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November 21, 2019 (Cleveland)

Opioid Consortium Launches Online Opioid Education Program for Nurses



Opioid Consortium Members Gather for First Joint MeetingThe Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium announces the launch of an opioid education program designed to support hospital nurses caring for patients with opioid use disorder. The coursework, available through an online portal, is designed to help nurses identify and understand opioid addiction as well as provide needed care.

“In recent years, hospitals in the area have seen a sharp increase in the number of patients who are suffering from opioid addiction,” says Camille Zalar, MHA, BSN, RN, CARN, director of education and initiatives at The Center for Health Affairs. “Many of these patients are in the hospital being treated for other unrelated health needs. This education program is designed for nurses without specialty training in substance or opioid use disorders to strengthen their understanding and give them the tools to identify and take appropriate action when they encounter a substance use disorder in the patients for whom they are caring.”

The opioid education program curriculum comprises four modules, which together cover topics including how to:

  • Complete risk assessments.
  • Identify and understand overdose and withdrawal.
  • Provide treatment for opioid use disorder.
  • Help patients manage complex conditions like chronic pain, diabetes, hepatitis or pregnancy.
  • Interact with patients’ family members.
  • Help patients plan for discharge from the hospital.

“The Opioid Consortium membership identified as one of its priorities the development of an education program, which is beginning with nurses but in time will also grow to incorporate other healthcare professionals,” says Randy Jernejcic, MD, MMM, vice president of clinical integration at University Hospitals and chair of the Opioid Consortium. “A challenge we face in society as a whole is the stigma associated with addiction. This program is meant not only to help us as providers deliver quality care but also to help us understand addiction as a chronic illness, alleviating stigma that can prevent patients from seeking and obtaining the treatment they need.”

The opioid education program is a self-directed course developed with the input of an expert group of nursing professionals from across the Opioid Consortium membership and accessible through an online portal maintained by The Center for Health Affairs. Nurses can earn continuing education for completing each module, with a total of 4.75 credits available. The Center is working with Opioid Consortium member hospitals to roll out the course through the hospital education departments.

Log into the Opioid Consortium Education Portal.

MORE: For more on the Opioid Consortium’s online opioid education program, contact us.

TWEETABLE: The Northeast Ohio Hospital #OpioidConsortium announces the launch of its online opioid education program to support nurses caring for patients with substance use disorders.