Attitudes, Clinical Education, Hospitalization, Nursing, Opioid Use Disorder, Stigma



  1. Ginther, Jane DNP, APRN-CNP
  2. Chipps, Esther PhD, RN, NEA-BC
  3. Landers, Timothy PhD, APRN-CNP, CIC, FAAN
  4. Sinnott, Loraine PhD
  5. Overcash, Janine PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FAAN


Background: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a public health crisis, yet most acute care nurses are not educated to deliver evidence-based OUD care. Hospitalization provides a unique opportunity to initiate and coordinate OUD care in people presenting for other medical-surgical reasons. The aim of this quality improvement project was to determine the impact of an educational program on self-reported competencies of medical-surgical nurses caring for people with OUD at a large academic medical center in the Midwestern United States.


Method: Data were collected from two time points using a quality survey examining self-reported nurse competencies related to (a) assessment, (b) intervention, (c) treatment recommendation, (d) resource use, (e) beliefs, and (f) attitudes toward caring for people with OUD.


Results: Nurses surveyed before education (T1G1, N = 123) and, after education, those who received the intervention (T2G2, N = 17) and those who did not (T2G3, N = 65) were included. Resource use subscores increased over time (T1G1: x = 3.83, T2G3: x = 4.07, p = .006). Results from the two measurement points found no difference in mean total scores (T1G1: x = 3.53, T2G3: x = 3.63, p = .09). Comparison of mean total scores of nurses who directly received the educational program with those who did not during the second time point showed no improvement (T2G2: x = 3.52, T2G3: x = 3.63, p = .30).


Conclusions: Education alone was insufficient in improving self-reported competencies of medical-surgical nurses caring for people with OUD. Findings can be used to inform efforts to increase nurse knowledge and understanding of OUD and to decrease negative attitudes, stigma, and discriminatory behaviors perpetuating care.