Factors influencing nurses' use of nonpharmacological pain alleviation methods in paediatric patients

Tarja Pölkki, Helena Laukkala, Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen, Anna-Maija Pietilä
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 2003, 17 (4): 373-83
The purpose of this study was to describe the factors promoting and hindering nurses' use of nonpharmacological methods in children's surgical pain relief, and demographic variables related to this. The data were collected by a Likert-type questionnaire, which was completed by nurses (n = 162) who were working in one of the paediatric surgical wards located in university hospitals in Finland. The response rate was 99%. Factor analysis was used to analyse the data. According to the results, five promoting factors (nurse's competence, versatile use of pain alleviation methods, workload/time, child's age/ability to cooperate, and parental participation), as well as five hindering factors (nurse's insecurity, beliefs regarding parental roles/child's ability to express pain, heavy workload/lack of time, limited use of pain alleviation methods, and work organizational model/patient turnover rate) were found to influence the nurses' use of nonpharmacological methods. Almost all of the nurses (98%) hoped to make progress in their career and to learn different pain alleviation methods, but less than half of them (47%) agreed that they had obtained sufficient education regarding these methods. Demographic variables such as the nurse's age, education, and work experience were significantly related to certain factors influencing the use of nonpharmacological methods. In conclusion, paediatric patients' surgical pain relief in the hospital was affected more by the nurses' personal characteristics, than by work-related factors or characteristics of the child or the child's parents. The nurses had positive attitudes towards learning different pain alleviation methods, which constitute the basis for the development of pain management in paediatric patients.

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