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Nursing knowledge of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in a regional health district: an exploratory study
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Smyth, M Hutchinson, Adam SearbyAdam Searby
Nurses remain at the forefront of direct patient care due to the nature of their role; they are in a position to provide assessment, response and referral of individuals in healthcare settings with problematic alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. We aim to determine the AOD knowledge of nurses in a regional health district in Australia and the awareness of an AOD service operating in the clinical environment. We employed a cross-sectional online survey, with descriptive and correlational analysis performed to explore relations between knowledge and both assessment and referral practices for individuals with problematic AOD use. Results indicate good knowledge of the AOD service, with confidence to refer to the service associated with recent contact. Lower satisfaction levels with the AOD service were found in nurses who had no recent contact with the service. Awareness of the service was also positively associated with completion of the electronic AOD assessment. These results indicate that the presence of experienced AOD clinicians may increase familiarity with AOD services and increase screening. Given the link between familiarity and comfort with the AOD service and referral, establishing specialised AOD nursing positions remains an important strategy. We argue that the presence of specialised AOD nurses has a flow on effect in maintaining continuing screening and encouraging nurses to refer individuals with problematic AOD use for ongoing care and treatment.