Linda Hill

Dr. Linda Hill from the UTC School of Nursing is one of 19 people named this week to the Tennessee Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education, which was created by Gov. Bill Haslam to address opioid addiction in the state.

Hill, program coordinator of the School of Nursing’s Nurse Anesthesia Concentration since 2005, and the other commission members are directed by Haslam to develop standards for the skills, knowledge, education and treatment options that are taught in Tennessee’s medical and nursing education institutions. The goal is to address such areas as proper treatment for pain, safe and effective prescribing practices, proper diagnoses and treatment for individuals abusing or misusing controlled substances.

Under Haslam’s executive order, the standards should cover:

  • Effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, including alternatives to opioids to manage pain;
  • The potential risks and effects of using opioids to treat pain, including physical dependency and addiction, and effective discontinuation of opioids;
  • Proper identification of and treatment for patients demonstrating misuse or abuse of opioids;
  • Utilization of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database

This week, when the commission was unveiled, Haslam said the its ideas could be adopted for future doctors, nurses, dentists and other prescribers of pain medication, but teaching institutions would not be required to use them. But

“To be clear, this is not us telling medical and health care practitioner schools what their curriculum will be,” he said. “This is a group of professionals from that field who will come together and design what competencies should be developed around evidence-based pain and addiction management.”

The commission, created Haslam as part of the TN Together plan to help end the opioid epidemic, is expected to begin meeting in a few weeks with the hope that its recommendations will be ready by mid-summer.

Members of the commission were pulled from the state’s public and private medical schools, the Tennessee Department of Health, professional associations and licensed health-care practitioners.


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Shawn Ryan is the executive staff writer in the Office of Communications and Marketing at UTC.

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