Nurses' strategies for managing pain in the postoperative setting

Manias, Elizabeth, Bucknall, Tracey and Botti, Mari 2005, Nurses' strategies for managing pain in the postoperative setting, Pain management nursing, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 18-29.

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Title Nurses' strategies for managing pain in the postoperative setting
Author(s) Manias, Elizabeth
Bucknall, Tracey
Botti, Mari
Journal name Pain management nursing
Volume number 6
Issue number 1
Start page 18
End page 29
Publisher WB Saunders
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2005-03
ISSN 1524-9042
Summary Acute pain is a significant problem in the postoperative setting. Patients report a lack of information about pain-control measures and ineffective pain control. Nurses continue to rely on pharmacologic measures and tend to under-administer analgesics. The purpose of this study was to determine the strategies nurses used to manage patients’ pain in the postoperative setting. It also sought to examine the effect of context, including organization of care, nurses’ prioritization of work activities, and pressures during a working shift, on their pain-management strategies. An observational design was used in two surgical units of a metropolitan teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Six fixed observation times were identified as key periods for pain activities, each comprising a 2-hour duration. An observation period was examined at least 12 times, resulting in the completion of 74 observations and the identification of 316 pain cases. Fifty-two nurses were observed during their normal day’s work with postoperative patients. Six themes were identified: managing pain effectively; prioritizing pain experiences for pain management; missing pain cues for pain management; regulators and enforcers of pain management; preventing pain; and reactive management of pain. The findings highlighted the critical nature of communication between clinicians and patients and among clinicians. It also demonstrated the influence of time on management strategies and the relative importance that nurses place on nonpharmacologic measures in actual practice. This research, which portrays what happens in actual clinical practice, has facilitated the identification of new data that were not evident from other research studies.


Notes Available online 25 May 2005.
Language eng
Field of Research 111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, by the American Society for Pain Management Nursing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008922

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Nursing and Midwifery
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