September is National Recovery Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders.
Behavioral health is a vital part of a person’s overall health, and it is heartening to see so many members of our Brigham Health community committed to caring for patients with substance use disorders and working to expand access to provide patients with the treatment they need right here at the Brigham.
The statistics on opioid use disorder are alarming. For the first six months of 2018, the Department of Public Health reported 657 confirmed opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts and estimates
there are an additional 322 to 396 deaths related to opioids for that time frame.
In this issue of Heart & Science, you’ll read about the efforts of two of our primary care nurse practitioners, Elizabeth Donahue, MSN, RN, NP-C, and Kate Takayoshi, MSN/MPH, NP-C, who have completed training to prescribe medication to patients suffering from opioid use disorder. Expanding our ability to care for these patients in primary care may help prevent overdose-related deaths in our community and support people on their path to recovery.
It gives me great pride that Kate also became the first nurse practitioner to begin seeing patients in the Bridge Clinic this month, joining a group of physicians and other multidisciplinary staff who connect patients with treatment at a critical time – when they are leaving the Emergency Department or being discharged from an inpatient unit.
At Brookside Community Health Center, patients with opioid use disorder have a strong advocate in Rosa Ramos, LPN. She treats patients with compassion as she cares for them during their journey to recovery.
Later this month, you can hear the perspectives of Christine Murphy, PMHCNS-BC, of the Psychiatric Nursing Resource Service, and Inna Zinger, MS, RN, ANP-BC, of the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. During Nursing Grand Rounds on Thursday, Sept. 20, they will present on caring for patients with opioid use disorder, pain management and opioid withdrawal.
We are fortunate to have so many members of the Nursing and Patient Care Services community working with multidisciplinary colleagues to ensure that the Brigham is a welcoming, hopeful place for patients and families suffering from opioid use disorder.
Please take the time to participate in one of the events happening throughout Brigham Health in honor of National Recovery Month and learn more about how you can make a difference.
With warm regards,
Madelyn Pearson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services