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The purpose of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of a tentative model, based on important aspects of surgical nursing care, for designing strategic and clinical quality indicators. Objective postoperative pain management was chosen for the model because it is a priority area in surgical nursing care. Items within a questionnaire were designed by using the tentative model as a base and by means of a literature review. The questionnaire, directed to clinical nurses (n=233), was compiled to establish the validity and the usefulness of the indicators. Fourteen items were assessed as essential for achieving high quality outcomes in postoperative pain management (11 as realistic to carry out, and 13 as possible for nurses to influence) with mean scores ≥4 (on a 5-point scale). The conclusion reached was that the tentative model combined with a literature search was found to be effective for designing items that might be useful as strategic and clinical indicators of quality in postoperative pain management.