Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

MaryLou Mylant


Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is defined as the continued use of mood-altering addicting substances despite adverse consequences (Morse & Flavin, 1992). Nurses are not immune from this progressive and fatal disease and if left untreated, a nurse with SUD poses a double jeopardy: risk to the patients and a threat to her or his own health. Many State Boards of Nursing (SBN) have implemented a non-disciplinary alternative to punitive treatment of professionals with SUD; such programs offer monitoring for nurses afflicted with SUD. While studies have found a lower relapse rate for healthcare professionals enrolled in these monitoring programs than that of the general public, data on risk factors for relapse of nurses participating in an alternative monitoring program are lacking. This study seeks to answer the following: 1) What characteristics are common to nurses in a SUD monitoring program who relapse? 2) What characteristics are common to nurses in a SUD monitoring program who do not relapse? Pender’s Health Promotion Model “depicts the multidimensional nature of persons interacting with their interpersonal and physical environments as they pursue health” (Pender, Murdaugh, & Parsons, 2006, p. 50). This retrospective chart review used a descriptive, correlational and comparative design to examine and describe characteristics common to two groups of nurses while enrolled in a SUD monitoring program: those who relapsed and those who did not relapse. This research identified two risk factors for relapse of nurses: a family history of SUD and self-identified concern regarding emotional well-being. Nurse monitoring programs need to assess for these risk factors among participants and specific interventions developed before more nurses are lost to this disease. A network of resources could be developed and referrals for additional help and support implemented.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurses--substance use
Nurses--Health risk assessment
Substance abuse--Relapse--Prevention


Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-32)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted

Included in

Nursing Commons