The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SBIRT Training: The Power of Nursing to Change Health

With the support of a three-year grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), the University of Massachusetts College of Nursing trains students in Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) so that it will be used in lifelong professional practice. SBIRT is an approach to delivering early intervention and treatment to people with, or at risk- of developing alcohol and or substance use disorders. The SBIRT program addresses the growing need for health care providers working across a variety of service delivery settings to be trained in SBIRT.

The College of Nursing has developed a unique partnership with the Western Massachusetts Public Heath Training Center, the Center for Health Promotion (CHP), University Health Services (UHS), and the Springfield Public Schools to train nursing undergraduate students in SBIRT for use in their clinical rotations. The goals of the project are to

  • develop and implement SBIRT training opportunities for nursing students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • improve the skills and competencies of nursing students in the use of SBIRT
  • disseminate best practices for integrating SBIRT into nursing education for clinical practice.

Using a curriculum promulgated by SAMHSA, SBIRT will be intergrated into existing psychiatric/mental health, pediatric/young adult and community nursing courses that incorporate alcohol and substance abuse disorders.

Student with nursing sweatshirt.

Student Feedback: 

“This training helped to fill in the blanks. A lot of time we are told what information we are to ask but not how to ask it. Most of the time we are geared to look at medical information and questions. This made us remember that patients are individuals and people.” - Julia Amodeo

"This class was amazing! It’s surprising what a great difference an enthusiastic and passionate instructor can make. He really made a difference in how to speak with patients about sensitive issues. I will definitely use these techniques in my patient care." - Sherry Dong