Ketamine as a Non-Opioid Option for Pain Management

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Melanie H Simpson, PhD, RN-BC, OCN, CHPN

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Pharmacology Hours 0.50

Expires Mar 31, 2026

Topics: Pain Management, Medication Management

Population: Adult

Role: Staff

CE Fee
Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Webinar Summary

As a result of the opioid epidemic, healthcare providers are actively seeking approaches to decrease opioid use in addressing pain management. Studies show that ketamine decreases reported pain and can reduce the amount of opioid needed. Although ketamine is labeled by the FDA as an anesthetic agent, its off-label use as an adjunct to acute and acute on chronic pain management is increasing in acute and critical care patients. While anesthesiologists typically order ketamine, nurses often are involved with drug delivery through IV infusion or PCA pumps and monitor patient response. In this webinar, national pain expert Melanie Simpson will address the pharmacokinetics of ketamine and the indications for its use in current practice. You will learn about side effects and other nursing care considerations, including the important question: Is this appropriate for my practice?


  • State the actions of ketamine and how this relates to nursing care considerations.
  • List the indications and contraindications for the use of ketamine.
  • Discuss considerations for integrating ketamine for pain management into your practice.


Melanie H Simpson, PhD, RN-BC, OCN, CHPN

Melanie H Simpson, PhD, RN-BC, OCN, CHPN

Melanie Simpson is the pain management team coordinator at The University of Kansas Health System and has worked in pain management for over 24 years. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both Nursing and Human Relations, a master’s degree in Health Services and a doctoral degree in Health Administration, and is currently in a master of nursing program. A nationally recognized expert in pain management, Simpson is certified in pain management, oncology, hospice, and palliative nursing. She is a past president of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), and has received national nursing awards including the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s 2012 Magnet Nurse of the Year for Exemplary Professional Practice, ANCC’s 2017 Certified Nurse Award for Pain Management, and the 2018 ASPMN Advocacy Award.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity, read Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes, and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider number CEP 1036, for 1.00 contact hours.

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN, ANCC, or CBRN approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content will be identified by the Nurse Planner within the activity. Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content has been mitigated.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

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Continuing Education Activities are nonrefundable.