Nursing: Pain Management and Opioids for Pennsylvania Advanced Practice Nurses

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About the Course

Addiction occurs in every state, county, socioeconomic class, and ethnic group (NIDA, 2017). The state of Pennsylvania has an overdose death rate that is more than twice the national average, and the rural areas of Pennsylvania are experiencing the greatest increase (Commonwealth of PA, 2018).  Nurse practitioners who prescribe controlled substances have a great responsibility to ensure patients receive the care they need while preventing their prescriptions from becoming a source of abuse or diversion.  This course is designed to identify the best practices for the use of prescription opioid medications for treating chronic pain within guidelines and laws pertaining to prescribing opioids.  The course also discusses strategies to combat the misuse of prescription medication.  In accordance with Section 9.1(a) of ABC-MAP, this course meets the requirements for advanced practice nurse prescribers including two (2) contact hours of pain management and identification of addiction and two (2) contact hours in the practices of prescribing and dispensing opioids.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Discuss the scope of opioid use, to include the frequency of abuse and fatal overdoses.
  • Understand the risks and benefits of providing pain relief with opioid medications.
  • Identify the increased risk of side effects from opioid medications in patients with mental health disorders.
  • Recognize treatment for pain caused by different pathologies.
  • Identify equivalent opioid doses to best manage medication changes.
  • Be able to list at least three characteristics associated with an addicted patient.
  • Name at least one key step in the process of treating an addiction to opioids.
  • Describe which class of medication overdoses can be treated with naloxone.
  • Describe the concepts of prescription drug abuse, misuse, addiction, and diversion, including recognition, risk factors, and prevention.
  • Explain the laws pertaining to prescribing of controlled substances, including medication schedules, prescription-filling rules, and registration requirements.
  • Discuss the management of pain, including evaluation, treatment, and medications used.
  • Describe steps necessary to ensure safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances, including professional documentation, patient-provider agreements, and informed consent.

About the Author:
Shellie D. Hill, DNP, FNP-BC

Shellie D. Hill, DNP, FNP-BC, is an assistant professor in the MSN-NP program at Saint Louis University.  She teaches the clinical courses for the family nurse practitioner students and advanced health assessment with clinical decision making and health promotion to MSN students. Dr. Hill has been a practicing FNP for 19 years and an RN for 25 years. Most of her practice has been in primary care, but she also has experience in urgent care and cardiology and currently practices in corporate health.

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  • Pennsylvania