“The Future of Nursing: Accelerating gains made to address the continuum of substance use”

Matthew Tierney, Deborah S. Finnell, Madeline Naegle, Ann M. Mitchell, Elizabeth M. Pace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Guided by four key messages from the decade-old Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “The Future of Nursing,” this paper highlights the progress made by the nursing profession in addressing substance use and its related disorders and offers recommendations to sustain and advance efforts to enhance care for persons who use substances, one of the most stigmatized and vulnerable populations. Results: Patterns of substance use have shifted over the past 10 years, but the associated harms remain consequential. As awareness of the continuum of substance use has expanded, the care of persons with substance use has also expanded, from the domains of psychiatric-mental health and addictions nursing specialties to the mainstream of nursing. Now, greater efforts are being undertaken to identify and intervene with persons at risk for and experiencing substance use disorders. Nurses have advanced the knowledge and skills necessary for substance-related nursing care including education and training, leadership, care innovations, and workforce expansion and can drive efforts to increase public knowledge about the health risks associated with substance use. Recommendations aligned with each of the four IOM key messages are offered. Conclusions: As a profession, nursing has a responsibility to expand the progress made in addressing substance use – from prevention and early intervention to tertiary care. Nurses at all levels of education and practice are in key positions to carry out the recommendations herein to accelerate the changes needed to provide high quality care for persons impacted by substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of psychiatric nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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