Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Ineffective pain management can prolong a patient's length of stay and increase cost of care. Inadequate pain control decreases the patient's quality of life and contributes to poor health outcomes. A recent record audit showed that documentation of pain reassessments occurred only 20% of the time within an hour after administering pain medication. Furthermore, nurses may have insufficient knowledge regarding pain assessments and reassessments or hold irrational fears about addiction leading to inadequate treatment of pain. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational program for acute care nurses for the assessment and management of the adult hospitalized patient experiencing pain. Guided by Knowles theory of adult learning, nurses' knowledge regarding pain, assessments, and pain reassessments were evaluated before and after the pain management education program using the Knowledge and Attitude toward Pain Survey (KAPS). A convenience sample of 34 nurses completed the KAPS before and after an educational program addressing pain assessments. Results of the t-test analysis revealed a statistically significant (t = -15.8, df = 33, p<0.00) increase in KAPS scores, from an average pretest score of 70% to an average posttest score of 94%. The results of this project are consistent with the literature, and they illustrate the importance of improving nursing practice by providing nurses with education regarding pain assessments and reassessments as a strategy to improve the management of patients' pain and, resultantly, increase patients' quality of life.