Alcohol and drug dependency is a widespread health and social issue encountered by registered nurses in contemporary practice. A study aiming to describe the experiences of registered nurses working in an alcohol and drug unit in South East Queensland was implemented. Data were analysed via Giorgi's phenomenological method and an unexpected but signifi cant fi nding highlighted the frustration felt by registered nurses regarding experiences of stigma they identified in their daily work encounters. Secondary analysis confirmed the phenomenon of stigma with three themes: (1) inappropriate judgement; (2) advocacy; and (3) education. Resultantly, findings concluded registered nurses' working in this field need to become advocates for their clients, ensuring professional conduct is upheld at all times. This paper recommends that stigma could be addressed by incorporating alcohol and other drug dependency subjects and clinical placements into the curriculum of the Bachelor of Nursing degrees, and in-services for all practising registered nurses.