What is the current knowledge and attitudes of Western Australian final semester registered nursing students undertaking a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) towards patients' pain management? [article]

Jodie Denise Jodie Denise Watkins
A review of available literature exploring the knowledge and attitudes of nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in the assessment and management of patients experiencing pain consistently reveals a deficit in this complex area of care. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of final semester registered nursing students' knowledge and attitudes towards pain management. The Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain (KASRP) was chosen as the data collection tool, as
more » ... llection tool, as it has been validated and employed internationally to compare diverse groups of health care professional including senior pain experts, physicians and nurses of varying levels of experience. A mixed-methods non-experimental research design was used for this study. The survey was administered to two groups of final semester registered nursing students from two Western Australian Universities. Data from the 55 students were collected with respondents scoring an average of 64% from the 36-item survey. Statistical analysis of the data using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) identified deficits in participant nurses' knowledge and attitudes towards pain and pain management, particularly in pharmacology and opioid administration. Further analysis of the KASRP results found that there were no significant differences in scores between the students based on demographics such as age, gender and previous experience. Six of the 55 respondents agreed to be interviewed following administration of the survey. Data generated from these interviews revealed that respondents believed their current levels of knowledge surrounding pain management and assessment was basic at iv best. Furthermore, they believed the curriculum content learnt at university was insufficient to their learning needs and that it was not until they commenced clinical practicum in the healthcare setting that they acquired authentic knowledge in managing pain. Results from this research are consistent with other studies and support a widespread concern regarding inadequacy in the knowledge and attitudes of nursing students regarding pain and its management. It is anticipated that educational initiatives to improve students' knowledge and attitudes in this area could assist to enhance nurses' awareness and possibly lead to improved practises. Suggestions include an exploration of the factors that contribute to the reasons why students perform poorly in certain areas on a case-by-case basis. Practical training strategies could concentrate on these results focusing on the greater application of knowledge to clinical practise including clinical reflection and discussion, greater use of simulation techniques and the development of Dedicated Education Units (DEU) to help narrow the theory-practise gap in undergraduate nursing education.
doi:10.26182/5c186eb8c4710 fatcat:k6wjnp7b6benvddghkb5x73oli