Original Research

Improving Pain Management at the Nursing Education Level: Evaluating Knowledge and Attitudes

Jessica Latchman, MS, ARNP, AOCNP®

From University of South Florida, College of Nursing, Tampa, Florida, and Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida

Author's disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Correspondence to: Jessica Latchman, MS, ARNP, AOCNP®, Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: jessica.latchman@moffitt.org


J Adv Pract Oncol 2014;5:10–16 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2014.5.1.4 | © 2014 Harborside Press®


  

ABSTRACT

Unmanaged pain is a prevalent problem faced by many cancer patients. One part of this problem centers on a lack of emphasis on pain management in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. This study examined the knowledge and attitudes of 41 undergraduate nursing students regarding pain management. Students voluntarily completed a demographic data form, the Nurses’ Attitude Survey, and the Pain Management Principles Assessment Tool. A mean score of 19.4 out of a possible 31 was achieved on the knowledge test, whereas a mean score of 17.0 was achieved on the Nurses’ Attitude Survey. A weak-to-moderate relationship between knowledge and attitudes was found. Although students had positive attitudes regarding pain management, many still lacked the fundamental knowledge essential for adequately managing pain. The sample size was relatively small and not demographically diverse, but the response from the sample was sufficient to provide statistically meaningful data. In the quest to improve patient outcomes, these findings suggest the need to develop specific strategies to effectively teach undergraduate nursing students about pain management.




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