Susan Albrecht

Susan Albrecht delivers the keynote speech of the School of Nursing’s “Serving the Underserved” Evidence Based Practice and Research Conference held on May 8.

Photo courtesy of: CHSP

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Keynote speaker discusses variety of healthcare issues during CHSP conference

As part of the School of Nursing’s “Serving the Underserved” Evidence Based Practice and Research Conference held at Ohio University on May 8, Susan Albrecht, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, discussed using an interprofessional education program that can help healthcare professionals screen and address addiction behaviors.

Albrecht was the keynote speaker for the event hosted by the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is used as a tool to help treat those who misuse substances, specifically alcohol and illicit drugs. Albrecht spoke on a study that compared the attitudes and perceptions of registered nurses and behavioral health professions who work with these patients.

The study showed “significant increases in both attitudes and perceptions” of those who used the SBIRT method on rural substance abuse patients.

In front of a packed crowd in the Walter Hall Rotunda, Albrecht questioned the responsibilities for certain healthcare tasks that belonged to nurses, their colleagues or both. Rarely did it seem the popular opinion that tasks were outside of the nursing purview.

“I think we’re seeing the importance of using both nurses as a mainstay along with our dietician, physical therapist, occupational therapist and other colleagues,” said Albrecht.  

According to Albrecht, an online SBIRT program used by healthcare participants improved competence to work with people with substance abuse disorder. She points out however that the benefit of using technology to overcome limited access to training and educational resources and accessibility in rural settings needs to be considered.

SBIRT teaching resources has educated more than 3,000 nurses and 800 nursing students at the University of Pittsburgh.

Albrecht wrapped up her talk by engaging the audience with current healthcare concerns. Participants noted the prevalence of patients with multiple drug use problems and the associated health issue that go along with them, saying the numbers are “much higher than even 10 years ago.”

The topics covered included how social isolation and substance abuse relate to each other, the influence social media has on drug misuse and also how some communities are working to open community centers for recovering addicts.