Opioid addiction disease has become a global health and social problem complicated by drug misuse and abuse (Pearlman, 2016; Rettig & Yarmolinsky, 1995; Watkins, 2016). Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is an effective treatment for opioid addiction disease (Loreck et al., 2016). Its induction can trigger severe precipitated withdrawal in opioid-dependent patients whose mu receptors are occupied opioids (American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2015). Knowledge of assessing a patient's level of withdrawal using a validated tool is key to successful transition from other opioids to buprenorphine.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of training nurses on the use of the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale (COWS) screening instrument by assessing their confidence in assessing and satisfaction with communicating withdrawal information crucial for patient safety.
Ten registered nurses and three nurse practitioners working at a mental health community service center completed two surveys at three time points (Pre, Post, and Post-90 days). The first survey measured nurses' confidence in assessing, whereas the second survey measured their satisfaction with communicating withdrawal symptoms.
The means' (M) magnitude for both assessment and satisfaction scores increased with time (across Pre, Post, and Post-90). Standard deviations tended to become smaller. Improvements were noted in nurses' confidence in the assessment of and satisfaction in communicating withdrawal symptoms after the intervention.
Participants expressed increased knowledge, confidence, and satisfaction with the COWS screening instrument. Ultimately, the patients benefited from the participants having more experience, education, skills, and confidence in monitoring withdrawal symptoms depicted by aggregate data of COWS screenings postintervention.