Posted on Aug 1, 2016

USF Nursing to train health care professionals on chronic pain diagnosis and treatment

USF Nursing to train health care professionals on chronic pain diagnosis and treatment

Tampa, FL (Aug. 1, 2016) – Pain is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Abuse of pain prescription opioids is also at an all-time high. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.

To address this issue, the University of South Florida College of Nursing has developed a pain management certificate to help certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), physicians, physician assistants (PAs) and other health care practitioners to properly diagnose, treat and manage pain.

“We’re proud to be one of the first nursing colleges in the country to offer a top-quality graduate certificate in advanced pain management, starting fall 2016,” said Susan Perry, PhD, director of CRNA and senior assistant dean of the graduate programs at USF College of Nursing. “The graduate certificate will help educate health care providers nationwide on acute and chronic pain to properly diagnose and treat patients who suffer from those symptoms.”

Pain Management 1

The certificate will first be offered to CRNAs. Starting fall 2017, USF College of Nursing will open the program to other health care professionals. The certificate will be comprised of four different courses, divided into two semesters. Classes will be offered online.

The development of the pain management certificate follows a HB 423 bill, which was approved by the Florida Legislature this March and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in April. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, will allow advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and licensed PAs to prescribe controlled substances to a seven-day supply — under physicians’ supervision.

“This bill gives primary care health care providers (ARNPs and PAs) the ability to prescribe medications on a limited basis,” said John Maye, PhD, professor and advanced pain management education coordinator of CRNA at USF Nursing. “As advanced health care providers assume more responsibility, it’s important for them to receive background and knowledge to support their decisions.”

Chronic pain can be debilitating, but pain opioids can be more dangerous. Prescription opioids help relieve pain in the short term, according to CDC.  However, opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and methadone, can become addictive and life threatening – often resulting in accidental overdose or death. One out of four people receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with addiction, the CDC reports.

“The numbers are astounding, so we will do everything we can here at USF Nursing to train health care providers and minimize the epidemic that’s overtaking our nation,” said Dr. Perry.

For more information about the USF Nursing’s pain management certificate go to:

USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. USF Health is an integral part of the University of South Florida, a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. For more information, visit,

Media Contact:
Vjollca “V” Hysenlika
College of Nursing Communications
(813) 974-2017


Press Release by Vjollca Hysenlika
Photos by Ryan Noone