No one in their right mind could ever argue that nurses aren’t the lifeblood of the healthcare industry. These men and women do all the heavy lifting to ensure that both patients and doctors live to fight another day.
Let’s be clear, without nurses, the bedside manner of American medicine would undoubtedly disintegrate to nothing, and a lot more ailing people would be in hospital beds right now eating lousy food and watching Andy Griffith reruns with little to no hope. So, the next time you have a face-to-face encounter with a nurse, why not show some appreciation? The best way to do that, according to a new study, is to give them marijuana.
It seems that researchers at the University of Arizona College of Nursing have uncovered a shocking truth: Many nurses across the country are regular cannabis users. If they aren’t, they probably want to be. This might not shock anyone who has a personal relationship with one of the nearly 4 million registered nurses in the United States. But the idea that many front-line healthcare workers are getting red-eyed and ripped would almost assuredly surprise Mr. Smith in Room 315, who in just a matter of hours is scheduled to be prepped by one of them for a vasectomy.
The reason nurses are getting stoned, the study finds, is to help deal with the mental and physical stress that comes with the job. Most of these people have been working non-stop for the past year to help combat the COVID debacle. The tension is mounting to the point where if they don’t get to chill, they might go right over the edge. It’s an edge that many nurses are closer to than you’d think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50% of healthcare workers suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Nearly 10% are having suicidal thoughts. Some go through with it too. In fact, suicide rates for nurses have increased over the years.
RELATED: Healthcare Professionals Suffer Risk Of COVID-19 Burnout
So yeah, nurses are smoking weed. Not only is it legal now in over half of the nation, but there is mounting evidence that marijuana can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s presumably also helping some of these people get some much-needed sleep. But don’t worry about them botching that vasectomy, Mr. Smith. No sir, you’re in good hands. It’s not like they are gathering in the break rooms to get smoked out before or during their shift. Researchers found that most of the cannabis use that occurs in the nursing world happens after hours.
RELATED: Study: Marijuana Reduces Symptoms Of Anxiety, Depression, And Stress
“We really found that nurses were doing these things to recuperate after work,” Dr. Jessica Rainbow, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the U of A, told KOLD News 13. “So, they were coming home from work, they were in a lot of pain, and then they were using these different coping strategies, rather than using them prior to work.”
Rainbow’s team plans to examine cannabis use among nurses in an extensive study set to get underway soon. The goal is to identify the reality of the situation and provide honest, data-based recommendations to state boards regarding cannabis products. As it stands, nurses cannot test positive for marijuana and keep their jobs — not even in legal states.
Trying to beat the system is undoubtedly causing them even more stress than the job itself entails. To that end, researchers will also investigate how cannabis use in the nursing community affects patients. Because make no mistake about it, Mr. Smith wants to be sure that a nurse with THC coursing through her veins will not put him or his boys in peril when he shows up for his appointment.