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Emergency Department;Perceptions;Registered Nurses;Substance Use Disorders;Supervised Consumption Sites


Gina Pittman



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Background: Canada is facing increased drug-related harms; thus, a stronger emphasis has been placed on harm reduction strategies such as supervised consumption sites (SCSs). There is a lack of literature on emergency department (ED) registered nurses’ (RNs) perceptions of SCSs and substance use disorders (SUDs), especially in small to mid-sized Canadian cities. Purpose: This study aimed to determine ED RNs’ perceptions of SUDs and SCSs in Southwestern Ontario hospitals. Methods: A 27-question survey was sent to RNs currently working in EDs in Southwestern Ontario using an online Qualtrics® link. The research explored ED RNs’ perception of SCSs and SUDs. Results: Quantitative results indicated that ED RNs (n = 146) were understanding of drug use and SUDs but felt neutral towards SCSs. They indicated positive impacts and potential concerns of SCSs implementation, however most ED RNs reported that they would still refer their patients to such sites if one was available, despite their apprehensions. Conclusion: This research demonstrates the importance of harm reduction education in nursing curricula and the workplace. Recommendations include a harm reduction referral partnership between the ED and community partners. It is essential to advocate for policy development to include universal assessments of all patients on admission to the ED and encourage legislation that supports ethical policies and procedures that increases the use and access to SCSs.

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