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National Nursing Association Announces Task Force to Study Opioid Use and Pain Management in Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Practice

Prescription opioid abuse is at an all-time high. More than 10 million Americans reported using prescription opioids for nonmedical purposes in 2014 and more than half of all Americans say they know someone who has misused, been addicted to or died using prescription painkillers. The problem has become so severe that this year, several leading health care professional associations came together to form a national Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose and President Obama has designated this week as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

In conjunction with the awareness week, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) today announced a new task force that will work to support clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) around the country in providing appropriate pain management and addressing opioid abuse in their practices.

The Opioid/Pain Management Task Force will research and identify the resources CNSs need to address appropriate opioid use and pain management in their practices. The task force will also make recommendations to the NACNS Board of Directors for resources and policies the organization should develop and support to address this national health care crisis.

“Opioid addiction has become a public health crisis in our nation,” said Sharon Horner, PhD, RN, MC-CNS, FAAN, president of NACNS. “Fortunately, clinical nurse specialists are well-positioned to take a leadership role in preventing and treating such addiction. We are so pleased to have these dedicated and experienced CNSs step up and take the lead in helping combat opioid abuse while ensuring that people get appropriate and necessary pain management.”

The members of the task force are:

Indianapolis, Ind.: Marti Michel, DNP, RN, PCNS-BC, CPNP, Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Burn Units at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.

Pittsfield, Mass.: Patricia Rosier, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Moorehead, Minn.: Beth Ashmore, BSN, MSN, ACNS-BC, CEN, Director of Throughput and Patient Flow at Sanford Health
in Fargo, ND.

Garner, NC: Cynthia Klaess, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCM, Medical-Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist
at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC.

Wake Forest, NC: Michael Urton, MSN, AGCNS-BC, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Inpatient Rehabilitation at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC.

Lebanon , Ohio: D. Jeannie Burnie, MS, APRN, AGCNS BC, CEN, FAEN, Emergency Department
Clinical Nurse Specialist at TriHealth, Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Roanoke, Va.: Phyllis Whitehead, PhD, APRN, ACHPN, RN-BC, Pain Management and Palliative Care
Clinical Nurse Specialist at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke.

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