Jan 05, 2018

Policy Education with a Focus on Opioid Overdose To Help Build a Culture of Health in New Mexico

Problem Statement:  Policy is critical to the health of individuals, families and communities.  In 2014, a strategic review performed by the New Mexico Future of Nursing Action Coalition (NMAC) revealed a gap in knowledge about policy among nurses. To improve health, it recommended education about policy for nurse leaders at every level.  Unintentional drug overdose is the 3rd leading cause of death in NM, and accounts for 79-84% of all deaths due to drugs.  The epidemic provides opportunities to learn about the policy process, cross-sector collaboration and the impact that policy has made in overdose deaths.

Approach:  In 2016, I collaborated with the NMAC and University of New Mexico’s Project ECHO to address the policy education gap for nurses.  We collaborated to conduct a telehealth training to teach nurses and other disciplines about the impact of policy on opioid overdose.  The evaluation of the training would help inform the NMAC on future methods of providing nursing education.

Products/Outcome:   In June, 2017, a telehealth training was provided to nurses and other disciplines, called Challenges Surrounding Health Policy and Opiate Overdose.  The training aimed to increase understanding about policy and opioid overdose, the epidemiology of the epidemic and interventions that could be implemented in healthcare and community settings.  Eight presenters provided a two-hour long training to over 60 callers from rural, frontier and urban areas of NM.  Evaluation results will be available by August, 2017.

Implications:  Nurses in rural areas can benefit from telehealth education about policy and the role it plays in health outcomes.  The NMAC should consider low-cost telehealth training as a means to reach nurses working in remote areas, and to improve their ability to collaborate with others to create a culture of health.