Learning that cannot come from a book: An evaluation of an undergraduate alcohol and other drugs subject co-produced with experts by experience.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Int J Ment Health Nurs, 2022
Issue Date:
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Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) use is a significant public health issue and is associated with high mortality and morbidity rates. Despite this, people who use drugs are often reluctant to seek care due to the lack of trauma-informed treatment and harm reduction treatment options, as well as experiences of stigma and discrimination in health services. Arguably, AOD education that is co-produced with people who use alcohol and drugs can enhance future health professionals' ability to practice in ways that support the needs of this population. This paper reports on a qualitative co-evaluation of a co-produced undergraduate nursing AOD subject. The AOD subject was co-planned, co-designed, co-delivered, and co-evaluated with experts by experience, who have a lived experience of substance dependence and work as advocates and peer workers. Following the delivery of the subject in 2021 and 2022, focus groups were undertaken with 12 nursing students. Focus group data indicate that the co-produced subject supported participants to understand and appreciate how stigma impacts on nursing care and how to recognize and undertake 'good' nursing care that was oriented to the needs of service users. Student participants noted that being co-taught by people who use drugs was particularly powerful for shifting their nursing perspectives on AOD use and nursing care and took learning beyond what could be understood from a book. Findings indicate that co-produced AOD education can shift nursing students' perceptions of AOD use by providing access to tacit knowledge and embodied equitable and collaborative relationships with people who use drugs.
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