The SHUNT Survey…


The SHUNT survey…

This week I would like to share a book that I read recently. Unbecoming a Nurse, Bypassing the Hidden Chemical Dependency Trap by Paula Davies Scimeca, RN, MS. Paula was drawn to mental health and addiction related nursing fields. She has worked for many years with chemically dependent nurses.  Seeing a need, she developed a survey to help identify those nurses who may be at greater risk for developing a chemical dependency. Hers is a unique outlook. Identify those who may be vulnerable early in their career so that preventative measures can be taken to mitigate that risk. The SHUNT Self-Survey for Nurses evolved from Paula’s observations. In her research she noted similarities in chemically dependent nurses and developed this survey. It is a quick survey, only requiring about 5 minutes of your time. Take it as a student nurse before the stresses of adult life begin. Maybe it will show that you need to take special care already. Taking the survey once is not as telling. Taken every few years, it can show changes that otherwise may not be recognized. Life happens, it gets hard. What we experienced yesterday is not the same as what we experience today. Our answers to the questions may change, our risk may increase. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know if you’re at risk of developing a dependency to chemicals that could end in tragedy? If you knew, you could do something about it. What a concept…prevention.

The book then focuses on safeguards for those whose score shows increased risk. There is no one right answer, but as Paula writes, there is a looming need on the horizon to develop safeguards protecting nurses from becoming chemically dependent (page 76). What if we could stop it before it starts?

I think this is a wonderful book, a wonderful idea. Paula travels and shares her ideas at facilities that employ nurses, addiction treatment professionals and schools of nursing. If each nursing school, hospital, clinic and any other area that employs nurses were to use this tool, maybe we could put a dent in the acceleration of chemically dependent nurses.

Visit her website and take the survey. Buy her book for a more in depth look at this topic. Let me know what you think…

About the Author

Kristin Waite-Labott is a registered nurse and recovering addict who has firsthand experience with the challenges of addiction. She now works as the Head Nurse Coach at Veritus, a virtual treatment program for nurses with substance use and mental health disorders, and is dedicated to helping nurses overcome addiction and making a difference in the lives of others. Kristin is passionate about addressing the growing problem of addiction among healthcare professionals and encourages open discussions and action to prevent it from spreading further.

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