Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Eglintine Rigaud

Date of original Performance / Presentation


Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background: Correctional nurses make up a large part of the corrections workforce and have increasing responsibility for making decisions about patient care in the opioid dependent incarcerated patients. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) has intoxication and withdrawal standards that advocate individuals entering a correctional facility under the influence or undergoing withdrawal from opioids have their therapy continued, or a plan for appropriate referral for treatment. The NCCHC standard that incarcerated opioid dependent inmates have their therapy continued or a plan for appropriate referral for treatment is not adhered to consistently, as the current process lacks organization. Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to develop an adult opioid dependence referral for treatment tool for opioid use dependent patients to be utilized by correctional nurses and providers working in the corrections intake medical facility with posttest evaluation. Theoretical Framework: Peplau’s nurse-patient relationship theory was used. Methods: A descriptive, exploratory design was utilized. Results: A majority of the nurses acknowledged the usefulness of the Nursing Opioid Referral for Treatment Algorithm (NORTA) in facilitating the adult opioid dependence referral process. In addition, of the 20 nurses surveyed, 18 nurses agreed that the NORTA tool was relevant to the adult opioid dependence referral process. Most claimed that the NORTA facilitated the opioid dependence referral process. Conclusion: The pain management algorithm is an effective referral method for opioid users as it contributes to patient safety through safe prescription and careful assessment of patient risk regarding opioid use. The findings from this project may impact nursing practice by identification of a new organized approach to enhance the current opioid dependence referral process.




Health and environmental sciences, Correctional nurses, Opioid dependent, Trained



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