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Nurse Educ Pract. 2014 Mar;14(2):195-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Determinants of nurses' knowledge gap on pain management in Ghana.

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School of Nursing, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG43, Legon, Ghana. Electronic address:
School of Nursing, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa.


There are concerns about adequacy of nurses' knowledge and skill in effective pain management since effective pain management promotes early recovery after surgery. This study explores factors that accounted for Ghanaian nurses' inadequate knowledge of postoperative pain management using a focused ethnographic design for data collection at a tertiary teaching hospital in Ghana. Fourteen nurses designated as key informants with different backgrounds as nurse educators and leaders were purposively sampled to participate. Data were collected through in-depth individual interviews; all interviews were conducted in English, audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The study revealed that nurses' inadequate pain management knowledge might have resulted from curriculum gaps during training; inadequate clinical supervision, study days, and workshops for practising nurses; lack of funding for organising regular workshops; and, negative attitudes of nurses whereby new information learned at workshops was not readily applied in clinical practice. It was concluded that nursing curricula at all levels of training in Ghana should incorporate credit-bearing courses on pain management, and appropriate pain management education programmes should be instituted for practising nurses. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the impact of such education programs is required.


Curriculum review; Ethnography; Pain management; Qualitative research

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