While many studies have addressed various issues with regards to pain management, there is limited knowledge about how nurses assess pain in surgical wards. This study aimed to describe Thai nurses’ experiences of pain assessment in a surgical ward.
A cross-sectional explorative study was conducted. Participants were selected through theoretical sampling. Data was collected through interviews with twelve registered nurses working in surgical wards. Qualitative content analysis guided the analysis of the data.
Nurses use a double/triple check system, communicated to the healthcare team via records and protocols, and they used their skills and experiences in pain assessment. The results showed that nurses missed the opportunity to include the patients’ self-reported pain in their accounts. Though much evidence of pain was collected, this did not seem to benefit the patients. Furthermore, the nurses were not using instruments to measure pain, which illustrates the potential unreliability of professionals who have differing opinions concerning the patients’ pain.
Thai nurses worked based on a ‘patient-evidence’ paradigm when assessing patients in pain; this should be shifted to an evidence-based paradigm. Furthermore, by including the patients’ self-reported pain in their assessment, nurses would both improve the quality of the pain assessment and empower patients in their pain management. Pain management practices in Thailand should be improved through education, training, supportive innovation, and collegial competence development in order to improve the quality of care in the post-operative field.
2016. Vol. 15, 12