Nursing: Challenges in Pain Assessment and Management

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About the Course

Effective pain assessment and management begins with the education of health care workers. Every nurse will encounter patients suffering pain from a plethora of causes; therefore, nurses must understand the physiology, assessment, and management of pain. Nurses have a responsibility to advocate for the millions of people suffering daily from pain to ensure the greatest level of pain relief is achieved safely and effectively without harm to the patient.  This course provides nurses with an overview of the physiology of pain and the differences between acute and chronic pain, focusing on assessment, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment modalities, and the challenge of pain management for the persons experiencing pain.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Recall the definition, the nature, the impact, and the expression of pain.
  • Differentiate between the physiology of nociceptive and neuropathic pain.
  • Select an appropriate pain assessment tool for an individual patient based on age, developmental level, and cognitive level.
  • Differentiate between acute and chronic pain.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of various pharmacological treatments, including multimodal therapy, for acute and chronic pain.
  • Discuss nonpharmacological treatment modalities for acute and chronic pain.
  • Describe the challenges of managing chronic pain.
  • Discuss the special considerations for pain management in various populations, including the elderly, pediatric, addicts, and those at risk for addiction.
  • Discuss the risks for opioid addiction and the misuse of opioids in the United States.
  • Identify barriers and disparities of the treatment of pain.

About the Author:
Ann M. Schreier, PhD, RN

Ann M. Schreier, PhD, RN, received her BSN from Boston University, an MSN from University of California, San Francisco, and a PhD from Stanford University. Currently, Dr. Schreier is a professor at East Carolina University, College of Nursing in the Nursing Science Department. She is a past president of the American Society of Pain Management Nursing.

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