Brief Intervention, Curriculum Evaluation, Nursing Education, Referral to Treatment, Screening, Substance Use Disorder



  1. Zucker, Donna M. PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Rataj, Suzanne MS, MPH
  3. Linowski, Sally PhD, MSPH
  4. DiFulvio, Gloria T. PhD, MPH
  5. Fedorchak, Diane MEd, CAGS
  6. Dion, Kimberly PhD, RN, CNE, CARN
  7. Chandler, Genevieve E. PhD, RN


Background: Screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based set of skills and strategies used by health care providers. Data have suggested SBIRT should be used in detecting persons at risk for substance use and be included in every primary care encounter, as many needing substance abuse treatment do not receive it.


Methods: This descriptive study evaluated data for 361 undergraduate student nurses who participated in SBIRT training. Pretraining and 3-month posttraining surveys were used to evaluate changes in trainees' knowledge, attitudes, and skills toward people with substance use disorder. A satisfaction survey immediately after the training measured satisfaction with and usefulness of the training.


Results: Eighty-nine percent of students self-reported that the training increased their knowledge and skills related to screening and brief intervention. Ninety-three percent reported that they intended to use these skills in the future. Pre-post measures indicated statistically significant increases in knowledge, confidence, and perceived competence on all measures.


Conclusions: Both formative and summative evaluation assisted in improving trainings each semester. These data confirm the need to integrate SBIRT content across the undergraduate nursing curriculum and include faculty and preceptors to improve rates of screening in clinical practice.