Influences of Patient Behavior on Clinical Nurses' Pain Assessment: Implications for Continuing Education

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Pain management is an important consideration in the promotion of patients' comfort. However, research continues to indicate patients' pain management is poor. The nursing literature cites nurses' lack of knowledge as a significant determinant of poor pain management practices. The impetus for this study arose from poor attendance by nurses at inservice sessions discussing pain assessment and management. Knowledge of existing nursing practice and accompanying beliefs and attitudes in relation to pain management is paramount in the development of relevant continuing education for registered nurses. The aim of this investigation was to study nurses' intention to treat pain in different patients. A 10-page questionnaire with eight different patient scenarios was distributed to 886 nurses across all clinical divisions of an acute tertiary facility. Results indicate knowledge deficits regarding optimum pain relief for patients. This article highlights the need for innovative teaching strategies and approaches in the clinical context to heighten nurses' awareness of their lack of knowledge of pain assessment and management.

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