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Improving Nurses' Attitudes Toward Substance Use Disorder: Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.

Patients with substance use disorder (SUD) encounter many barriers to healthcare, including negative attitudes of healthcare personnel. Compared with other healthcare professions, nurses have been reported as having less tolerant attitudes toward patients with SUD. Knowledge acquisition combined with role support has been shown to improve therapeutic attitudes of nurses toward patients with SUD. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based educational intervention aimed to improve the outcomes of patients at risk and with SUD. SBIRT education has been shown as an effective educational tool with licensed nurses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate whether a 2-hour educational session on SBIRT (Mitchell et al., 2013) improved the therapeutic attitudes of nurses toward patients with SUD. Peplau's theory of interpersonal relations guided this study with an emphasis on the nurse-patient relationship. A quasi-experimental pretest/posttest design was used to evaluate nurses' attitudes pre and post a 2-hour educational session. Participants included 65 registered nurses employed in a 247-bed teaching hospital in New England. Attitudes were measured before and after the educational session using the 20-item, five-subscale Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire. A paired t test was performed, showing statistically significant improvements in attitudes postintervention. Prior education on SUD significantly correlated with baseline attitudes. A standard regression model, with practice setting, family history of SUD, and prior education as dependent variables, was not predictive of baseline attitudes. The results suggest conducting SBIRT should be considered a mandatory nursing competency, both in undergraduate curriculum and among licensed nurses.

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