Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Catherine Garner


Ineffective pain management in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) increases patients' risk of adverse effects including decreased mobility, infection, chronic pain, depression, cardiopulmonary complications, increased length of stay, insomnia, fatigue, and overall decrease in quality of life. The PACU in a community hospital did not provide an evidence-based pain management guideline for nurses treating postoperative patients, resulting in nurses' concerns about providing pain management. The purpose of this project was to translate evidence on pain management into an evidence-based guideline for improved nursing practice in a PACU. Evidence was obtained from a detailed literature search using multiple databases and professional organizations' guidelines. Nursing practice guidelines were developed and evaluated by 3 expert panelists using the Agree II guidelines. The panelists selected included; Two anesthesiologists, one who is trained in pain management and is also a pharmacist. The third expert is a practicing nurse practitioner in an acute setting who is also a surgical first assist and the associate director of robotics. The panel endorsed the guidelines for advancement through the hospital's review committees. Implementation of the evidence-based pain management guideline in the PACU might provide nurses with tools to guide their interventions and improve patient outcomes. Social changes resulting from the use of evidence-based pain management guidelines include decreased time to opiate administration, decreased adverse effects, improved assessment of pain, and an increase in the number of patients who receive proper pain management.

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