Drug Rehabilitation Programs, Early Intervention, Impairment, Nurse Administrators, Nurse Managers Education, Nurses, Recovery, Substance-Related Disorders



  1. Luurila, Katrimaija RN, MSc
  2. Kangasniemi, Mari PhD
  3. Haggman-Laitila, Arja PhD


Background: Nurses' substance use disorder (SUD) endangers patient safety and decreases nurses' work ability and health. To better understand the methods, treatments, and benefits of the programs used to monitor nurses with SUD and promote their recovery, a systematic review of international research is needed.


Aim: The aim was to gather, evaluate, and summarize empirical research on programs for managing nurses with SUD.


Design: An integrative review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis instructions.


Method: Systematic searches were conducted in the CINAHL, PsycInfo, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases between 2006 and 2020, complemented with manual searches. Articles were selected based on inclusion, exclusion, and method-specific evaluation criteria. The data were analyzed narratively.


Results: The review identified 12 studies of which nine focused on recovery and monitoring programs for nurses with SUD or other impairment and three concerned training programs for nurse supervisors or worksite monitors. The programs were described in terms of their target groups, goals, and theoretical basis. The programs' methods and benefits were described together with challenges in their implementation.


Conclusion: There has been little research on programs for nurses with SUD, the programs that exist are heterogenous, and the evidence available in this field is weak. Further research and developmental work are needed on preventive and early detection programs as well as rehabilitative programs and programs supporting reentry to workplaces. In addition, programs should not be restricted to nurses and their supervisors; colleagues and work communities should also be involved.