Revisiting the Pain Resource Nurse Role in Sustaining Evidence-Based Practice Changes for Pain Assessment and Management
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© 2018 Sigma Theta Tau International Background: Effective pain management is unlikely to occur without consistent and timely assessments. To improve assessment and management of pain, ward-based pain resource nurses were introduced in 2007 to facilitate hospital-wide evidence-based practice changes using three key targets. One-year post implementation of this quality improvement project, promising results were revealed. Aims: The purpose of this study, 8 years post implementation, was to (a) evaluate sustained practice improvements in pain assessment and management, (b) assess current pain resource nurse knowledge and attitudes to pain, (c) explore characteristics of the pain resource nurse role, as well as (d) any perceived contextual changes regarding study findings. Methods: A mixed-methods approach was used to address study aims. Quantitative data were collected from documentation audits and a “Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain.” Qualitative interviews explored the characteristics of the pain resource nurse role, and a focus group discussion explored the context of change. Results: Significant improvements were observed for the documentation of pain scores on admission and for each nursing shift. Survey results highlighted potential knowledge deficits in key practice areas, even though interview findings suggested that pain resource nurses provided a resource for peers, raised awareness of best practice, and imparted knowledge to other ward staff. An important facilitator for the pain resource nurse role was the ongoing collaboration and support from specific pain teams, and barriers to engage in the role were competing workload priorities, and limited awareness among other ward staff. Linking Evidence to Action: Implementing and sustaining evidence-based practice change in clinical practice is challenging. Ongoing evaluation is necessary for identifying the long-term implications of practice improvement interventions and issues that influence the adoption of evidence-based practice. Strategies to address barriers, and to increase awareness and engagement of the pain resource nurse role with wider collaboration require further investigation.
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