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Keywords

Addiction, Nursing, Nursing Faculty, Training, Workforce Development

 

Authors

  1. Clancy, Carmel PhD, RGN, RMN, BSc (Hons), PG Cert HE, FPH, ICAPIII
  2. Oyefeso, Adenekan PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), CPsychol AFBPsS

Abstract

Abstract: Evidence remains fundamentally unchanged over the last 30 years that nurses are not sufficiently prepared during their undergraduate education to work with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. Employing a mixed-methods longitudinal panel design, our study objectives were to (a) explore perceptions among entry level nursing students regarding AOD work and (b) explore whether current alcohol and drug education efforts impact on the perception of AOD by nursing students over time. Two hundred forty-two students were recruited (94% response rate). Most (86%) of the study participants identified AOD training as relevant/extremely relevant to their future practice. After exposure to AOD sessions in the nursing curriculum, there was no significant change to participants' score on either alcohol or drug role security between T1 and T2/T3. However, there was a statistically significant improvement in alcohol therapeutic commitment between T1 and T2/T3 (F(2, 136) = 5.87, p < .01), but not between T2 and T3; conversely, drug therapeutic commitment was significantly higher at T2 but signficantly lower at T3 (F(2, 149) = 254.19, p < .0001). There was no significant difference in alcohol or drug role security between the three nurse training pathways. However, alcohol and drug therapeutic commitment scores at T1 were significantly higher in students taking the mental health field/track (F(2, 160) = 9.45, p < .001, and F(2, 236) = 15.23, p < .0001). Although the positive message is that students recognize the importance of the topic to their future practice, concerns remain regarding the impact and efforts of readiness for practice. Over a 3-year training period, no significant gains were made in increasing students' knowledge and skills, and their training experiences in clinical practice appear to have a negative effect on "therapeutic commitment" influenced by exposure/contact to patients with drug use disorders specifically and less than positive mentoring experiences with qualified nursing staff. How to address these issues is explored including the need to perhaps shift the focus of attention from "negative attitudes" held by students to exploring the barriers and obstacles in upskilling nursing faculty and clinical mentors so that they feel able and willing to teach and be a role model of good practice in this area.