Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Services Research


Health Services Research

Committee Director

Muge Akpinar-Elci

Committee Member

Janice E. Hawkins

Committee Member

Michele A. Kekeh


Statement of the problem: healthcare professionals’ knowledge of using opioids for pain management safely is critical in preventing opioid abuse and overdose. Undergraduate curricula of health professional schools, including undergraduate nursing programs, need to improve and adopt a comprehensive education regarding this issue.

Method: the first project was a systematic analysis of the literature regarding the educational interventions’ impact on healthcare professional knowledge and practice behavior regarding prescription opioids. The second project was a qualitative study of nursing students to explore their experience, self-efficacy, and knowledge of prescription opioid use for pain management and whether they feel the need for more educational opportunities on this topic. The third project implemented and assessed an educational module on undergraduate nursing students’ knowledge and attitudes regarding prescription opioids.

Results: the first project showed that an educational intervention on using opioids for pain management positively impacts providers’ knowledge and practice behavior. The second project found that nursing students had limited knowledge and low self-efficacy regarding using opioids for pain management and preferred to receive a comprehensive education. The third project showed that the educational module improved nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and intention about prescription opioids for pain management. Students reflected positively on the module.

Conclusion: in this dissertation, the need for comprehensive education for healthcare professional students on using opioids for pain management is detected. Educational interventions have a positive impact on healthcare providers’ knowledge regarding using opioids for pain management. Undergraduate nursing students benefited from the educational module on prescription opioids and preferred to include a similar module in their undergraduate curricula.