Nurses Advisory Panel Mission Statement

The first OASAS Nurses Advisory panel (NAP), named in 2009, is comprised of a group of addictions nursing content experts, experienced clinicians, researchers and managers convened to advise the Commissioner on OASAS initiatives in the state of New York.
Topics of special focus can include, but are not limited to:
  • Education and training opportunities for nurses;
  • Evidence-based practices in addictions treatment;
  • The integration of basic and specialty components of addiction treatment;
  • Public relations activities related to nursing roles at OASAS and the scope of the nursing practice as related to addictions nursing; as well as
  • Providing leadership for change in practices and policies and providing support for legislation to advance quality care related to the prevention, treatment and recovery of  New York state citizens. 

Position statements will be key mechanisms to achieve this and will be developed initially on treatment of nicotine dependence and buprenorphine as used in clinical settings. It is expected that the panel will also consider the implications of policy development and implementation on nursing in addictions treatment facilities. A website will be developed as a platform for discussions of clinical topics and the placement of position papers and statement.

Several key points support the NAP`s choice of the identified five topics. Scientific advances and the growth of the addictions nursing specialty have resulted in new approaches to substance use disorders treatment, new techniques to improve and enhance treatment skills and growing inquiry about the knowledge and skills which are at the heart of addictions nursing practice.

The NAP will work to:
  • increase opportunities for certification, continuing education and professional growth of nurses employed in facilities which treat addiction;
  • promote initiatives which foster unity and colleagueship among nurses caring for patient with substance use disorders, such as supporting membership in national nursing organizations like the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA);
  • disseminate information about nursing competencies essential  to the treatment of patients with substance use disorders and persons in recovery from addiction and their families; and
  • provide consultation to nurses employed in addictions treatment regarding questions of scope of practice, credentialing, and nursing care.

While research in the field of addictions has burgeoned in the last 20 years, little progress has been made in translating research findings to clinical practice in all phases of addiction treatment. The promotion of evidence-based practice of nursing and the use of evidence-based clinical guidelines will be a major goal of this panel, as well as promotion of the IntNSA practice standards for addiction nursing.

The NAP will provide leadership in this regard, by supporting treatment initiatives derived from research, and using nursing knowledge to interpret the implications of research finding to clinical practice.

Nurses employed in all facilities throughout New York state treat most persons with some alcohol or other drug related disorders. Smoking continues to be widespread. Only recently, however, has it been acknowledged that nurses with basic preparation, as well as those specializing in addictions treatment, need to be prepared to screen, intervene and refer, as well as treat alcohol, tobacco, drug dependence and psychological disorders such as gambling and compulsive disorders. 

The NAP seeks to recognize and disseminate information about the educational needs of basic and specialty practitioners of nursing about the scope of nursing practice in relation to the prevention, detection and treatment and recovery of addictive and other compulsive behaviors which negatively impact mental health.

The NAP seeks to increase the knowledge of consumers and others about the roles of nurses in prevention and education about alcohol and other drug disorders, addictions treatment and recovery.  As a key member of the addictions treatment team, nurses have opportunities to introduce innovative and best clinical practices to care delivery. Often, however, they do not have access to resources or peer support through which to explore possible approaches to change.

Many OASAS and other public and private facilities employ nurses in mental health and addictions treatment in order to provide high quality comprehensive care. The nursing competencies, skills and knowledge for care of the person at risk for, and suffering from abuse or addiction derive from standards and specialized knowledge. Few consumers and often, member of other disciplines, lack awareness of nurse’s roles in addictions treatment and the IntNSA standards which guide their practice.

The NAP, as a group of seasoned nursing professionals with a broad range of education and expertise seeks to ally themselves with nurses practicing in the specialty and provide leadership, support and guidance in defining new directions for problem solving, increased nursing influence in policy development, and support for OASAS based initiatives which can be furthered by the skillful and meaningful participation of nurse providers.