June 6, 2024

Canadian Nurse launches series on harm reduction led by UCalgary Nursing assistant professor

Dr. Jennifer Jackson edits written series for RNs on harm reduction and addictions nursing
Jennifer Jackson

UCalgary Nursing assistant professor Dr. Jennifer Jackson [RN PhD] wants policy makers at all levels of government to know more needs to be done about the overdose crisis in our country. But instead of waiting for them to take action, she plans to reach RNs working on the frontlines with suggestions about how they may change their practice. She was therefore delighted when Canadian Nurse editor-in-chief, Barb Shellian BN’79, MN’83, agreed and signed off to support a summer series of articles on harm reduction.

“I thought ‘what other ways can we try to deal with this?’” says Jackson, a board member with Canadian Nurse. Her research interests are in improving health services in addiction care and she frequently speaks on the importance of supervised consumption sites.  

“The idea became, if policy makers are doing nothing, let's focus on building capacity in clinical staff. So we have 11 weeks of articles coming out about different parts of addictions nursing and supporting people who use drugs.”

Jackson coordinated and edited all the articles with the Canadian Nurse staff with the first published June 6. “The articles are aimed at acute care nurses, with topics like, how do I treat pain with someone who uses drugs? How do I ask a patient about their drug use or sex work?” she continues.  

“We are trying to help nurses feel more comfortable so these patients get better care when they are in hospital.”  

Shellian says “Politically, this is well-timed,” admitting that the issue can be very divisive for politicians and their constituents. “It is a controversial type of content, but I am very grateful to Jennifer as the series has really blossomed into something good.”

Jackson is, in turn, grateful to Shellian for providing a forum and voice for the crisis. “Nurses need to be there for people even when it is uncomfortable or hard. I hope this will end up in their hands in hospitals across the country,” she says.  

Canadian Nurse is an online journal, published by the Canadian Nurses Association, for the diverse community of 466,000 regulated nurses across all 13 provinces and territories in the country. In addition to Jackson, UCalgary Nursing associate professor Dr. Tracie Risling RN, PhD and alum Lucy Reyes, MN’91 also sit on the 17-person editorial board. The 11-part series launched on Thursday, June 6th.