Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Managing postoperative pain continues to be a challenging public health problem. The organization under study was experiencing a prolonged length of hospital stay (LOS) in the post-total knee and hip replacement surgery population that was causing system-wide patient flow issues. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to educate patients through an established education class on pain expectations, strategies on managing pain, discharge planning, and physical therapy expectations with a goal of reducing pain and LOS. The health belief model was used as a guide to incorporate new content into the educational program that addressed patient knowledge on pain, concerns, fears, and misconceptions related to surgery. New content was added to the class on strategies to improve postoperative pain to help the organizational need to meet 2- to 3-day LOS. The project compared differences in pain levels and LOS in participants who completed the preoperative education and those who did not. The project methodology was a retrospective nonexperimental pretest and posttest design, and a quantitative analysis was used to compare pain levels measured by visual analog scale in documented charts during hospital stay. LOS was measured from data collected from chart review. The findings revealed lower pain levels during the hospital stay of those who completed the educational program. The patients who did not attend the class had an average mean LOS of 5 days as compared to 3 days LOS for those who attended the preoperative class. The project impacts social change on an organizational level by demonstrating that patients undergoing joint replacement surgery benefit from the revised educational plan, which results in early mobility, better pain control, and decreased LOS.