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Date Published
Published By

Batican, Kryza Dale B.

March 2015Volume 101, Issue 3, Pages 304306

Every Nurse Can Provide Effective Pain

The majority of patients experience some level of pain or discomfort after undergoing a
surgical procedure, making pain management the most consistent nursing diagnosis for
perioperative nurses. Patient assessments, however, rarely include an exploration of patients
knowledge, perceptions, and expectations of pain related to the procedure or of their past
experiences with pain and their coping mechanisms. Pain management is the topic of this
special focus issue of the AORN Journal. This themed issue includes feature articles
designed to increase awareness and understanding of treating patients pain as well as the
various implications of pain management in the ultimate health and well-being of surgical
patients. This collection of articles addresses physical and psychosocial aspects of pain and
the wide variety of approaches to pain management, both traditional and alternative, and
provides a foundation for improving pain assessment and management of surgical patients.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AWARENESS Awareness of the significant effect of pain on quality of
life, and the realization that pain can be a disease in and of itself, has increased steadily over
the past 25 years. Acute and chronic pain affects millions of Americans, and the economic
effect of pain is estimated to be as high as $635 billion annually.1(p1) As evidence of our
countrys serious commitment to this issue, publication of the 2011 Institute of Medicine
report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education,
and Research, 1 provides painstaking research that reveals the multidimensional character of
pain and the challenges of pain management. In addition, the American Society for Pain
Management Nursing (ASPMN) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The ASPMNs
commitment to basing optimal nursing care for pain management on education, standards of
practice, advocacy, and research demonstrates the diligence with which pain management
nurses approach patient care and implies a significant body of evidence validating this
platform of care.2 The ASPMN believes that all patients and health care professionals benefit
from pain management education. The ASPMN promotes public awareness, encourages selfadvocacy, and empowers people to rise above cultural and societal barriers to pursue the
help that they need. The ASPMN has published the following key messages on its web site3 :
Everyone, regardless of income, race, gender, age, status or geographic location, should
have access to effective pain management. Pain management should be delivered with an
individualized, balanced approach, using interdisciplinary methods. Pain management is not
one-size-fits-all and often, a combination of therapies is required to achieve the best results.
Appropriate education and training on pain management issues and treatment is vital for
nurses who are often the most effective patient advocates. Patients, families, employers,
colleagues, and the public at large need education regarding the dramatic effect pain that can
have on a persons ability to have a productive life and that there are a variety of effective
ways to help manage pain. Elected officials share a responsibility for making sure that the
US health care system workforce is adequately educated and that funding is made available
to address the nursing shortages.
NURSES ROLE Perioperative nurses play a small but significant role in pain management.
Although we primarily address acute, shortterm pain associated with a surgical procedure, we
appreciate that pain represents a significant challenge to most patients. Pain is subjective and
not solely defined by the involved anatomy and physiology. Perioperative nurses realize that
the patients ability to manage pain has a direct and significant effect on the speed and quality

of recovery from anesthesia and surgery. Patients perception and fear of pain affect their
emotional readiness for surgery, and management of pain has a signifi- cant effect on
recovery from anesthesia, the surgical procedure, and the rehabilitation process. Although
there may be little the perioperative nurse can do to manage the physiology of the patients
pain, helping the patient to manage the subjective components is a critical nursing
intervention. Addressing pain as a part of the surgical experience, acknowledging the patients
fears and trepidation related to pain, and assessing the patients previous experiences with
pain and their coping mechanisms can increase the patients confidence in the health care
team but also give the nurse an opportunity to better facilitate pain management by
communicating relevant information to the surgeon, the anesthesia professional, and the
postanesthesia care unit team.
As a future nurse , it is important for me to learn the importance of pain management to
patient specially in a surgical area. Reading this article , I have learn that communication not
only to our patient but also to the rest of the surgical team is very important and vital and thus
is n opportunity for me to properly facilitate pain management.