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Online Learning

Substance Abuse Among Medical Patients: A Hidden Truth

Credit Available - See CEUs tab below.

Addiction |  Medical/Surgical |  Pharmacology
Dr. JeanAnne Johnson Talbert, DHA, APRN-BC, FNP, PMHNP
Full Day
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Apr 20, 2016
Media Type:
Online Learning


  • Pharmacology of abused substances
  • Effective screening of medical patients for substance use disorders
  • Assessment and treatment of withdrawal symptoms
  • Emergency interventions
  • Medical complications of substance use disorders

The typical med/surg nurse cares for 6 patients in a shift. Statistics indicate that 2 of those patients have an underlying substance use disorder. Are you prepared to deal with withdrawal symptoms? Do you know how to assess for them?

A patient is recovering from his knee surgery and is reporting 10/10 pain. This seems impossible to you, as you have given him 20mg of IV Dilaudid. You think to yourself, “He should be apneic with that much Dilaudid!” How is this patient requiring so much opiate analgesia - and how much can you really give him?

A patient is admitted to the hospital for a leg abscess. She reports that she was bitten by a spider and it continued to get worse. She is receiving IV antibiotics. As you assess her, you notice strange looking vein patterns - almost as if her veins were black beneath the skin. Later in your shift, she begins sweating profusely, has diarrhea and begins yelling that her skin is crawling and her joints hurt tremendously. What is going on with her?

With the pervasive problems our society has with substance abuse, it is imperative that healthcare professionals have skill to meet the physical and psychological needs of those trusted to our care. JeanAnne Johnson Talbert, DHA, APRN-BC, FNP, PMHNP, AOCN, CARN-AP, will draw from her vast expertise during this practice-changing one-day event. You are guaranteed to leave with new ideas and insights to tackle the often “Hidden Truth” behind the complex medical patients you see.



General Credits

This course is available for 6.0 total CPDs

The HPCSA has declared that any on-line courses CPD/CEU credited by a certified US board, is automatically CPD/CEU credited in South Africa. 

As there are different boards for different disciplines, we at Acacia suggest that you use the Counselling CPD/CEU credits. These correspond to South African credits of one CPD/CEU per 60 minutes. If you choose to use your discipline's credits, please do so at your discretion.

Florida Social Workers

PESI, Inc. is an approved provider with the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. Provider Number 50-399. This self-study course qualifies for 6.0 continuing education credits. 



Dr. JeanAnne Johnson Talbert, DHA, APRN-BC, FNP, PMHNP's Profile

Dr. JeanAnne Johnson Talbert, DHA, APRN-BC, FNP, PMHNP Related seminars and products

JeanAnne Johnson Talbert, DHA, APRN-BC, FNP, PMHNP, has over 25 years of experience in the medical field as both a family practice and psychiatric nurse practitioner. She is board certified in family practice, oncology, substance abuse/addiction treatment, and psychiatric/mental health. JeanAnne currently owns her own clinical practice and is the medical director for three substance use disorder rehab centers comprised of residential, outpatient, and sober living programs. She has previously been employed as an Associate Professor at Utah Valley University, chief nursing officer/chief clinical officer at HCA, Mountain View Hospital in Payson, Utah, and the director of medicine and oncology at HCA, Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. In addition, JeanAnne has served as the associate editor and peer reviewer for the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, as well as an expert witness and case reviewer for medical malpractice cases.

JeanAnne earned her MSN from Georgetown University, Doctor of Health Administration from the University of Phoenix, and a Post-Doctorate certificate as a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Rush Medical College.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: JeanAnne Johnson Talbert maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: JeanAnne Johnson Talbert is a member of the International Nurses Society on Addictions; American Psychiatric Nurses Association; and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Case Managers, Counselors, Nurses, Occupational Therapists & Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapists/Physical Therapist Assistants, Social Workers and other Healthcare Professionals


Case Studies of Hidden Substance Use Disorders in Medical Patients: What Does it Look Like?

  • In pregnant patients
  • In general medical patients
  • In surgical patients

Why is This Topic so Important? And so Challenging?

  • Biostatistics
  • Actual relevance in practice
  • Morbidity and mortality - complications of substance use disorders

What Do These Substances Actually Do Within the Body?

  • Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics principles
  • Reinforcement
  • Tolerance and cross-tolerance
  • Physical dependence
  • Conditioning
  • Sensitization
  • Pregnancy-related complications

What Substances Are We Talking About?

  • Alcohol
  • Sedative/Hypnotics
  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Dissociatives
  • Inhalants
  • Cannabinoids
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Club drugs
  • Nicotine

Street Drugs and Terminology

  • Interpreting patient language
  • What drugs are they talking about?

Neurobiology of Substance Abuse: You Mean it’s Not a Choice?

  • Neurobiology and anatomy of the normal brain
  • Substance abuse as a brain disease
  • Genetic and environmental influences

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse “Dual Diagnosis”

  • Co-occurring illnesses
  • Traits and theories surrounding the two

Screening and Assessment Techniques

  • Effective questionnaires to screen for substance use
  • Techniques to promote open and honest communication from the patient
  • Working with the pregnant patient who uses substances
  • Assessing your own biases – and how to not let them interfere with your work

The Patient with an Underlying Substance Use Disorder: Withdrawal Symptoms & Emergency Treatments

  • Anticipation/prevention of withdrawal symptoms
  • Withdrawal protocols
  • Medications to treat withdrawal symptoms
  • Emergency treatments
  • Treatment of the newborn following exposure to substances
  • Safety for patients/family/staff
  • Effective pain management
  • Motivational interviewing - Assessing how to refer the patient following discharge from the hospital



  1. Evaluate the epidemiological trends of substance use disorders and how these disorders affect our medical patients.
  2. Differentiate between the substances of abuse seen presently in practice to understand the pharmacology of these substances.
  3. Recognize the terminology used to refer to street drugs today.
  4. Explain the neurobiology of substance abuse.
  5. Assess and screen for substance use disorders.
  6. Formulate an appropriate treatment plan for patients with a history of substance use disorder, including managing pain effectively.
  7. Analyze the relationship between various medical complications associated with substance use.
  8. Manage your own identified biases when working with patients who have substance use disorders.


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