Victorian government-funded courses

The area of alcohol and other drugs is complex and rapidly changing.

To assist nurses and midwives to continue to provide best practice interventions and nursing management, the Andrews Government has provided funding for the development and delivery of contemporary continuing professional development initiatives. The ANMF (Vic Branch) and Turning Point, Eastern Health, have partnered to bring you a series of workshops and masterclasses.


Benzodiazepines, GHB and cannabis: an online masterclass for nurses working in the AOD sector

Thursday 9 May 2024, 9.30am – 12.30pm, via Zoom
CPD: 3 hours 
Presenter: Rose McCrohan

Who should attend? Nurses and midwives working in AOD.

This three-hour webinar has been developed to provide an in-depth focus on the pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of benzodiazepine, cannabis and GHB use. Information on the adverse effects of these psychoactive drugs will be presented as well as nursing management and responses. Participants will be provided with information to develop a better understanding of benzodiazepine, cannabis and GHB addiction, intoxication and withdrawal. Treatment and nursing interventions including pharmacotherapy will be presented.

Rose McCrohan, Nurse Practitioner, Uniting Rose began working in alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in 1992 at Pleasant View. Rose has continued to work in residential and non-residential withdrawal services at Eastern Health and Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) before moving to Uniting in 2005. Rose became Victoria’s first AOD Nurse Practitioner in 2009. Rose manages Curran Place, Uniting’s 16-bed (4 mother-baby beds) residential Adult and Mother Baby Withdrawal service. Rose is a co-convenor of Victoria’s AOD and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner collaborative.

For registration enquiries contact the Education Centre at:


Managing opioid dependence in the hospital environment: harm reduction

Wednesday 22 May 2024, 12.30pm – 3.30pm, via Zoom.
CPD: 3 hours 
Presenter: Meg McKechnie

Who should attend? Nurses and midwives working in AOD.

People with substance use disorders often struggle within mainstream hospital settings and this is further complicated for those with a history of opioid dependence requiring acute analgesia. This seminar will cover the pharmacology of opioids, the impacts of opioid agonist treatment and how this may alter acute pain management approaches. Importantly, hospitalisation represents a unique opportunity to engage patients regarding their substance use and this may not always be toward a goal of abstinence. This three-hour webinar will cover the key principles of harm reduction and how this may be applied in the inpatient setting. Key harm reduction initiatives, such as the Melbourne Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) will be explored.

Megan McKechnie, Nurse Practitioner, Alfred Health Megan is an Addiction Psychiatry Nurse Practitioner currently coordinating the Alfred Health Addictions Consultation and Liaison service. She also works at Access Health in St Kilda to increase access to opioid agonist treatment in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs. She has experience across both acute and community services in mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment, including within emergency departments, acute psychiatric inpatient units, consultation and liaison, homeless outreach and project management. In 2015, Megan was awarded Nurse of the Year for her work improving access to alcohol and other drug treatment for those presenting to emergency departments with substance-use disorders. Megan has a particular interest in improving access to acute care for patients with substance-use disorders and developing systems that promote flexible models of care to meet the needs of individual patients. This includes building harm reduction into acute care as part of core business rather than relying on alcohol and other drug (AOD) services to provide these interventions.

For registration enquiries contact the Education Centre at:


Webinar: Compassion training for AOD nurses

Friday 31 May 2024, 9.30am – 12.30pm, via Zoom
CPD: 3 hours 
Presented: Dr Debbie Ling

Who should attend? Nurses and midwives working in AOD

Compassion is a relatively new area of research with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies showing compassion to be a positive state of mind and associated with feelings of warmth, concern, reward and affiliation. Compassion is now understood to boost the wellbeing of the giver and protect against burnout. Compassion and empathy have been found to have different neural pathways. Empathy, in response to another’s suffering, can accidentally turn into empathic distress, which is an aversive self-focused reaction i.e. personal distress. This happens if a worker accidentally over-identifies with the suffering of another or becomes distressed by the other’s suffering, whereas compassion is always a positive neural pathway and protective against empathic distress. The term “compassion fatigue” is now considered to actually be “empathic distress fatigue”. Compassion training is important for healthcare workers so they can learn how to avoid empathic distress. The perception of common humanity has been proposed as a prerequisite for unbiased universal compassion. Training in common humanity helps healthcare workers have compassion towards anyone else.

This three-hour compassion training program helps healthcare workers learn strategies to cultivate compassion and common humanity, strengthen their own resilience, motivate prosocial actions and create more compassionate workplaces.


  • Learn about the latest research showing compassion to be a positive state of mind which enhances the wellbeing of the giver.
  • Understand the difference between compassion, empathy, pity and sympathy.
  • Learn strategies to enhance compassion and avoid empathic distress.
  • Strengthen the perception of common humanity so that it becomes easier to cultivate compassion in day-to-day work.
  • Learn strategies for managing when compassion is challenged.

Dr Debbie Ling is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work, Monash University and a Research Fellow in the Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Research Unit. Debbie’s PhD research developed, trialled and evaluated a single session compassion training intervention focusing on common humanity which has attracted international attention. The compassion training has been delivered to hundreds of healthcare workers around Australia. Debbie’s work has been published internationally and presented at conferences in the UK, USA and Ireland. Debbie sits on the Australian Compassion Council, Charter for Compassion Australia and is a member of the Australia21 Mindful Futures Network Advisory Group. Debbie is also a Senior Clinician Social Worker at Epworth HealthCare and an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with a bulk bill private counselling practice.

For registration enquiries contact the Education Centre at: