An Educational Intervention to Improve Nurses' Understanding of Pain in Children in Western India

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Abstract

Accurate assessment of pain and its management is a challenging aspect of pediatric care. Nurses, usually the primary caregivers, showed inadequate knowledge and restrictive attitudes toward pain assessment. We evaluated an educational intervention to improve nurses' assessment of pain in a teaching hospital in India. A convenient sample of nurses working in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric ward, pediatric intensive care unit, and pediatric cardiac intensive care unit were included in the study. Workshops to improve understanding of pain, its assessment, and management strategies were conducted. A modified and consensually validated Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain questionnaire-2008 consisting of 25 true/false questions, eight multiple choice questions, and two case scenarios was administered before, immediately after, and 3 months after the workshops to evaluate impact of the intervention. Eighty-seven nurses participated. Mean (standard deviation) experience was 4.04 (5.9) years. Thirty-seven percent felt that they could assess pain without pain scales. About half (49.4%) of the nurses had not previously heard of pain scales, while 47.1% reported using a pain scale in their routine practice. Significant improvement was observed between pretest and post-test total scores (15.69 [2.94] vs. 17.51 [3.47],p< .001) as well as the pretest and retention score (15.69 [2.94] vs. 19.40 [4.6],p< .001). Albeit the study site and sampling frame may limit the reliability of the findings, the educational intervention was successful, and better retention test scores suggest a cascading effect. Pain assessment and management education of children should be incorporated in the nursing curriculum and should be reinforced in all pediatric units.

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