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Nursing department joins fight against opioid addiction

ISSUED: 29 April 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Department of Nursing Education is one of 191 nursing programs across the nation that has agreed to join the national fight against opioid addiction. Shepherd’s commitment was featured in a White House fact sheet released today as part of the White House Champions of Change event on advancing prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Beginning in the fall, advanced practice registered nursing students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will be required to take a prescriber education class where they will learn the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. CDC guidelines are intended to help health care practitioners assess the benefits and risks of prescribing opioids. The guidelines provide suggestions on when to start and stop treatment for chronic pain, what medicine to choose, and what dose to prescribe.

“Shepherd’s family nurse practitioners are on the front line as providers for primary care and need to be equipped with the guidelines for advancing prevention, treatment, and recovery for patients who use opioids to control pain,” said Dr. Sharon Mailey, director/chair of the Department of Nursing Education. “Incorporating the CDC Guideline into the educational experience of our students is the first step in our nation’s efforts to combat prescription drug and opioid abuse.

“Shepherd is a proud supporter of President Obama’s effort to bring change to our nation’s health and his initiatives to address opioid abuse and Shepherd’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program is committed to the education of our students to help address this pressing public health crisis,” Mailey added.

Mailey said the CDC guidelines will first be introduced in the advanced pharmacology course and then threaded throughout the curriculum to equip nursing students with the current standards.

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