February is here, and with it, the hope that the Omicron variant is on a rapid decline in your community! The month of February is a short one, so I am going to keep this letter brief and highlight a few key points.
You may have noticed on the Listserve, the CDC has released proposed revisions to update and expand the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (Dowell, Haegerich, & Chou, 2016). As many of our members have noted, although there were positive recommendations in the 2016 guidelines, some of the recommendations resulted in the denial of patients to medications that had helped them remain active and functional. Many lost access to medications as a result of misapplication of the guidelines, and as a result, people with pain suffered unanticipated, serious outcomes.
In 2016, the CDC was criticized for its failure to have open and transparent conversations with stakeholders prior to publication of the guidelines. This year, the CDC is seeking public input. The new proposals are open for public comment through April 11, 2022. As nurses who advance and promote optimal nursing care for people affected by pain, I urge you to review the guidelines and provide feedback to the CDC. Nurses are very comfortable advocating for optimal care for their patients on a case-by-case level but are less visible when asked to take a stand to influence politics and policies that impact healthcare delivery. If you have never felt comfortable writing a letter to advocate on a national level for improvements in healthcare, this is a perfect opportunity. Having an expertise in the area of pain management nursing, you are highly informed and may be influential in determining the outcome of the final 2022 CDC Guidelines. Take the time to read through them, raise your colleagues’ and patients’ awareness about the call for public comment, and have an active voice. ASPMN® nurses need to make their voices heard in regard to the proposed guidelines. You can access the 2022 proposed guidelines at Federal Register :: Proposed 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids.
Last February, the theme of my President’s letter was hope, and the first rolls-outs of the COVID vaccine had just begun. We had been hopeful that we were seeing the end to the pandemic and were hoping for a live conference in San Antonio. Things didn’t turn out the way we hoped, but, in spite of the continued pandemic and the emerging variants, we were able to hold another successful virtual conference, and ASPMN®, with the support of its many volunteers, continues to strive to meet its mission!
I am more hopeful this year, especially as vaccination rates have increased, and the Omicron variant is on the decline. I am optimistic that we will be able to have our live conference September 14-17, 2022 in Indian Wells, California! Our conference planning committee, led by Deb Bruene, is already hard at work and the committee members are on fire! They have many ideas to offer the educational, enriching, and networking experiences we all enjoy. If you have a presentation you would like to offer at the conference, the call for proposals is open until March 18. You can access the abstract link on the ASPMN.org website.
ASPMN® has been very active during this time, and I am very excited about the engagement and opportunities that lie before us this year. Thanks to our volunteers, we are working to continue offerings you have enjoyed in the past, such as our Journal Club, “Exploring Pearls for Pain Management,” which is brought to you through the efforts of Tandy Mellard, Jennifer Kawi, and Lauren Renner. In implementing areas of our strategic plan, our first virtual Master Faculty led program, Fundamentals of Pain Management, will be held on March 23. Although many of you are experts in the pain management field, we need your help to spread the word and invite your nursing colleagues to participate in a program they will find very informative.
I hope you are enjoying the increase in social media posts related to ASPMN® activities. It is important for ASPMN® to have a social media presence to remain viable, and to attract and retain members. If you see us on Facebook, please “like” us and share. Similarly, share other social media postings. Thanks to the Social Media/Tech committee, this group, led by Teri Reyburn-Orne, is super-charged and striving to increase our recognition in the nursing community!
ASPMN® needs your help to attract corporate sponsors so we can continue to grow. Watch for announcements to participate in a new Task Force, led by Mary Lyons, to join efforts to reach out for corporate support. As many companies were denied access to pain management nurses throughout the pandemic, they are now interested in finding ways to connect with us. Please let Mary know if you have ideas about ways to develop relationships with corporate sponsors.
I hope you enjoyed the Member Highlights posted by Tara Nichols last month. It’s a nice way to get to know a bit more about each other and stay in touch. We really want to hear about your accomplishments, so please submit any news to Tara via email at ASPMN®@kellencompany.com.
Our Chapter Resource/Membership Committee, under the leadership of Marilyn Bazinski, has a group of very passionate people who are continuing to address a number of different priorities to assure ASPMN® continues to attract and retain members, and support the growth and success of chapters. Please support their efforts, if you have not already done so, by renewing your membership before March 1. Your membership is essential to helping ASPMN® accomplish its goals!
There is a lot of passion and energy in ASPMN®, and an engaged membership is key to assuring that we can continue to support our programs and develop new initiatives to meet the challenges of the dynamic practices in pain management. Every ASPMN® member is unofficially a member of the membership committee! It is time to reach out to your colleagues at work and members of your committees and local chapters to invite them to join ASPMN® or renew their membership! Whether you are a clinician working in acute or chronic pain, a nurse practitioner, nurse faculty, nurse researcher, or other specialty, there are others in the organization that share your interests, and your Board of Directors is interested in knowing how we can best support you and attract others in your specialty to our organization.
Until next month, I wish you and your loved ones good health, time for respite and self-care, and opportunities to enjoy some of your ASPMN® benefits!
With gratitude for your continued commitment to ASPMN®,