CRNAs use holistic approach to effectively manage pain with less opioid dependency

The holistic approach to patient care and pain management used by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) can help prevent opioid dependency, substance use disorder, drug overdoses and death, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). The AANA strongly supports President Obama's proclamation of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week (Sept.18-24, 2016).

"Many patients benefit from the appropriate use of opioid analgesics in combination with non-opioid techniques as directed by healthcare professionals such as CRNAs," said AANA President Cheryl Nimmo, DNP, MSHSA, CRNA. "Unfortunately, the United States is currently facing a terrible opioid and heroin epidemic. Part of the problem is overprescribing, which can lead to drug overuse or even the sale of unused drugs on the street. It is a problem our healthcare system needs to address in a hurry."

According to the 2016 National Pain Strategy, a diverse pain management strategy combines a range of therapies that may include medical, surgical, psychological, behavioral, and integrative approaches to care. Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is one such multimodal (multiple-approach) strategy that CRNAs use to effectively manage pain from pre-procedure to post-discharge with less reliance on opioids. Techniques such as regional anesthesia, peripheral nerve blocks, non-pharmacologic approaches, and non-opioid based pharmacologic measures also help reduce opioid use and shorten hospital stays. Research has shown that a multimodal approach to pain management can be more effective and create less risk than solely prescribing opioids to manage pain.

CRNAs are highly educated anesthesia professionals who are the hands-on providers of approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year. CRNAs work in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered including hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management facilities, and office-based practices providing acute and chronic pain management services.


American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)


  1. Stephanie N Marcus Stephanie N Marcus United States says:

    Stop the drug war with objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
    We need to pull LE out of the drug biz - that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure - on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
    We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a "hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system." This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as a health issue.
    The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the "great child protection act," its actually the complete opposite.
    The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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