Staff Training

Training ED staff in best practices for engaging patients in brief interventions for their substance use disorder will not only improve care for patients but may serve as a protective factor for healthcare worker burnout. Like recommendations within the Addressing Stigma section, training related to treatment of substance use disorders should be standardized within staff onboarding and annualized training schedules. Given the nature of ED treatment, trainings should be focused on brief interventions, such as motivational interviewing.  

Key Takeaways for the ED 

  1. Engage senior leadership, including HR and patient safety officers, in conversations about the relationship between specialized substance use disorder trainings and improved workplace resiliency and employee satisfaction. Given the lack of training in behavioral health for many healthcare professionals and the stressors associated with providing crisis care for these patients, specialized training may be a protective factor for direct care staff. 
  2. As your ED implements a training plan for substance use disorder patients, consider how to track and evaluate outcomes of the training. Potential quality indicators could include reported safety events, employee satisfaction and competence, 30 day re-admissions, length of stay, and patient disposition.
  3. Tie specialized trainings to incentives, such as compensation or desired shifts.  
  4. Training should be comprehensive of all forms of recovery support and treatment, ranging from harm reduction and syringe exchange programs to medication-assisted treatment.  

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