Ask the Experts: Alcohol and Opioid Use Research


Can't wait for APNA 32nd Annual Conference? Get one last session sneak peak with this Q&A! Presenter Khadejah F. Mahmoud, PhD(c), MSN, will join the hundreds of psychiatric-mental health nursing subject matter experts in Columbus, Ohio from October 24-27. Her session centers on alcohol and opioid use, and below, she discusses the importance of this topic and how it relates to your nursing practice. (And don't forget, online registration for the conference closes on October 15, so register now!)

Nurses’ Readiness to Care for Patients with Alcohol and Opioid Use Problems: Exploring Nurses’ Demographical, Personal and Professional Factors

Khadejah F. Mahmoud, PhD(c), MSN
Session 2045

Khadejah Mahmoud

What role can nurses play in addressing alcohol and opioid use?  Nurses can be a key partner in the WHO and Institute of Medicine (IOM) strategies for addressing alcohol and opioid (AO) use through implementation of AO-preventive measures such as screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Despite previous attempts to educate nurses to deliver this set of clinical strategies to persons in health care settings, the majority of nurses reported low readiness and motivation to provide care for persons with AO use or to be involved in their care. Nurses' low readiness and motivation has been linked with delays in AO-use problem identification, access to healthcare services, and further, increased the likelihood of patients dropping out of treatment. In addition, low readiness and motivation among nurses has been associated with lower quality of care provided to this patient population. In recent intervention studies that targeted nurses’ professional attitudes (role security and therapeutic commitment) using SBIRT education and clinical exposure, nurses’ readiness and motivation did not change. Therefore, it was imperative to explore the factors that are associated with nurses’ readiness and motivation to provide care to patients who use AO.

What is one key takeaway from your session?  The goal of this program of research is to enhance the knowledge and competencies of the nursing workforce to reduce the human and economic costs associated with AO use. Since AO education alone was not sufficient to enhance nurses’ readiness and motivation to provide this care, understanding how nurses’ demographic and background characteristics as well as their personal and professional factors are associated with nurses’ AO-readiness and motivation is the first step toward further research. This research could lead to the development of interventions to target readiness and motivation and subsequently enhance AO-use identification, intervention, and access to treatment.

What is one result of the study that you found particularly surprising? Although the literature indicated that some demographic and background characteristics, such as age, gender, and years of experience in nursing, were linked to nurses’ AO-related readiness, none of these factors were found to be significantly associated with nurses’ readiness. Interestingly, in addition to most of the personal attitudes and all the professional attitudes, nurses’ personal AO-experience and specialization were significantly associated with their readiness and motivation. The good news is that most of these factors can be acquired and thus, hopefully targeted via interventions. However, it is important to note that this is a pilot study and further research need to be done before generalizing the findings of this study.


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