Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences Spokane is teaching students in its medicine, pharmacy, and nursing programs how to care for patients suffering from opioid addiction. A two-hour class developed by faculty at the university will teach teamwork and communication to provide an effective approach to treatment for these sensitive patients.

The Washington Department of Health funded the development of the program. Almost 350 students from WSU and Eastern Washington University took the class in January and February. WSU will eventually be making the curriculum freely available online to any university that wants to offer the curriculum to its health sciences students and a follow-up grant will allow the university to adapt the material for use by rural health clinics. 

Barbara Richardson, PhD, RN, an associate clinical professor in WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, tells news.wsu.edu, “We know that a lot of times when patients run into problems with opioids its because there’s poor communication on the health care team. People can fall through the cracks; our goal is to build a system where the cracks don’t exist.”

The curriculum on how to create a team approach to opioid addiction covers roles and responsibilities, appropriate language, and conveying patient information to other members of an interprofessional healthcare team. To learn more about Washington State University’s new curriculum for teaching a team approach to opioid addiction to health sciences students, visit here

Christina Morgan
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