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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2008 Dec;36(6):616-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.12.020. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Effects of a pain education program on nurses' pain knowledge, attitudes and pain assessment practices in China.

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Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan.


The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of a Pain Education Program (PEP) for nurses in China. The effects of PEP were measured in a quasi-experimental design. A total of 196 nurses who met the inclusion criteria from five nursing units in two teaching hospitals participated in the study. Randomization took place at the hospital level to select experimental and control groups. The research intervention was the PEP, which had two components: (1) to educate nurses about pain management and (2) to implement daily pain assessment by using the Changhai Pain Scale. The duration of PEP was five weeks and intervention methods included focused education, group activity, and individual instruction. After the baseline data were collected, PEP was implemented in the experimental group. The control group (n=90) received no intervention, and the experimental group (n = 106) received six hours of focused education training. During the fourth and fifth weeks of the training program, the researcher and the faculty instructed nurses in five nursing units on how to use the Changhai Pain Scale to assess patients' pain levels and demonstrated how to document pain condition in the nursing records. Nurses in both groups filled out a set of questionnaires, which included a background information form and the Nurses' Knowledge and Attitude Survey form, before the PEP (T1), at one month after the PEP (T2), and at three months after the PEP (T3). Nurses in the experimental group who received the PEP had a significant improvement in their pain knowledge and attitudes. Their scores on the Nurses' Knowledge and Attitude Survey increased from 15.67 at T1 to 26.13 at T2 and 35.14 at T3. The scores of nurses in the control group were unchanged (from 15.20 at T1 to 14.29 at T2 and 14.93 at T3, P>0.05). In addition, experimental group nurses had an improvement in pain assessment. The percentage of nurses who correctly used the Changhai Pain Scale to assess patients' pain intensity increased significantly after the PEP, and the increased usage of the assessment tool between experimental and control groups also shows a statistical difference in trend (chi(2)=93.281, P<0.001). The PEP has been demonstrated to be effective in improving nurses' pain knowledge, attitudes, and assessment.

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