Achieving consensus about pain content for child branch curricula


  • Alison Twycross RGN RMN RSCN MSc

    1. Lecturer in Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, School of Nursing, Postgraduate Division, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
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Achieving consensus about pain content for child branch curricula

Aim. The aim of the study was to identify nurse educators’ and nurse managers’ perceptions of the educational needs of children’s nurses in relation to pain management.

Rationale. Children continue to suffer unnecessary pain during hospitalization. This has been attributed, in part, to inadequate education among paediatric nurses with a number of studies demonstrating that nursing curricula need re-evaluating with respect to the content relating to pain management. In order to equip nurses to manage pain within clinical practice nurse education needs to provide them with the knowledge and skills required. It is apparent that nurse education is currently failing students in this regard. In order to evaluate nursing curricula with respect to pain management it is necessary for there to be a degree of consensus, among paediatric nurses, regarding appropriate content.

Methodology. A two-round Delphi study was used to ascertain the appropriate pain content for pre-registration child branch courses. When undertaking a Delphi study a number of ‘experts’ in the field are identified, who complete a series of questionnaires. The first round is used to generate ideas, which are reconsidered in subsequent rounds (Hicks 1999, Reid 1988). Following analysis of the responses to each questionnaire anonymous feedback is sent to the respondents together with the next questionnaire (Walker 1994). Participants were either senior nurse educators or senior nurse managers.

Results. Positive correlations were found within the two groups as well as between the educators’ and managers’ rankings for the 14 categories identified.

Conclusions. The results of this study suggest that nurse educators and nurse managers have similar views about the pain management knowledge they would expect a newly qualified child branch nurse to have. The list of appropriate pain content derived from the results of this study provides a useful tool with which to evaluate the content of child branch curricula.