201 Careers in NursingIn this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

BASIC DESCRIPTION:

Nurses who are addictions counselors work in organizations that specialize in helping clients overcome addictive disorders. Treatment programs exist in all regions of the country. Chemical dependency is a major health problem, and nurses work with clients to help them learn more effective ways of coping.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing is preferred with certification as a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN). Three years’ experience as an RN is necessary for CARN certification. Within the 5 years prior to the application for certification, a minimum of 4,000 hours (2 years) of nursing experience related to addictions is required. There is also an advanced practice certification that requires the Master of Science in Nursing.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED:

  • Excellent interpersonal and counseling skills
  • Good interviewing techniques
  • Strong assessment skills
  • Counseling ability
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Interest in mental health
  • Ability to work in interdisciplinary teams

RELATED WEB SITES AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

  • International Nurses Society on Addictions (www.intnsa.org)
  • American Nurses Association Peer Assistance Program (www.ana.org)