MTSA expands efforts to fight against national opioid epidemic

Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) announced it is expanding efforts to educate Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) on treatment options that reduce or eliminate the need for opioids during and after surgery.

The School will be accepting a second cohort for its Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship, in partnership with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). The application period is open Oct. 1 – Dec. 1. Classes begin in January 2018.

"At MTSA, we're doing our part to help combat the opioid crisis by teaching CRNAs innovative techniques, including multimodal and interventional therapies, to manage acute surgical pain," said MTSA President Chris Hulin, DNP, MBA, CRNA. "One way to accomplish this is to use ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, which blocks the pain at the point of surgical contact and often eliminates the need for prescription narcotics. If patients never have to take an opioid, they significantly reduce their risk of becoming addicted in the future.

"This year JAMA Surgery reported that in a study of 36,177 patients, 5.9-6.5 percent developed new 'persistent opioid use' following surgery. This is an area where we as CRNAs can have a significant role in mitigating opioid dependency," Hulin said.

In addition to the Fellowship, MTSA continues to collaborate on a national level with lectures, workshops and other joint efforts that are helping provide solutions to the opioid epidemic. These efforts improve both patient safety and satisfaction while minimizing opioid-related adverse drug events.

CRNAs Respond to a Growing Need
As the baby boomer generation ages, increasing numbers of patients will undergo surgery, and CRNAs will be responsible for managing these patients' acute surgical pain. The Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship equips CRNAs with the necessary knowledge and skill-sets to meet this growing demand. From medical management approaches, such as multimodal therapies and opioid sparing strategies, to advanced interventional techniques, including continuous catheter utilization, CRNAs are able to treat these patients with confidence and skill, according to Hulin.

"Our goal is to stay on the cutting edge and continue to raise awareness among healthcare providers across the nation that, in many cases, opioid-free surgery is a reality today. Ultimately, this will equate to reduced opioid dependency, which decreases the likelihood of opioid-related deaths," Hulin added.

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