Pain Assessment and Intervention for Term Newborns

Authors

  • Patricia A. Clifford RNC, MSN,

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    • 1Patricia A. Clifford, MSN, RNC, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Neonatal Nursing at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Marilyn Stringer CRNP, RDMS, PhD,

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    • 2Marilyn Stringer, PhD, CRNP, RDMS, is an Associate Professor and director of the Women's Health Care NP Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and a Clinician Educator at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Holly Christensen RN, BSN,

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    • 3Holly Christensen, BSN, RN, is a graduate student in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Deborah Mountain RN, BSN

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    • 4Deborah Mountain, BSN, RN, is the Nurse Manager of the Mother Newborn Unit in Women's Health at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, NICU, 2nd floor, Main Building, 34th and Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: Clifford@email.chop.edu

Abstract

A baseline assessment of pain should occur as part of a newborn's health assessment within the first few hours of life. Validation and assessment of pain in the term newborn is important for providing care because newborns may experience pain from a multitude of procedures, ranging from heel sticks to circumcisions. Current assessment tools evaluate both behavioral and physiologic parameters. In addition, providing individualized care requires a knowledge base of the interventions available to reduce or eliminate pain, such as breastfeeding, non-nutritive suck, skin-to-skin contact, and sucrose pacifiers. This article describes three newborn pain assessment tools, the use of valid assessment tools, and evidence-based interventions that are recommended to effectively manage newborn pain.

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