Pain control remains suboptimal in the United States, while the use and misuse of opioids are growing. Opioid use disorder and opioid misuse are associated with an increased risk of postoperative mortality and morbidity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 232,000 deaths from a prescription opioid overdose from 1999 to 2018. The economic burden related to prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year. According to the literature, lack of knowledge makes patients vulnerable to misuse and nonmedical use of opioids. This lack of patients’ knowledge and over-prescription of opioids are among many of the risk factors for opioid misuse. Literature shows a need for education among registered nurses related to the risk factors, differences in opioid-tolerant and opioid-naïve patients, and early recognition/management of opioid overdose. There is strong evidence that an

increase in nurses’ knowledge of opioids subsequently increases patient’s knowledge of opioids (Costello, 2016). The nurses are the frontline workers and can assist patients and families by providing an appropriate education on the safe use of opioids. Therefore, the nurses need to be competent in current evidence-based strategies to increase the patients’ knowledge of opioids and prevent opioid misuse.

The purpose of the project is to educate the nurses on opioids, including the terminology, risk factors associated with opioid use disorder, various pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options, and strategies to prevent opioid misuse among postoperative patients. And, to answer the PICOT question, in post-operative patients in a day surgery unit (P), how does preoperative education about opioids (I) compare to traditional preoperative education or no education (C) affect patient knowledge of opioids and postoperative opioid use (O) within three months (T)?

Date of publication

Spring 4-26-2021

Document Type

DNP Scholarly Project



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Cheryl Parker, Dr. Patricia Rogers, Dr. Glenn Barnes, Dr. Sandra Peterson, Dr. Jennifer Chilton, Dr. Barbara Haas


Doctor of Nursing Practice