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Peggy Compton, PhD, Selected for Induction to the Int’l Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame | NEWS-Line for Nurses

Peggy Compton, PhD, Selected for Induction to the Int’l Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame


Penn Nursing’s Peggy Compton, PhD, RN, FAAN, the van Ameringen Chair in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health, will be honored by Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) for her contributions to the nursing profession during the 31st International Nursing Research Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 23-27, 2020.

“I am honored to receive this most prestigious award, which represents a pinnacle in the career of a nurse scientist. Not only does it reflect the importance of nursing research in addressing critical public health issues, but also the profession’s commitment to meeting the needs of vulnerable, underserved and sometimes stigmatized patient populations, such as those with addiction and pain,” said Compton. “I appreciate the recognition by the international nursing scholarly community of my work, and the recognition of the valuable contributions nurse scientists make to investigate and improve the care of, and outcomes for all individuals.”

Motivated by a fundamental desire to understand how the abuse of opioids in the context of addiction affects the functioning of human pain systems, Compton’s work is grounded in her neuropsychiatric nursing practice in addiction and pain treatment settings, and involves the testing and refinement of a novel nursing theory that pain and opioid addiction are interrelated phenomena co-expressed in unique human life responses. Compton has established herself as an expert in identifying opioid abuse and addiction in chronic pain patients, opioid-induced hyperalgesia in patients on chronic opioid therapy and has made significant contributions to the fields of addiction and pain.

Compton’s experience working in several public treatment settings, coupled with her extensive research and publication on pain and opioids, has helped to establish methods to detect alterations in pain responses in patients on opioid therapy and identify substance use disorders and addiction in chronic pain patients on ongoing analgesic therapy. Determining whether patients are taking their opioid medications appropriately, and aggressively treating addiction should it present, are critical to effective pain care, but often challenging for the primary care clinician. She has been instrumental in developing tools that utilize foundational assessment categories such as family/personal history of addiction, psychiatric disorders, and opioid use patterns, to assess for the presence of substance use disorders.

“Dr. Compton is one of the few nurses working in the area of pain, opioids, and addiction and how they intersect. She has built a significant program of research that includes one of the most widely used tools available to physicians and nurse practitioners to evaluate risk for misuse of prescription opioids in chronic pain patients,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel. “Her studies comparing different pharmacologic and behavioral interventions are highly regarded, and she consistently publishes in high impact journals. As an established mentor, Dr. Compton is sought out by pre- and post-doctoral students across disciplines working with them on related projects through to publications and on to positions as faculty in nursing and medical schools. She has also played an instrumental role in the development of professional practice guidelines on the management of pain in patients with substance abuse disorders. The entire Penn Nursing community is proud of her work and congratulate her on receiving this much-deserved honor.”

Compton earned a PhD from New York University; a MS from Syracuse University; and a BSN from the University of Rochester. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in substance use disorders at the University of California at Los Angeles.

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world’s leading schools of nursing.

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