This study sought to provide insights into the personal experiences of individuals with sickle cell disorder and nurses involved in the management of painful sickle cell crisis. The sample consisted of 10 patients who experienced hospitalization for the management of pain during sickle cell crisis and 10 nurses who have cared for patients during such crises. The method of data collection used a combination of group and individual interviews, utilizing a ‘guided conversation approach’. Data analysis consisted of content analysis of transcribed interviews which resulted in the identification of the following categories of problems: poor pain management, anxieties about pethidine, loss of control, lack of individuality and playing up. The results revealed that pain control during sickle cell crisis is often inadequate, with nurses admitting that they often have to resort to ‘trial and error’ strategy to manage pain. The findings are discussed in terms of attitulnal and knowledge factors and an individualized approach to pain management.