An overview of pain assessment and management
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

An overview of pain assessment and management

Felicia Cox Nurse consultant, Harefield Hospital, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the principles of pain assessment and management

  • To identify useful pain assessment and management tools and resources

  • To enhance your awareness of the adverse effects and complications of opioids

Pain is a distressing, subjective and complex phenomenon that all nurses will encounter in their clinical practice. Effective pain management requires nurses to undertake a structured assessment to identify the probable causes of pain and guide management. Interventions used to reduce pain can be varied and multimodal. This article provides an overview of pain including its definition, classifications, assessment and management. It emphasises the importance of a person-centred approach to care which reflects Margo McCaffery’s seminal quote that pain is ‘whatever the experiencing person says it is’.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11936

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

The author has acted as a paid adviser and speaker for Grünenthal UK and Kyowa Kirin

Cox F (2022) An overview of pain assessment and management. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11936

Published online: 30 March 2022

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