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UM School of Nursing launches nation’s first post-bachelor’s certificate in substance abuse

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) this fall will become the first nursing school in the nation to offer a post-bachelor’s certificate in Substance Use and Addictions Nursing.

The 12-credit graduate certificate, designed for registered and advanced practice registered nurses, will be offered online with a 90-hour clinical practicum in the student’s own location.

Substance use disorders (SUDs) remain a leading cause of death in the United States and in Maryland, which ranked No. 4 in the nation for drug overdose death rate in 2019. And the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, according to the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) and the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) 2020 Annual Report.

There was a 16.6% increase in unintentional intoxication deaths involving all types of drugs and alcohol in Maryland from 2019 – 20, with the pandemic contributing greatly to the increase. Across the country, COVID-19 has disrupted treatment and recovery support systems and has led to economic stress, despair, and uncertainty, especially among vulnerable populations, the OOCC and MDH stated.

The Substance Use and Addictions Nursing certificate prepares nurses to care for individuals, families, and communities affected by addictions across all practice settings; take on leadership roles in addictions nursing; and develop professionally, by building a career portfolio. It also facilitates their certification as addictions nurses and offers nurses specialized, focused education to address the complexities related to substance use and addictions.

Certificate students will receive evidence-based education to increase their understanding of addictions and prevention, screening and treatment, and provision of quality care.

The Substance Use and Addictions Nursing Certificate was developed with assistance from a Nurse Support Program (NSP) II grant, funded through the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Students in the program are eligible to apply for federal financial aid.


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