Nonpharmacological methods in relieving children's postoperative pain: a survey on hospital nurses in Finland

T Pölkki, K Vehviläinen-Julkunen, A M Pietilä
Journal of Advanced Nursing 2001, 34 (4): 483-92

AIM OF THE STUDY: The aim of this study was to describe nurses' use of selected nonpharmacological methods in relieving 8-12-year-old children's postoperative pain in hospital.

METHODS: The convenience sample consisted of 162 nurses working on the paediatric surgical wards in the five Finnish university hospitals. An extensive questionnaire, including a five-point Likert-scale, on the nurses' use of selected nonpharmacological methods and demographic data was used as a method of data collection. The response rate was 99%. Descriptive statistics as well as nonparametric Kruskall-Wallis ANOVA and the chi-squared test were used as statistical methods.

RESULTS: The study indicates that emotional support, helping with daily activities and creating a comfortable environment were reported to be used routinely, whereas the cognitive-behavioural and physical methods included some less frequently used and less well known strategies. The results also show that attributes, such as the nurses' age, education, and work experience, the number of children the nurses had, the nurses' experiences of hospitalization of their children as well as the hospital and the place of work, were significantly related to the use of some nonpharmacological methods.

CONCLUSIONS: The nurses used versatile nonpharmacological methods in children's postoperative pain relief, although some defects could be observed. More research is needed on the methods used by nurses to relieve children's pain in different patient groups and the factors which hinder or promote nurses' use of pain alleviation methods in the clinical practice.

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