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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Medical nurses' knowledge and attitudes regarding pain management Wong, Michelle


Unrelieved pain is one of the most common complaints by medical patients and can greatly affect their health outcomes and quality of life. Medical patients account for a large portion of hospitalized older patients and pain is widespread among this population. Nurses spend the most time with patients and are well placed to assess and effectively manage the patient’s pain, however nurses’ poor knowledge and attitudes regarding pain management can significantly hindered patients’ pain management outcomes. This study explored nurses’ knowledge and attitudes regarding pain management on the medical units in a hospital located in Vancouver, BC. There were 75 nurses who completed the “Pain Questionnaire.” The study revealed moderate (69.04%) knowledge and attitudes about pain management from the knowledge and attitudes survey regarding pain. Registered nurses and bachelors prepared nurses were found to have statistically significant higher pain knowledge levels and attitudes. Knowledge deficits were found in the areas of underestimation of pain, pharmacology, addiction, withdrawal, substance abuse, and cancer related pain. Nurses have been shown to attribute less pain to patients suffering from chronic conditions than to those suffering from acute conditions. Pain associated with diabetes and renal diseases, chronic conditions often found in aging adults, were viewed the most negatively. A focus on changing the culture of care, and towards evolving the nursing practice to one of more accountability for pain management, will enhance nurses’ knowledge and attitudes regarding pain, and most importantly will reduce patient pain and improve quality of care.

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