Unrelieved pain is a worldwide health care problem that can lead to unnecessary complications and increased health care expenditure. The aim of this study was to examine nurses' knowledge and attitudes toward pain in Saudi Arabia. A descriptive design was employed using the Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes Survey regarding pain. The study took place in a tertiary teaching hospital in Saudi Arabia. All nurses employed in the hospital were eligible to participate. A total of 775 questionnaires were distributed to nurses working in acute care, intensive care, and nursing education and administration settings. In all, 593 respondents completed the questionnaires, representing a response rate of 76.5%. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Most participants were from overseas (97.5%), speaking 23 different languages; 36.5% of nurses held a bachelors of science degree in nursing or the equivalent. The mean score of correctly answered items in was 16.9 (95% confidence interval, 16.6-17.31) out of a total possible score of 40. Nurses demonstrated some misconceived attitudes such as not giving the required dose of morphine to a smiling patient despite the patient being in pain. It is of concern that the findings identified problems of inadequate knowledge and inappropriate attitudes regarding pain assessment and management in Saudi Arabia. Considering these problems, the development of pain programs and policies affecting national and international nurses is highly imperative.
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