Review| Volume 21, ISSUE 1, P35-42, February 2020

Nursing Education in the Midst of the Opioid Crisis



      The current opioid addiction crisis highlights two chronic health conditions which have traditionally received relatively little emphasis in nursing curricula: addiction and chronic pain. In an effort to provide direction to nursing programs in the US on the curriculum needed to prepare students to care for patients and meaningfully intervene in the opioid crisis, this paper presents an overview of the curricular elements which require integration.

      Design and Data Sources

      Specifically, the state of current nursing education in pain and addiction are reviewed, followed by foundational knowledge for nursing practice to address the opioid crisis.

      Review/Analysis Methods

      Practice competencies for generalist registered nurses as well as advanced practice nurses will then be detailed, and, recognizing the role nurses play in policy development and implementation, policy interventions to address the opioid crisis will also be presented.

      Result and Conclusions

      Both addiction and chronic pain are sources of suffering for patients; the key role nursing can play in reducing the experience of these illnesses in these vulnerable populations is critical to addressing the opioid addiction crisis.
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