PA Students: Educate Yourself on Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse

PA Foundation Offers Online Resources for PA Students

October 19, 2020

Combating today’s opioid epidemic is not just about treating addiction. Prevention is the first step in ensuring the safety of patients and reducing our nation’s overdose death rate. The PA Foundation, in partnership with the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, wants to prevent prescription opioid misuse by empowering future providers through education.

In early 2020, the PA Foundation launched an educational program for PA students on preventing prescription opioid misuse. The seminar, delivered to 13 PA programs and almost 700 students, addresses overcoming clinical bias, navigating difficult conversations with patients, and educating patients on the risks and responsibilities of opioid use.

[Access all seminar materials now.]

Important topic, enlightening seminar

Erin Chalmers, DSMc, PA-C

Erin Chalmers, DMSc, PA-C, is an associate professor and director of didactic education at Sullivan University’s PA program. She felt strongly about bringing the Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse seminar to her PA students. “The opioid epidemic in this country continues to rapidly spiral out of control. Patients need providers who understand the opioids and the risks involved with opioid use and misuse. PA students will see these patients in practice. They should be prepared to provide care for them.”

Bailiegh Bostick and Julie Koo, both PA students at University of Texas San Antonio, attended the seminar virtually earlier this year. “I was already aware of the consequences associated with overprescribing opioids but only had a vague knowledge of what strategies were being utilized to reduce the risk for misuse and abuse of opioid medications,” Koo says. “I appreciated how comprehensive and extensive the discussions were regarding opioid education between the healthcare provider and the patient.” Bostick found the seminar enlightening. “Having an idea of other prescriptions to give prior to prescribing an opioid was very beneficial to me,” she says.

Bailiegh Bostick, PA-S, and Julie Koo, PA-s

Both Bostick and Koo believe this information will be helpful to them in their future PA careers – and to their fellow PA students. “By taking the time to educate yourself with the resources that are available, you are making yourself a better provider,” Koo says. “It will be more difficult to address and treat what you don’t know, so take the time to do a little research and enlighten yourself.” Bostick strongly encourages other PA students to visit the Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse page and familiarize themselves with the resources. “These resources are valuable regardless of the specialty you wish to pursue. And while we have learned about opioids in pharmacology classes, these resources give a better understanding of opioid misuse and how we can prevent that as future PAs.”

The faculty (L-R): Jerry Erickson, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, Laura Katers, MS, MCHS, PA-C, Jill Mattingly, DHSc, MMSc, PA-C, and Justine Samanas, PhD, MPAS, PA-C

Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse resources
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a shift from in-person to virtual presentations. To leverage the content fully, the PA Foundation has also made the seminar materials available online for PA programs and students. You can find information about the faculty members, access four in-depth video presentations and a podcast episode, practice your skills, and test your knowledge. Start learning about how you, as a future provider, can help prevent prescription opioid misuse.

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