A Clarion Call for Nurse-Led SBIRT Across the Continuum of Care

Authors


Reprint requests: Deborah S. Finnell, DNS, VA Western New York Healthcare System – Center for Integrated Healthcare, 3495 Bailey Road, Buffalo, NY 14215; Tel.: 716-862-7930; Fax: 716-862-6526; E-mail: Deborah.Finnell2@va.gov, finnell@buffalo.edu

Abstract

This commentary discusses the impact of the study by Broyles and colleagues (2012) that reported on hospitalized patients’ acceptability of nurse-delivered screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). This cross-sectional survey study assessed patient acceptability for and comfort with nurse-delivered SBIRT. The majority (95%) of inpatients found it acceptable for the nurse to ask about and/or discuss alcohol use during their hospitalization. This is a significant finding, as hospitals in the United States consider whether and how to implement The Joint Commission's performance measures related to SBIRT for hospitalized patients. The findings related to subgroups of patients who are more accepting of SBIRT and those who expressed some degree of discomfort highlight the importance for individualized patient-centered approaches. This study raises several important implications for nurse-delivered SBIRT. First, intensive efforts must be directed to enhancing the knowledge and competence of healthcare providers in general, and the current and future nursing workforce in particular, related to alcohol use and evidence-based care for patients who are drinking alcohol above recommended limits. Second, registered nurses, working to the full extent of their education and licensure are in key roles as members of the interdisciplinary team to provide cost-effective care at the bedside and across the continuum of care. Nurse-led SBIRT implementation models could help bridge the curricular gap and promote widespread and sustained integration of SBIRT as standard nursing care across all specialties and practice settings.

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