In many clinical settings, nurses have a vital role in pain assessment and titration of opioid doses. Surveys of nurses have revealed knowledge deficits in these areas that are thought to contribute to undertreatment of pain. The present study surveys nurses' decisions about assessment and treatment of pain in 2 patient situations and confirms that nurses continue to undertreat severe pain. As shown in previous studies, nurses may be more influenced by the patient's behavior than the patient's self-report of pain, especially in relation to decisions about opioid titration. Nurses are less likely to increase a previously safe but ineffective dose of opioid for a smiling patient than a grimacing patient. Survey results reveal a tendency for nurses' personal opinions about the patients' pain, rather than their recorded assessments, to influence choice of opioid dose and to contribute to undertreatment of pain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing