Pain Management Knowledge and Attitudes of Baccalaureate Nursing Students and Faculty

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Abstract

Pain affects approximately 76 million adults in the US. Though pain management has been targeted as a top priority, it continues to be inadequately addressed. Nursing faculty are in a unique position to significantly address the problem through facilitating the acquisition and utilization of knowledge by student nurses. The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge of and attitudes toward pain in baccalaureate nursing students and faculty to establish a foundation for a systematic and comprehensive integration of pain content in the curricula. The descriptive design included a sample of 162 junior and senior students enrolled in a baccalaureate nursing program in Texas and 16 nursing faculty. The Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain (KASRP) was used to measure knowledge and attitudes toward pain. A direct correlation was found between the level of education and the percentage correct score. Differences found in knowledge and attitudes among the three levels of students and faculty were significant (df = 3.173; F = 14.07, p < .001). Senior students nearing graduation scored only 68% (SD = 6.8) with faculty scoring only slightly better with a mean of 71% (SD = 13). Significant differences also were found in assessment of pain through case scenarios of a patient who was smiling and talking as compared to a patient who was lying quietly and grimacing (X2 = 37.13, p < .05 (df = 24). Reevaluation of the way pain assessment and treatment are taught is indicated. Further studies are needed to assess changes in knowledge and attitudes toward pain as curricular revisions are made.

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