“Last week, President Trump took an important step to address our country’s opioid crisis by allowing public health agencies to redirect existing health resources. By declaring the crisis a public health emergency, the administration sets a tone for national discussion about addiction to opioids. By declaring the crisis a public health issue, the administration is recognizing that addiction is a chronic neurological disorder and needs to be treated as other chronic conditions are.
However, to fully combat the magnitude of this epidemic a significant financial investment is needed so that our nation can expand access to treatment, develop a national prevention strategy and broaden the pool of those eligible to prescribe medications to treat substance use disorders.
Clinical nurse specialists working at the bedside and beyond often witness first-hand the heartbreaking toll opioid misuse and abuse has on too many patients and families.
As advanced practice registered nurses whose graduate-level education and training prepare us with high-value knowledge and skills, CNSs are uniquely positioned to help reduce inappropriate or unsafe opioid use while supporting effective, multi-modal pain management. We must ensure that efforts to address the opioid epidemic do not overshadow the ongoing need for compassionate pain management.
Reducing the societal devastation caused by opioid misuse and abuse requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach that includes evidence-based pain management care, clinician education and systems-level changes to current practice. Clinical nurse specialists are ready to lead a thoughtful dialogue to support a balanced approach to safe acute and chronic pain management in a variety of settings.”
Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, ACNS-BC is the President of the 2017-2018 NACNS Board of Directors.