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Understanding Substance Use Disorder in Nursing

Online, self-paced CE course

Prevent, Detect and Intervene

Cost: Free! Find out why

CE Credit: 4.0 Contact Hours

Enroll Now: Go to NCSBN's Online Campus Now

Note: This course was formerly known as Confronting Colleague Chemical Dependency

Audience:This self-paced course is useful for nurses in any practice setting and level of practice; the role of the nurse manager is also discussed throughout.

Prepare now for one of the most challenging dilemmas a nurse can face

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Substance use disorder (SUD) may be one of the most serious problems affecting nursing professionals today. This self-paced course will help you acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge you need to compassionately get colleagues the help they need, while protecting the public. Through in-depth instruction, you can find answers to these questions:

  • What myths about SUD prevent nurses from receiving early intervention?
  • How can I recognize the symptoms early?
  • If I’m concerned about a colleague, how can our nursing team best help?
  • How can nurses decrease their risk factors for SUD?


  • How can nurses recover and safely return to practice?
  • How are nurse managers in a unique position to carry out policies and practices?


You will receive unlimited, 24-hour access to the course materials, earning 4.0 contact hours.

Sign up today and learn how to help tackle one of the most serious problems facing the profession of nursing today!

Show you care through early recognition, reporting and intervention

In this course, you will increase your understanding about SUD, addiction and the addicted brain. Debunk common myths as you master these course objectives:

  • Define substance use disorder, abuse and addiction
  • Explain how to identify substance use disorder in a nurse
  • Compare traditional board of nursing discipline with non-disciplinary approaches for a nurse with substance use disorder.
  • Discuss the issues related to treatment, recovery and return to practice for a nurse with substance use disorder.

Learn through a convenient online classroom

Your study will be complemented by some of the best learning aids available, developed by NCSBN, including these fun and interactive e-learning instructional techniques:

  1. Watch and learn — Throughout the course you’ll watch clips of the video developed just for this course: Substance Use Disorder in Nursing.

  2. Draw from diverse resources — Explore “Links to Knowledge,” visual and graphic aids and key terms as you navigate through the course contents. You’ll also listen to American Nurses Association podcasts on iTunes and complete the Work Stress Profile, a survey on nursing stress by the Learning Nurse Resource Network.

  3. Reflect on your new-found knowledge — Answer quiz questions and complete short-answer and essay questions in the downloadable workbook. Note: Completion of the workbook may be necessary to meet board of nursing requirements.

  4. Complete the course at your own pace — Guide yourself through the course and complete assignments at your convenience.

At the end of the course, evaluate your understanding of the learning objectives by completing the posttest. Score 75% or above to receive your contact hours!

Learn to compassionately and effectively assist your peers! Sign up now

Are you a Nurse Manager? Learn Critical Information Managers Need to Know About SUD.

If you are a nurse manager, consider the companion CE course written specifically for you: Nurse Manager Guidelines for Substance Use Disorder. You’ll receive even more information and practical guidelines for creating and maintaining a healthy work environment for your employees.



This course was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN):


  • Susan H. Richmond, MSN, RN, NCSBN
  • Kathleen Russell, JD, MN, RN, NCSBN

With contributions by:

  • Nancy Darbro, PhD, RN, CNS
  • Valerie Smith, MS, RN, FRE