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Knowledge and attitudes of nurses in veterans hospitals about pain management in patients with cancer



Knowledge and attitudes of nurses in veterans hospitals about pain management in patients with cancer



Oncology Nursing Forum 27(9): 1415-1423



To assess nurses' knowledge and attitudes about pain management and patients in pain. Exploratory, descriptive. Seven medical-surgical inpatient units in two large veterans hospitals in Southwest Florida. A convenience self-select sample of 85 nurses (RNs and LPNs working on the target units on all shifts). Staff nurses were approached at work and asked to complete the data collection forms. Knowledge about pain management principles and attitudes toward pain management and patients in pain. Areas of major knowledge deficits included physiology of pain and pharmacology of analgesics. Nurses were most knowledgeable about the importance of asking patients about their pain, around-the-clock scheduling, tolerance, and use of distraction. Patient behavior, age, and gender seemed to unduly influence nurses in their pain management decisions. Regarding attitudes about pain management, the majority of nurses did not agree that patients and their families should have the most control over analgesic scheduling and that a constant level of analgesic should be maintained in the blood. In fact, 82% indicated that around-the-clock analgesics increase the risk for sedation and respiratory depression. Years after the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research published pain guidelines, nurses in veterans hospitals continue to lack knowledge and have negative attitudes that may negatively affect pain management in patients with cancer. Basic and continuing education for nurses needs to include intensive content about pain management. Continued research is needed to document improvements in pain management by nurses.

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Accession: 046508075

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PMID: 11058973


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