UMass Boston

Community Partnership

With the increased prevalence of opioid and alcohol use, nursing students will encounter patients diagnosed with substance use disorders in a variety of clinical settings.  The stigma associated with substance use disorder often deters people from seeking medical care and treatment.  Hope House is a residential addiction treatment program in Roxbury that addresses social determinants of health while creating individualized treatment plans for clients.  The phased program supports clients as they transition into full-time employment and secure housing.

In collaboration with Hope House, our shared goals are to increase the confidence of providers when discussing substance use with patients, develop communication skills between patients and providers, and to create nonjudgmental and positive patient-provider encounters.  Clients in recovery join students during weekly health assessment lab sessions.  Students interview clients and obtain health histories, including substance use and approaches to treatment, prior to completing a physical assessment.  Clients provide feedback to the students focused on communication skills and developing rapport with vulnerable patients.  While students report having a better understanding of addiction and improved clinical assessment skills, clients also begin to develop trust in healthcare providers.