December 12, 2012
A significant number of patients continue to experience unrelieved pain during hospitalization despite decades of research, improved therapeutic measures and advancement in technology. Delays in recovery, decreased patient satisfaction, decreased quality of life and increased healthcare costs are some consequences related to poor pain management.
Limitation in nurses’ knowledge about pain assessment and management contributes to poor pain management in hospitalized patients. Literature suggests concerns about addiction and respiratory depression as a likely cause of under treatment of pain (Lewthwaite et.al, 2011). A study conducted to explore nursing opinions about pain revealed a tendency for personal opinion to influence the choice of opioid dose (Lewthwaite et.al, 2011). The purpose of this study was to better understand the registered nurses’ level of knowledge of and attitudes toward pain management.
Where do nurses receive and update their knowledge about pain management? A 2007 survey of Canadian university undergraduate programs showed pain education virtually nonexistent in the curricula of health care professional faculties (Watt-Watson, McGillion, & Hunter, 2007). Providing adequate pain management depends on the level of knowledge of, skills, and attitudes of nurses. To address learning needs effectively, and prior to planning educational opportunities, it is essential to identify these knowledge gaps. Education alone may be insufficient to change practice, given limited improvement in pain management over the last three decades. Some suggest changing the entire culture within any given organization to one that designates and empowers nurses in areas of assessment and management of patients’ pain experiences , thereby giving the nurse...