Send to

Choose Destination
Scand J Pain. 2015 Jul 1;8(1):17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2015.02.003.

Prehospital personnel's attitudes to pain management.

Author information

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Section of Emergency Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.
Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden.
Academic EMS in Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Objectives Pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to seek acute medical care. The management of pain is often inadequate both in the prehospital setting and in the emergency department. Our aim was to evaluate the attitudes towards pain management among prehospital personnel in two Scandinavian metropolitan areas. Methods A questionnaire with 36 items was distributed to prehospital personnel working in Helsinki, Finland (n=70) and to prehospital personnel working in Stockholm, Sweden (n=634). Each item was weighted on a five-level Likert scale. Factor loading of the questionnaire was made using maximum likelihood analysis and varimax rotation. Six scales were constructed (Hesitation, Encouragement, Side effects, Evaluation, Perceptions, Pain metre). A Student's t-test, ANOVA, and Pearson Correlation were used for analysis of significance.


The response rate among the Finnish prehospital personnel was 66/70 (94.2%) while among the Swedish personnel it was 127/634 (20.0%). The prehospital personnel from Sweden showed significantly more Hesitation to administer pain relief compared to the Finnish personnel (mean 2.01 SD 0.539 vs. 1.67 SD 0.530, p < 0.001). Those who had received pain education at their workplace showed significantly less Hesitation than those who had not participated in education. There was a significant negative correlation (p < 0.01) between Hesitation and Side effects. There was also astatistically significant(p < 0.01) correlation between Perceptions and Hesitation, indicating that a stoic attitude towards pain was associated with indifference to possible Side effects of pain medication (p < 0.05). Conclusions The results show that there was a significant correlation between the extent of education and the prehospital personnel's attitudes to pain management. Gender and age among the prehospital personnel also affected the attitudes to pain management. The main discrepancy between the Swedish and Finnish personnel was that the participants from Stockholm showed statistically significantly more hesitation about administering pain medication compared to the participants from Helsinki. Implications The results of the study highlight the need for continuous medical education (CME) for prehospital personnel. CME and discussions among prehospital personnel may help to make a change in the personnel's attitudes towards pain and pain management in the prehospital context.


Analgesia; Attitudes; Emergency medical services; Pain management; Prehospital

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for iFactory
Loading ...
Support Center