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St. Marie Presents at Congressional Briefing

Barbara St. Marie
United States Capitol Building

The Nursing Community Coalition recently hosted a Congressional Briefing on the opioid crisis in America, particularly to identify how the nursing profession saves lives and the role nurses play in helping patients afflicted by this issue. The American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) was one of four nursing organizations asked to provide a speaker for the briefing, which was held in Washington, D.C., last month, and they tapped UI College of Nursing Assistant Professor Barbara St. Marie, PhD, ANP, GNP, to present on this significant issue.

ASPMN is part of the Nursing Community Coalition, which includes 58 members that are the cross section of education, practice, research, and regulation within the nursing profession. The Association’s Board of Directors asked Dr. St. Marie to present on the role nursing research is playing in the midst of this opioid epidemic. Some of the key points emphasized by Dr. St. Marie included:

  • Nursing science is good for the public. The holistic vision of nursing is the foundation for nursing research.
  • The turbulence that exists between managing people with pain and managing people with opioid use disorder has created great chaos, but out of chaos comes a paradigm shift that will result in solutions.
  • Patients with pain and opioid use disorder have complications that go beyond pain and opioid use disorder alone. They have more psychiatric disturbances, higher utilization of health care services, lower quality of life, and less social support.
  • Health care providers caring for this population lack support of their colleagues or health care systems, and there is limited insurance coverage for everything except opioids.
  • Patients feel a great deal of stigma and marginalization by the health care team when they seek care. Health care providers need to understand that patients fear substance use disorder or relapse, and fear losing access to opioids for pain management.
  • Nurses can modify the trajectory of the opioid crisis by research, clinical care, and education of nurses and the public.
  • Nursing Science is and will continue to be important for the public.

“I was honored to be able to represent ASPMN at this important Capitol Hill Briefing. There was standing room only, and it overflowed into the hall. I hope they heard what I said, understand what ASPMN has done and continues to do, and now have a clearer understanding of what nurses do to save lives,” said Dr. St. Marie.

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The mission of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) is to advance and promote optimal nursing care for people affected by pain by promoting best nursing practices. Learn more at

Posted On: 
Jan 5th, 2018