2011-2012 Grad


Protective factors against relapse for practicing nurse anesthetists in recovery from anesthetic opiates

Addiction to anesthetic opiates is an occupational hazard for anesthesia providers, which includes nurse anesthetists. Several factors influence this hazard risk, including, genetic make-up, personality traits, and job stress. Also of great concern is the risk of relapse if an anesthesia provider returns to work, which can be as high as 40%. However, there are nurse anesthetists who have successfully returned to the practice of anesthesia while in recovery from addiction to anesthetic opiates. These nurse anesthetists have first-hand experience with the challenges of recovery when faced with continual access to opiates, and their experience can help others in similar situations and provide a deeper understanding about the process of recovery.

Article synthesis: The first article published in this dissertation, titled "Imaging the Addicted Brain" (Wright, in press) provides a foundational background about the science of addiction.

The second article published, titled "Opiate Abuse among Nurse Anesthetists and Anesthesiologists" (2012, Wright, Stullenbarger, McGuinness, Moneyham, Schumacher, and Zwerling) describes the scope of the problem among anesthesia providers.

The third article titled, "Protective Factors against Relapse in Practicing Nurse Anesthetists in Recovery from Anesthetic Opiates" describes the findings from the investigator's dissertation research that examined factors that prevent relapse in nurse anesthetists who have been in recovery from addiction to anesthetic opioids and are successfully practicing in their chosen field. Findings from this qualitative study contribute to the body of knowledge about addiction, recovery, relapse, and relapse prevention, especially when faced with handling the drugs on a daily basis.

The full abstract can be found here.