Both physicians and nurses are responsible for adequate pain management. The aim of this study was to assess pain management behavior of physicians and nurses, and to evaluate the effects of a Pain Monitoring Program for nurses on the extent to which nurses administer analgesics. The Pain Monitoring Program consisted of two components: educating nurses about pain, pain assessment and pain management; and implementing daily pain assessment by means of a numeric rating scale. Several outcomes were distinguished to evaluate the administration of analgesics by nurses: the prescribed analgesics by physicians, the administered analgesics by nurses, and the discrepancy between the ordered and the administered analgesics. The effects of the Pain Monitoring Program on these outcomes were measured in a quasi-experimental design with a non-equivalent control group. In total, 703 patients participated: 358 patients in the control group and 345 in the intervention group. Patients were interviewed twice, i.e. at the beginning and at the end of hospitalization. Results of the control group showed that at the first interview 70% of the patients were prescribed analgesics by physicians and only 74% of those patients were actually administered analgesics by nurses. Consequently, 50% of the patients in pain received analgesics. The administered analgesics was in absolute agreement with the prescribed analgesics in 60% of the patients with routine analgesics and in 85% of the patients with PRN analgesics. The relative difference between ordered and administered routine analgesics was small, namely 15% for opioids and 20% for non-opioids. Similar results of the control group were found for the second interview. In addition, the results showed that the Pain Monitoring Program was effective in improving nurses' administration of analgesics. At the first interview more patients received analgesics that were prescribed on a PRN basis and the doses of administered routine non-opioids including PRN increased. At the time of the second interview, more patients received weak opioids. The Pain Monitoring Program was especially effective in patients with moderate to severe pain. However, the discrepancy between the analgesics ordered by physicians and actually administered by nurses did not change as a result of the Pain Monitoring Program. Based on this study it can be concluded that the use of a simple method such as a numeric rating scale together with pain education for nurses is effective in improving the administration of analgesics by nurses. These are important results because nurses play an essential role in helping patients to cope with their pain. Because the Pain Monitoring Program (PMP) was effective in a heterogeneous population in multiple care settings, the possibility of implementing the PMP in routine nursing practice should be considered. Copyright (C) 2000 International Association for the Study of Pain.

, , , , , ,,
Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy

de Rond, M.E.J, de Wit, R, van Dam, F.S, & Muller, M.J. (2000). A Pain Monitoring Program for nurses: Effect on the administration of analgesics. Pain, 89(1), 25–38. doi:10.1016/S0304-3959(00)00344-4