Healthcare workers and the public are aware that nurses did not directly impact the opioid crisis, however, studies show that nurses will have a direct impact on reversing

Nicole Hoffman    5 posts   Re: Topic 2 DQ 1  Healthcare workers and the public are aware that nurses did not directly impact the opioid crisis, however, studies show that nurses will have a direct impact on reversing the impact America is currently facing with opioid abuse and death. As many major medical companies and pharmacies face lawsuits and even bankruptcy in light of recent lawsuits, it is likely that nursing practice and evidence-based practices will change in an attempt to save lives and reduce opioid-related deaths. Working in a surgical center provides a unique nursing opportunity to address and change the opioid crisis, as many patients that begin abusing opioids begin their prescriptions either for chronic pain, or after injury or surgery (Demsey, Carr, Clarke, & Vipler, 2017).  Two ways that we can expect nursing practice to be impacted by the change in addressing our nation’s opioid crisis include patient teaching, and tracking medication use and pain levels (American Journal of Nursing [AJN], 2015). Patient education regarding opioid medications include educating the patient on the risks of opioid diversion, and the proper storage and disposal of opioid medication prescriptions (AJN, 2015). Studies show that approximately one-quarter of medications are diverted from legal prescriptions, while 71% of those diverted opioids were obtained either from friends or family, either for free or by theft (AJN, 2015). Educating patients about these facts as well as the importance of proper safe-keeping of medications and how or where to safely dispose of opioid medications is an important first step in correcting the opioid crisis.  Monitoring patient and tracking usage of opioids include patient teachings that focus on the correct usage, as well as appropriate indication and expectations (AJN, 2015). For example, patients after surgery should be educated that they will not be pain-free immediately following their procedure and that opioid prescription medications should not be used for any other indication other than pain, which includes induction of relaxation or sleep (AJN, 2015). It is also important to teach the patient about keeping a pain medication journal which includes the type of pain the patient is experiencing, the pain scale rating associated with the pain, as well as time and dosage of the medications taken, reviewing these journals with the patient can help the healthcare providers notice usage or patterns that could indicate a current or potential problem (AJN, 2015). Helping to identify issues before they become an actual problem are other interventions that the nurse provides to the patient that will aid in addressing and correcting the opioid crisis in the United States.  References  American Journal of Nursing. (2015, August). Nurses’ role in preventing prescription opioid diversion. Lippincott Nursing Center, 115(8), 34-40. Retrieved from https://www.nursingcenter.com/cearticle?an=00000446-201508000-00021&Journal_ID=54030&Issue_ID=3152763  Demsey, D., Carr, N. J., Clarke, H., & Vipler, S. (2017, October 1). Managing Opioid Addiction Risk in Plastic Surgery During the Perioperative Period. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1097/PRS.0000000000003742

 

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