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Br J Nurs. 2009 Feb 12-25;18(3):153-6.

Pain assessment and management in surgical nursing: a literature review.

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South Tipperary General Hospital, Clommel, Co Tipperary, Ireland.


Although postoperative pain assessment and management is an integral part of surgical nursing practice, it remains ad hoc despite numerous costly empirical research studies. Patients have a right to pain relief; however, the barriers to assessing and managing patient pain in practice have not as yet been overcome. A literature review to establish the main barriers to effective postoperative pain relief in clinical practice was carried out. The findings suggest that time management, and attitudes and beliefs of both patients and nurses are significant factors hampering practice. The authors conclude that future research in this area is futile, and suggest that nurses should focus on auditing their own practice to improve the effectiveness of pain management in practice and enhance standards of care.

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