Alcohol and Other Drugs Nurse (AOD Nurse)

Job Description

Alcohol and Other Drug Nurses are responsible for working with patients of all ages, their families and caregivers who suffer from an addiction to alcohol and other drugs.  They facilitate people in their recovery from addiction, providing a holistic approach while considering the individual’s mental and physical health.   

Government departments and not-for-profit organisations are the most common employers of Alcohol and Other Drug Nurses; however, many in the industry are employed by privately funded organisations such as treatment clinics and rehabilitation centres.  They work collaboratively with other teams and service providers, including mental health workers, social workers and organisations that provide support in areas such as homelessness and justice.

Rehabilitation Nurses can treat a range of conditions, which include but are not limited to:  

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Substances
  • Gambling

To become an Alcohol and Other Drug Nurse, you must first be a Registered Nurse (RN).  Registered Nurses work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside other skilled professionals, including doctors, surgeons, specialists, therapists, speciality nurses, social workers, and many others, to provide ongoing patient care to people who are sick, disabled, injured or recovering from surgery. 

Registered nurses deliver primary health care in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, aged care facilities, Government or military institutions, community, or school settings, in the home or outpatient facilities.

Some of the responsibilities of Nursing include:

  • Assessing, observing, and speaking to patients
  • Planning and carrying out nursing care according to accepted nursing practices and standards
  • Monitoring the condition and health of patients and recording their progress
  • Recording vital signs - temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar
  • Drawing blood, urine samples, and other body fluids for lab work
  • Preparing patients for exams and treatment
  • Administering medications, and monitoring patients for side effects and reactions
  • Providing pre-operative and post-operative care
  • Dressing wounds, providing interventions, treatments, therapies, medications
  • Assisting in medical procedures as needed
  • Consulting with other health professionals, such as doctors
  • Taking part in health education and other health promotion activities
  • Educating patients and families about treatments, care, and health
  • Providing emotional support to patients and relatives
  • Supervising and mentoring trainee nurses and students

You can specialise in other roles while working as a Nurse, undertaking further studies to obtain qualifications and specialise in a particular area of nursing.

Read about all other Specialty Nursing Roles here


To become a Registered Nurse in Australia you need to complete a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing, which is available at most Australian universities.   Alternatively, for students with previous tertiary qualifications, complete a two-year Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) program.  Further study is essential if you are looking to take the next step in your career and advance in specialist nursing roles.  

An Alcohol and Other Drug Nurse often undertakes further specialist training in that field, such as a Certificate in Alcohol and Other Drugs.  They may also have gained experience working in that field through workplacement or on call work which has directed their career down this path.  

All Nurses must apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Registration must be renewed annually.


  • Approachable
  • Autonomous
  • Calm
  • Cheerful
  • Communicator
  • Confident
  • Courteous
  • Determined
  • Devoted
  • Diligent
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Focused
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal
  • Organised
  • Patient
  • Perceptive
  • Positive
  • Procedural
  • Punctual
  • Welcoming

Key Skills

  • AHPRA Registration
  • Nursing Practice
  • Quality Improvement
  • Critical Care
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Patient Care
  • Developing and implementing care policies

Future Prospects

Registered Nurses can undertake further studies to obtain qualifications and progress their career into more senior positions such as;

Registered Nurses can specialise in other roles, undertaking further studies to obtain qualifications and specialise in a particular area of nursing.  Specialised Nursing Roles include: