News in Nursing

Nursing Schools Start to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic in Their Classrooms

University of Pennsylvania offers their opioid courses to all health majors.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing started offering an undergraduate elective called Opioids: From Receptors to Epidemic. The lecture discusses the current extent of overdoses and their management. Associate professor Peggy Compton teaches the class along with Heath Schmidt. The course covers almost everything about opioids, starting with their causes, one of them being acute or chronic pain. Opioid composition, the disease process of opioid addiction, treatment options, and regulation of opioid distribution policies will be included in the course.  

While the class prioritizes nursing students, it will be offered to others with related majors because, as Compton states,  “the implications go beyond health care.”

The university also supports Compton in developing simulation programs, which would include a virtual reality and a real person. Peggy Compton had a simulation session in February where people would act out the symptoms of an opioid overdose. The two-hour session also included actors imitating fentanyl and heroin overdoses. The pilot test was considered a success and will be mandatory in the following semesters.