Assessing Student Readiness to Work with People Who Use Drugs: Development of a Multi-Disciplinary Addiction Educational Survey.

Patrick C. M. Brown, Oregon Health & Science University
Dana A, Button, Oregon Health & Science University
Danika Bethune, University of Washington
Emily Kelly, University of California San Francisco
Hannah R. Tierney, University of California San Francisco
Rahee M. Nerurkar, University of Washington
Christina M. Nicolaidis, Portland State University
Rebecca A. Harrison, Oregon Health & Science University
Ximena A. Levander, Oregon Health & Science University


Background: As health profession schools implement addiction curricula, they need survey instruments to evaluate the impact of the educational interventions. However, existing measures do not use current non-stigmatizing language and fail to capture core concepts.

Objective: To develop a brief measure of health profession student readiness to work with people who use drugs (PWUDs) and establish its content validity.

Methods: We conducted a literature review of existing instruments and desired clinical competencies related to providing care to PWUD and used results and expert feedback to create and revise a pool of 72 items. We conducted cognitive interviews with ten pre-clinical health profession students from various US schools of nursing, pharmacy, and medicine to ensure the items were easy to understand. Finally, we used a modified Delphi process with twenty-four health professions educators and addiction experts (eight each from nursing, pharmacy, and medicine) to select items for inclusion in the final scale. We analyzed expert ratings of individual items and interdisciplinary agreement on ratings to decide how to prioritize items. We ultimately selected 12 attitudes and 12 confidence items to include in the REadiness to Discuss Use, Common Effects, and HArm Reduction Measure (REDUCE-HARM). Experts rated their overall assessment of the final scale.

Results: Twenty-two of twenty-four experts agreed or strongly agreed that the attitudes scale measures student attitudes that impact readiness to work with PWUDs. Twenty-three of twenty-four experts agreed or strongly agreed that the confidence scale measures student self-efficacy in competencies that impact readiness to work with PWUDs. Seven of 72 initial items and none of the 24 selected items had statistically significant differences between disciplines.

Conclusions: The REDUCE-HARM instrument has strong content validity and may serve as a useful tool in evaluating addiction education. Additional research is needed to establish its reliability, construct validity, and responsiveness to change.