Knowledge and attitudes about cancer pain management: a national survey of Italian hospice nurses

Matteo Bernardi, Gianluca Catania, Gloria Tridello
Cancer Nursing 2007, 30 (2): E20-6
To obtain information about the knowledge and attitudes of Italian hospice nurses concerning cancer pain management and to determine the predictor of nurses' pain management knowledge. Nationwide descriptive study. Hospice nurses in Italy from 9 hospice units distributed in the north, center, and south of Italy. Sixty-six nurses completed the questionnaire, indicating a 66.6% response rate. The Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes Survey (Italian version) and a background information form were used to collect the data. Knowledge and attitudes regarding cancer pain. Among the 39 pain knowledge questions assessed, the mean number of correctly answered question was 24.4 (SD = 4.2), with a range of 15 to 35 items correctly answered. The correct answer rate for the entire scale, on average, was 62.7% (SD = 28%). Further analysis of items showed that more than 30% of hospice nurses underestimated the patients' pain and they did not treat the pain in the correct way; they had an incorrect self-evaluation about their pain management knowledge. Results from stepwise regression showed that nurses with higher mean correct answer scores had attended more courses on pain education. From these results, we conclude that there are still significant knowledge deficits and erroneous beliefs that may hamper treatment of hospice patients in pain. The results of this study could be useful to institutions involved in the education and application of patient pain management.

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