Publication Date

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Danette Dutra

Second Advisor

G. Lindsay McCrea

Third Advisor

Nicola Longmuir


Opioid pain medication, RN attitudes


Emergency department (ED) Registered Nurse (RN) understanding of chronic pain management is critically important. By some estimates, 30% of all opioid pain medications in the United States (US) are prescribed from EDs. At the same time, prescription drug abuse is America’s fastest growing drug problem. While RNs have significant contact time with chronic pain patients who may also be drug abusers, RNs often use the stigmatizing label, “drug-seeking” for certain key patient behaviors and may not feel confident intervening constructively with these patients. This project reviews literature pertaining to SBIRT use for substance abuse in the ED and surveys ED nurses at one large, urban Northern California ED. The survey and accompanying discussion examines the relationship between RN professional insecurity in managing chronic pain patients and the tendency to stigmatize such patients. This project provides insight to one little-studied aspect of the complex topic of managing chronic pain patients in the emergency room—RN practice and attitudes towards the chronic, non-cancer pain patient and provides a needs assessment of RN readiness for SBIRT training.

Included in

Other Nursing Commons


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