Send to

Choose Destination
J Pain Symptom Manage. 2008 Jan;35(1):83-94. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Oncology nurses' use of nondrug pain interventions in practice.

Author information

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.


Cancer pain management guidelines recommend nondrug interventions as adjuvants to analgesic medications. Although physicians typically are responsible for pharmacologic pain treatments, oncology staff nurses, who spend considerable time with patients, are largely responsible for identifying and implementing nondrug pain treatments. Oncology nurses' use of nondrug interventions, however, has not been well studied. The purpose of this study was to describe oncology nurses' use of four nondrug interventions (music, guided imagery, relaxation, distraction) and to identify factors that influence their use in practice. A national sample of 724 oncology staff nurses completed a mailed survey regarding use of the nondrug interventions in practice, beliefs about the interventions, and demographic characteristics. The percentages of nurses who reported administering the strategies in practice at least sometimes were 54% for music, 40% for guided imagery, 82% for relaxation, and 80% for distraction. Use of each nondrug intervention was predicted by a composite score on beliefs about effectiveness of the intervention (e.g., perceived benefit; P<0.025) and a composite score on beliefs about support for carrying out the intervention (e.g., time; P<0.025). In addition, use of guided imagery was predicted by a composite score on beliefs about characteristics of patients who may benefit from the intervention (e.g., cognitive ability; P<0.05). Some nurse demographic, professional preparation, and practice environment characteristics also predicted use of individual nondrug interventions. Efforts to improve application of nondrug interventions should focus on innovative educational strategies, problem solving to secure support, and development and testing of new delivery methods that require less time from busy staff nurses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center