Addiction Nursing Care courses encourage informed, compassionate care for West Virginians struggling with substance use disorder

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Through two West Virginia University School of Nursing continuing professional development courses, nurses and other healthcare providers in the state can better understand the needs of patients with substance use disorder (SUD) and how to best treat them.

Addiction Nursing Care features two courses — Office-Based Medication Assisted Treatment (OBMAT) and Nursing Competencies in Addiction Care.

“In our state in particular, anybody in healthcare practice is going to encounter people with substance use disorder. You just can’t avoid it, whether you’re in private practice or in a hospital setting,” said Dr. Susan McKenrick, a nurse practitioner and nursing faculty member with the WVU School of Nursing.

“You need to have some point of reference in how to care for those patients,” McKenrick said. “Non-judgmentalism is one of the biggest things we can do for these patients — to approach them with empathy, to put ourselves in their shoes and to think, ‘What if this were me?’”

The Addiction Nursing Care courses were developed by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses within the WVU School of Nursing, and each of the instructors who developed the modules work with OBMAT themselves.

McKenrick is the medical management provider for one of the Comprehensive Opioid Addiction Treatment (COAT) clinics offered at Milan Puskar Health Right. The clinics offer medication management, group therapy-based treatment and counseling. For McKenrick, the work is incredibly rewarding.

“Patients who have substance use issues often have self-esteem issues. It affects how they feel about themselves in the world, their whole self-perception. They need someone who is going to be empathetic and treat them with dignity, kindness and compassion.”

Dr. McKenrick facilitates the Addiction Nursing Care courses, along with Dr. Kendra Barker, a clinical associate professor with the WVU School of Nursing, who was instrumental in bringing OBMAT/COAT clinics to MPHR, where she continues this important work. Barker is also the creator and presenter of several course modules.

Both self-paced courses are available for $50. The registration fee covers access to materials for both classes, and students can register at any time. Upon completion, participants will receive 29 total hours of nursing continuing professional development credit, including eight pharmacology credits (four per course), and two certificates (one for each course) for completing the training.

To learn more or register, visit

Recovery from addiction is possible. For help, please call the free and confidential treatment referral hotline (1-800-662-HELP) or visit


CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing