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Is the Clinical Practicum in Addiction Treatment Facilities an Effective Educational Intervention to Improve Nursing Students' Attitudes Toward Alcohol Use Disorders?

The paucity of education and training on alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in nursing curricula is the main predictor of negative attitudes and results in limited knowledge access and delivery of health care for persons experiencing these problems. Although experts advocate increasing the time devoted to alcohol-related content in a crowded curriculum, didactic strategies for teaching about addiction in prequalifying nursing education have been discussed. This study aimed to verify the effectiveness of an educational experience that integrated clinical practicum experience in addiction treatment facilities for nursing students' attitudes. A quasi-experimental one-group study with pre-and-post 3-month follow-ups was carried out with 108 nursing students who answered the Attitudes Scale toward Alcohol, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Patients with Alcohol Use Disorders. The effect of the clinical practicum was apparent, with statistically significant changes to more positive global attitude scores in all measures. Previous educational intervention for AUDs during nursing education was a predictor of positive attitudes (OR = 7.21, p < .04). Students' self-perceived skills and professional preparation to deliver and direct care for patients with AUDs improved after the intervention, suggesting that clinical practice influenced students' skills for AUD identification across nursing practice. Previous contact with this population with lack of training in substance use disorder seems to favor negative attitude development. Clinical practicum experience in addiction treatment facilities improved nursing students' attitudes toward AUDs and patients with AUDs, and its effects were sustained 3 months later.

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