Stigma Surrounding Substance Use Disorder in Anesthesia Providers: Are We Part of the Problem?

Check out the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) impacts all types of people but trying to confront addiction is never easy. Today we’ll try to unravel the stigma surrounding SUD among anesthesia providers with Amy Yerdon, DNP, MNA, CRNA, CNE. Our discussion illuminates the personal and professional challenges that arise when confronting substance abuse within our ranks. We tackle the complexities of recognizing signs of diversion and the imperative actions that follow, while sharing the poignant emotional toll it takes on everyone involved.

Amy works both as the assistant program director at the UAB Nurse Anesthesia Program and a practicing CRNAs at Huntsville Hospital. We caught up with her at the AANA Annual Congress 2023 in Seattle and wanted to learn more about this topic she’s been focused on for more than five years after a friend overdosed. This conversation tackles a growing problem head-on and emphasizes the importance of education and empathy in fostering an environment where healthcare professionals can support each other.

 

Here’s some of what we discuss in this episode:

  • Her perceptions about people with SUD and how that’s changed as she’s learned more about the disease.
  • Stories that highlight how much more common this is than many people want to believe.
  • Understanding the pharmacology and physiology of substance use disorder may help decrease our negative perceptions.
  • Understanding the occupational and personal factors making anesthesia providers more likely to fall into SUD may help change negative perc
  • Why anesthesia providers should look out for one another and communicate when they see something.

 

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I want people to remember how hard this is. I don’t know that personally, but I’ve seen it so many times. I feel like most CRNAs have known someone or at least known of someone who this affected. So understanding that they’re dealing with something, some sort of big stressor is probably what pushed them over the edge into this, it was the way that they coped with it. And if we can remember that part of it, and they’re human, and they made a mistake. Now it’s just gotten out of control, and they need some help.

– Amy Yerdon, DNP, MNA, CRNA, CNE


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