Skip To Content
bottle of pills

Substance Use Disorders: An Introduction for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals



Full course description

Please note: this course is no longer available for continuing education contact hours, effective January 2022. If this changes, we will update this page. 

Course Introduction

This self-study course provides an overview of substance use disorder for nurses and other healthcare professionals (or nursing/healthcare professions students) who are interested in an introduction to this health issue.

This course comprises 4 modules, which will include video, readable content, self-check questions, and other activities. Though some of the information and videos refer to the state of Indiana, the content related to nursing practice is applicable to nurses anywhere, and nationwide resources are provided throughout the course.

This activity was funded by the Commission for Higher Education of the State of Indiana, CARES Mental Health Programs and developed in partnership with the Indiana University School of Nursing and Indiana University Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Describe substance use disorder in the context of a chronic disease

  • Identify treatment options within the context of their practice community/population

  • Discuss specific harm reduction strategies that can be recommended to patients and families

  • Describe strategies to mitigate stigma impact on those affected by substance use disorder

  • Locate relevant resources in their community for patients and families

Module Topics Include

  • Module 1:  What is Addiction?
  • Module 2:  Treatment and Recovery
  • Module 3:  Prevention & Harm Reduction
  • Module 4:  Hope For Our Communities

Course Creators

Susan McIlwain, MSN, RN-C, FNP-BC,  a family nurse practitioner and addictions specialist and member of the Indiana University Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge team.

Lisa Wagnes, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean for the IU School of Nursing Center for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning

Please send questions to


Length: 1.0 hour


Indiana University School of Nursing Center for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning


Credit: Continuing nursing education contact hours are not currently available. 


Audience: Registered nurses and other interested healthcare professionals;  nursing and healthcare professions students

Sign up for this course today!