Properly training individuals on the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses was on the mind of Hayley (Schmidt) Rasmussen ’16/DNP ’22. As a result, she worked on a project to show others how to properly use the medication.
The training program, which was directed to be used at a Sioux Falls homeless shelter, was part of her Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum, which she completed in May.
“I chose the DNP pathway so that I can continue to directly care for patients as a family nurse practitioner,” said Rasmussen, who has been a nurse in the cardiopulmonary unit at Avera McKennan since earning her bachelor’s degree in 2016. “However, the DNP has the added benefit of being able to continue career advancement in leadership, ethics and research. I hope to continue implementing clinically effective projects in my area of employment, but also in the community.”
That community aspect came into play when she was introduced to the project idea by someone during a DNP leadership clinical.
Naloxone is used for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. The medication works by blocking the effects of the opioid in the brain. Since treatment with this medication is not long lasting, one must get medical help right away after receiving an initial dose.
Starting the project in January 2020, she used pre-, post- and three-month post-intervention surveys to assess staff’s attitudes, knowledge and retention of knowledge.
All of that training came into play when the shelter successfully used naloxone recently to treat someone.
“It’s humbling, overwhelming and exciting all at once,” Rasmussen said after learning the training was successful and helped someone recover. “It is incredible to watch something that started out as an idea, become a powerful change in the community.
“It was important to start my project early in my schooling and to find something I was passionate about,” she continued. “I’m thankful for the support from my family, but also from my professors/project co-chairs in order to see this idea through to completion.”