Nurses’ underuse of non-pharmacological pain relief interventions in preterm infants
evidence and practice    

Nurses’ underuse of non-pharmacological pain relief interventions in preterm infants

Emily Lucas Third-year student children’s nurse, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England
Ann Bevan Senior lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England

Why you should read this article
  • To understand the experience of pain in preterm infants

  • To enhance your knowledge of the factors that make nurses less likely to use non-pharmacological pain relief in preterm infants

  • To recognise the role of local and national guidelines in providing pain relief for preterm infants

The aim of this literature review was to explore nurses’ underuse of non-pharmacological pain relief interventions for minor procedures in preterm infants on neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). A search of the literature using keywords was undertaken using multiple databases. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, three main themes emerged from 11 studies: preterm infant factors; nurse factors; and organisational factors.

The literature review found that nurses consistently underused non-pharmacological pain relief interventions for minor procedures in preterm infants. Several contributory factors were identified, including the absence of pain guidelines, the quality of nurses’ training and education, patient acuity, the lower gestational age of patients, and the intensity level of NICUs.

Recommendations for future practice include the implementation of pain guidelines and validated pain assessment tools via neonatal clinical networks and local pain champions. Effective dissemination of education and training for nurses in pain affecting preterm infants is also required to overcome barriers such as staff shortages and excessive workloads.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2019.e1255

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

emily.lucas121@gmail.com

Lucas E, Bevan A (2019) Nurses’ underuse of non-pharmacological pain relief interventions in preterm infants. Nursing Children and Young People.

Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 09 December 2019