder, and not exclusively as a crime.”
“An ATD approach gives Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists three opportunities: 1) To enter treatment to address their addiction, 2) To work toward lifelong sobriety, and 3) When possible, their eventual return to the workplace,” said Linda Stone, DNP, CRNA, chair of the AANA Peer Assistance Advisors Committee.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) strongly supports this positive approach to proactively address substance use disorder within the nursing community. The AANA joins the American Nurses Association (ANA) in endorsing the position statement.
To view both the IntNSA/ENA position statement and the AANA’s position statement, “Addressing Substance Use Disorder in Anesthesia Professionals,” visit:
About the AANA Peer Assistance Advisors Committee
AANA Peer Assistance Advisors Committee (PAAC) was established in 1983 to offer proactive support for issues related to drugs and alcohol, impairment, and/or suspicion of drug diversion among nurse anesthetists. PAAC, along with the network of volunteer State Peer Advisors (SPAs), provides confidential assistance through informational support and referral resources to nurse anesthesia professionals and the public on issues regarding well-being as it pertains to risk for substance use disorder and other issues such as experiencing adverse events and fitness for duty. Their work is committed to educational endeavors to promote awareness and the formulation of guidelines for early recognition, intervention, treatment, long-term recovery, and appropriate re-entry.
About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., and Washington, D.C., the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional organization representing more than 50,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists across the United States. As advanced practice registered nurses and anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals. For more information, visit and