Globally, from America to Europe and beyond, the need for the expansion of the role of nurse practitioners has been recognized within the healthcare professions. However, little emphasis has been placed on assessing the views of clients, and within the addiction services, the voice of clients can be additionally marginalized as a result of treatment philosophies, stigma, and resource constraints. The aims of this study were to establish from clients their nursing needs and to use these findings alongside an objective measurement of clients’ health, to inform the development of a nurse-led treatment model.
A cross-sectional survey with open-ended questions on client nursing needs was conducted in 2017 within a representative sample of six clinics in Dublin, Ireland. A convenience sample of 131 clients were interviewed. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Findings were both as expected and surprising. Clients articulated the role of the nurse in their physical care; however, unexpectedly, clients identified nurses as an essential source of psychological support and expressed the wish for the role to be expanded in terms of managing methadone treatment and accessing additional services and resources.
Results contributed to the formation of the nurse-led, client mental-health-focused, Healthy Addiction Treatment Recovery Model for addiction nursing services. In terms of national policies, findings provided new evidence articulated by service users on their desire for the expansion of nurse prescribing in addiction services and an expansion of the role to more adequately address client needs.