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Harm Reduction Saves Lives: 11-part series aims to help nurses offer better support for people who use drugs

  
https://www.infirmiere-canadienne.com/blogs/ic-contenu/2024/06/06/la-reduction-des-mefaits-sauve-des-vies-serie

Articles and videos aimed at taking a non-judgemental approach to care

By Jennifer Jackson, series editor
June 6, 2024
istockphoto.com/Chernetskaya
In the coming weeks, Canadian Nurse will share articles written by nurses about outreach nursing, managing pain among people who use drugs, therapy options such as injectable opioid agonist programs, and prescribed safer supply.

Canada is experiencing a toxic drug crisis. Since 2016, over 40,000 people who use drugs have died in Canada because of the toxic unregulated drug supply — the equivalent of 22 people dying each day. There are a lack of evidence-based policies around drug use, perpetuating the failed “war on drugs” policies across the country. The result of these factors is that many Canadians need addiction care but may not be able to access evidence-based options. The outcome is harm to our clients, families, and communities.

Courtesy of Jennifer Jackson
“Harm reduction requires that we set aside ideas we may have about why people use drugs, what a client should do, and other biases,” says Jennifer Jackson.

With this in mind, I welcome you to an upcoming Canadian Nurse series, Harm Reduction Saves Lives. The intent of the series is to share information about harm reduction with nurses in every setting. Harm reduction principles centre on the idea that we need to meet clients where they are at. We need to work with clients towards their goals, with a non-judgemntal, trauma-informed approach to care.

Harm reduction requires that we set aside ideas we may have about why people use drugs, what a client should do, and other biases. We need to advocate for compassionate, client-centred care that respects each client’s autonomy and consent.

In the coming weeks, Canadian Nurse will share articles written by nurses about outreach nursing, managing pain among people who use drugs, therapy options such as injectable opioid agonist programs, and prescribed safer supply. We will post insights on how to approach people who use drugs in acute care, how to support clients who engage in sex work, and learn about incredible nurses who work in harm reduction.

  • June 10 — Managing pain and withdrawal in patients who are experiencing opioid use disorder in acute care (article)
  • June 13 — Innovations in primary care: small Ontario town adopts big-city approach by offering street nursing service (article)
  • June 19 — What’s the most important thing for nurses to know about working with people with addictions in acute care? (video)
  • June 24 — Creating safe space: lived experience guides dedicated nurse through harm reduction, street work (profile)
  • June 27 — Exploring key practices in harm reduction outreach: improving care by reaching out to people where they are (article)
  • July 3 — Is your client a candidate for injectable opioid agonist therapy? Guidelines and questions to consider (article)
  • July 8 — How does a harm reduction approach benefit clients? Can you share some stories? (video)
  • July 11 — How to answer questions from nursing students on harm reduction in the context of the opioid crisis (article)
  • July 17 — 4 strategies to support those who engage in substance use and sex work (article)
  • July 22 — 5 considerations for working with patients who need prescribed safer supply in the emergency department (article)
  • July 25 — Language is power: nurses’ role in advancing patient-centred care for individuals who use substances (article)

Nurses are uniquely placed to help

Nurses are uniquely positioned to support people who use drugs. We see clients who use drugs throughout the health-care system, in a variety of settings and specialties. Of the time a person spends with health-care professionals, 90 per cent is with a nurse. Therefore, we have a responsibility to provide evidence-based health care to all our clients, including those who use drugs.

In my nursing practice, I needed to un-learn a lot of judgmental ideas about addictions, understand the impact of complex trauma for clients, and recognize the impact of racism and colonization on our current drug crisis. I hope other nurses will join me in this ongoing process of learning and reflection as we dismantle harmful systems and work towards a better health-care system for everyone.

Canadian Nurse and the Canadian Nurses Association are committed to providing practical resources and insights for nurses so that we can all offer better support for people who use drugs. I hope you will read and share these articles and start conversations in your workplace. Harm reduction requires cultural change in nursing, and I know we are up for the challenge.

If you want to share your experiences of working in harm reduction, please consider submitting an article.


Dr. Jennifer Jackson, RN, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and the editor of the Canadian Nurse Harm Reduction Saves Lives series.

#practice
#addictions
#harm-reduction
#nurse-patient-relationship
#nursing-education
#stigma
#substance-use