Patients’ evaluation of pain and nurses’ management of analgesics after surgery. The effect of a study day on the subject of pain for nurses working at the thorax surgery department
The aims of this investigation were: to describe patients’ evaluation of pain and the treatment of pain after thorax surgery via sternotomy; to repeat the evaluation with another group of patients following a study day for nurses, featuring pain and pain treatment; and to examine whether the study day influenced the nurses in their treatment of pain. The investigation included daily evaluation of pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS), and an interview with the patients before discharge, where they were asked to review their experience of pain and its treatment. The nurses on the thorax surgery ward and on the intensive care unit (ICU) completed a questionnaire before and after the study day. Finally, a retrospective study of the case notes of the patients taking part was carried out. The results of the investigation showed a low assessment of pain by most patients during the daily evaluation. Asked to recall their pain when interviewed, the rating was higher. A small group of patients had more evident pain than others. When administering opiates the ICU nurses often chose a lower dose than the standing order prescribed. After the study day the nurses gave larger doses of intravenous opioids and the patients experienced less pain.