Nurses’ and doctors’ knowledge of pain after surgery
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Nurses’ and doctors’ knowledge of pain after surgery

Sarah Coulling Clinical nurse specialist, Acute Pain Service, East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust, Ashford, Kent

Aim To analyse the links between levels of acute pain management knowledge, perceptions of clinical skills and the acute pain management education history of doctors and nurses working in orthopaedics and general surgery in an acute hospital.

Method Questionnaires were sent to 101 doctors and nurses. Eighty two were returned. Questions were derived from an abridged version of McCaffery and Ferrell’s (2002) Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain, acute pain literature and the trust’s clinical standards and protocols.

Results The results identified the most useful sources of acute pain management education and who accessed these; barriers to good acute pain management, other than a lack of education; differences between doctors and nurses in standards of education, levels of perceived competence and knowledge in assessment, pharmacology and analgesic delivery systems.

Conclusion Staff and patient misconceptions, inadequate sources of learning and professional traditions continue to affect the quality of acute pain management. However, progress has been made in the trust to overcome these factors through collaborative practice, review of education programmes and specific practice development initiatives.

Nursing Standard. 19, 34, 41-49. doi: 10.7748/ns2005.