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Pain Manag Nurs. 2014 Mar;15(1):265-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2012.10.002. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

The Ghanaian surgical nurse and postoperative pain management: a clinical ethnographic insight.

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School of Nursing, University of Ghana, Ghana. Electronic address:
School of Nursing, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.


Nurses form an indispensable part of the clinical team that manages postoperative pain (POP). Within a particular clinical context, nurses perceive and respond to pain based on specific factors. This study aimed at illuminating the perceptions and responses of Ghanaian surgical nurses regarding their patients' POP. It also identified the factors that influenced nurses' pain responses. A focused ethnography was used, and data were collected through individual interviews. Sampling was performed purposively to include junior, senior, day, and night nurses who cared for surgical patients. Concurrent data analysis was performed and data were saturated with 12 individual interviews. The findings indicated that nurses perceived POP as an individual phenomenon, and nurses responded to patients' pain by administering analgesics and by using nonpharmacologic measures. Factors that influenced the nurses' response were individual factors, such as commitment, discretion, fear of addiction, and organizational factors, such as organizational laxity and challenges of teamwork. The study recommended that nurses should be educated, supported, and encouraged to ensure pain relief after surgery and that they should see pain relief as a priority postoperative care to avert the negative repercussions of poorly managed POP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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