Assessing and Managing Acute Pain: A Call to Action

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Abstract

Acute pain, which is usually sudden in onset and time limited, serves a biological protective function, warning the body of impending danger. However, while acute pain often resolves over time with normal healing, unrelieved acute pain can disrupt activities of daily living and transition to chronic pain. This article describes the effects of unrelieved acute pain on patients and clinical outcomes. The authors call on nurses to assess and manage acute pain in accordance with evidence-based guidelines, expert consensus reports, and position statements from professional nursing organizations in order to minimize the likelihood of its becoming chronic.

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