Postoperative pain management - the influence of surgical ward nurses

Kerstin Wickström Ene, Gunnar Nordberg, Ingrid Bergh, Fannie Gaston Johansson, Björn Sjöström
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2008, 17 (15): 2042-50

AIM: To compare pain levels reported by patients with those documented by ward nurses and to find out to what extent the amount of opioids given correlated with the pain level. Secondly, to study if pain management and nurses' approaches to this task had improved during a two-year period, including an educational pain treatment program for ward staff.

BACKGROUND: The management of postoperative pain continues to remain problematic and unsatisfactory and ward nurses play an important role for this task.

DESIGN: The study was a cross-sectional, descriptive, two-part study based on survey data from both patients and nurses on two urology surgical wards.

METHODS: Part I of the study included 77 patients and 19 nurses. Part II took place approximately two years later and included 141 patients and 22 nurses. Data were collected the day after surgery by asking patients about 'worst pain' experienced. The pain scores given by the patients were compared with those documented in the patients' records and with the doses of opioids administered. Nurses' approaches to pain management were sought after, by using a categorical questionnaire.

RESULTS: The nurses' ability to assess pain in accordance with the patients' reports had increased slightly after two years even if and the number of documented pain scores had decreased. Forty per cent of the nurses reported that they did not use visual analogue scale and that they did not assess pain at both rest and activity, neither did one fourth evaluate the effect of given analgesics.

CONCLUSION: The study showed a discrepancy in pain scoring between nurses and patients, where active treatment was related to nurses' documentation rather than to patients' scoring.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The study shows a need for more accurate pain assessment, since the patient experiences and suffers pain and the nurse determines upon treatment.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"