Knowledge and attitudes of Registered Nurses toward pain /
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This research provided relevant data to support pain research literature that finds nurses do not have the knowledge base that they require to sufficiently provide effective pain management. The data demonstrated that nurses have mixed attitudes toward pain. These two findings have been observed in the literature for more than 20 years, but were important results for the hospitals and the nurses involved in the study. The purposes of this study were to identify the level of knowledge and attitudes in a sample of nurses fi-om the surgical and medical units in three hospitals, and determine whether a difference between these two groups existed. The institutional resources to support pain relief practices provided by each hospital were also documented. Data were collected using a convenience sample from the medical and surgical units of three hospitals. Ofthe 1 13 nurses who volunteered to participate, 78 worked in surgical units and 35 worked in medical units. Demographic data were collected about the participants. The established instruments used to obtain data about knowledge and attitude included: (a) Nurses Knowledge of Pain Issues Survey, (b)Attitude to Pain Control Scale, and (c) Andrew and Robert Vignette. Data collected were quantitative along with two open-ended questions for a rich, qualitative section. Inadequate knowledge and outdated attitudes were very evident in the responses. Data from the open-ended questions described how nurses assessed pain and the most conmion problems caring for patients in pain. Nursing practice implications for these hospitals involve initiating a process to develop an educational pain program for nurses throughout the hospital. Utilizing findings from other studies, the program should have an interdisciplinary approach to the planning, implementation, evaluation, and ongoing support. This study supports the belief that inadequate pain management has been attributed to many factors, most importantly to a lack of knowledge. Pain is a costly, unnecessary complication for the patient as well as the hospital. It follows then, that it is in the best interest of all involved to implement an educational pain program in order to influence practice.