Family nurse practitioners are uniquely positioned to increase access to care for individuals and families suffering from substance use disorders, especially in rural regions of the country. This project will increase the number of primary care providers in the U.S.-Mexico border region who have advanced knowledge/training in screening for, and the evaluation and treatment of all forms of substance use disorder (SUD) with emphasis on opioid use disorder (OUD) prevention. Given the extreme shortage of mental health providers, New Mexico has a critical need for primary care providers with advanced preparation in the area of OUD and other SUD. Family nurse practitioners are also well positioned to prevention OUD by implementing evidence-based strategies for managing acute and chronic pain using non-opioid approaches. The family nurse practitioner (FNP) program at New Mexico State University (NMSU) is delivered in a distance education format so that nurses in rural New Mexico and the adjacent border region can earn their degree without relocating. Given the psychiatrist and primary care physician shortage in New Mexico, graduating FNPs with high level competencies in the identification, evaluation, and treatment of all forms of SUD with an additional focus on OUD prevention is a priority for the state and region.
Project Goal 1: Increase the number of faculty at NMSU and other regional FNP programs who have the knowledge and expertise to deliver an integrated OUD/SUD curriculum with enhanced
content on non-opioid alternatives for acute and chronic pain management.
Project Goal 2: Increase the number of FNPs in New Mexico and the surrounding border region who are trained to effectively identify, evaluate and treat all forms of SUD and prevent OUD through acute/chronic pain assessment and management using non-opioid alternatives.
Project Goal 3: Increase the number of evidence-based test questions on the topics of OUD and other SUD on the American Nurse Credentialing Center FNP certification exam.
The FNP track at NMSU accepts up to 12 students per year in its 3-year DNP program and 6-12 students per year in its yearlong post graduate certificate program. The implementation of this proposed curriculum will result in an increase in the number of NMSU FNP graduates who obtain knowledge, skills and experience to holistically address the underlying causes of addiction and introduce SUD prevention, screening and treatment into their primary care practice. Seven NMSU faculty will complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education in SUD (including medication-assisted treatment) and/or non-opioid strategies for pain management.
This project will expand the integration of SUD education into the standard FNP curriculum at NMSU and other FNP programs in New Mexico and the adjacent border region in Texas. By mainstreaming this education, NMSU will expand the number of nurse practitioners who are trained to deliver high-quality, evidence-based SUD treatment and reduce the stigma of SUD among primary care providers working in medically underserved communities.