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Pain in children: Qualitative research of Finnish school-aged children’s experiences of pain in hospital


Anna-Maija PietiläDepartment of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, PO Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland. Fax: +35 81716 2632 E-mail: <>


The purpose of the study was to describe school-aged children’s experiences of pain in the hospital. Data were collected from 20 children aged between seven and 11 years of age who were inpatients in the pediatric wards of the University Hospital, Oulu, Finland. Each of the children wrote of their experiences of pain in the hospital, and they were interviewed on the basis of this information. The data were analyzed inductively using content analysis. On the basis of the analysis, the situations that caused pain to all children in the hospital were found to be procedures connected with needles. The children described their experiences of pain as both physiological (e.g. poking, stinging, aching) and psychological feelings (unpleasant feelings, terror, anxiety, and fear). In addition, methods of relieving pain (coping mechanisms, help from the medical staff, parental presence, and previous experiences of similar situations) were acknowledged. The results indicate that school-aged children (aged 7–11 years) are able to describe their pain experiences, which should be considered in assessment and treatment of children’s pain in nursing practice.