Problematic Substance Use – A Guide for Nurses

Nurses are accountable to take action if a co-worker or themselves are experiencing PSU that negatively impacts the ability of the nurse to practice safely. Problematic substance use (PSU) can affect a nurse’s cognitive functioning and judgment, decision-making and the ability to manage stressful situations. As a result, PSU conflicts with the standards of practice for nurses and is a threat to the provision of safe, competent, ethical and compassionate nursing services.

We developed this practice guideline to help nurses understand their role in identifying PSU, steps to take if PSU is suspected and returning to practice after recovery.

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