C63. The role of the addictions nurse specialist: Is it disappearing? A view from the UK frontline

About The Event

Learner category:

  • Beginning Level
  • Novice Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Expert Level

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will gain an understanding of the state of play with respect to addiction nursing roles within the UK
  • Participants will learn about the challenges facing the career development of addiction nurses in the UK
  • Participants will learn about the initial findings of a qualitative study exploring the ‘voice of the addiction nurse’ and historical perspectives on this role


Addictions nursing practice and care has a rich history since the advent of formal services for the treatment of substance use disorders, yet there is still no universally agreed role definition, standard scope of practice, or certification process in the UK. Despite multiple accounts of how nurses innovated, broke down barriers, and advanced the treatment and recovery agenda, the value of the addictions nurse specialist role has in recent times been threaten, as NHS addiction services are decommissioned, or transferred into non-traditional non-statutory sectors. This presentation will discuss the challenges currently facing addictions nurses as they seek to identify, protect, and advocate for their place within the pull and push of policy and structural changes. The authors will present highlights from a qualitative survey of ‘expert addiction nurses’ on factors which may have accounted for how addiction nursing is currently perceived, and invite participants to engage in a wider piece of work that is currently exploring the experience of nurses in relation to their preparation and engagement in working with problematic substance use in their respective countries.


Dr Carmel Clancy, PhD, RN, ICAPII
Professor of Addictions and Mental Health at Middlesex University and Head of School, School of Health and Education
Dr Betsy Thom PhD
Professor of Health Policy at Middlesex University where she is a co-director of the Drugs and Alcohol Research Centre
Dr Anne Whittaker PhD, RN
Professor of Nursing and a clinical academic in applied substance use and mental health research, based in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit, which is part of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport. The NMAHP Research Unit is one of six research units in Scotland funded by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), in the Scottish Government Health Directorate
Dr Fizz Annand PhD, MSc
Qualified as a social worker in 1992, gained a Diploma in Drug and Alcohol Studies at the Centre for Drugs and Health Behaviour, Imperial College, completed her MSc in Drug use; evidence based policy and intervention at Imperial College in 2005, authoring a research dissertation on the development and implementation of crack house closure legislation, and gained her Phd with Middlesex University was gained in 2014. The research project was: ‘Developing and delivering local level partnership schemes with the alcohol trade: A governmental analysis’.

Our Speakers

Dr Anne Whittaker
Dr Betsy Thom
Dr Carmel Clancy
Dr Fizz Annand
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