“Pain Is What the Patient Says It Is”: Nurse–Patient Communication, Information Seeking, and Pain Management

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Abstract

Nurse–patient conversations about pain management are complex. Given recent increases in prescription pain pill abuse, such interactions merit scholarly attention. In-depth interviews with 21 nurses were conducted to explicitly explore nurses’ information seeking about pain. The participants in this study gathered pain information from patients through a variety of means and reported facing challenges and dilemmas when communicating with patients about pain management and medicinal preferences. These results have important implications for nurses, patient outcomes, and the broader health-care system and imply that continued educational and intervention efforts are essential in this complicated communicative context.

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