Date of Award

1-1-1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Nursing

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Professor Anne Mc Murray

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess nurses’ knowledge of pain assessment and management, examine what change occurred immediately following a pain assessment and management workshop and examine whether any changes were retained one month later. Chin and Benne’s theory of change provided the theoretical framework for this study. Their approach to planned change involves assessing the existing structure, formulating and implementing a plan to change that structure, then evaluating the change. The following hypothesis was formulated for investigation: That nurses’ knowledge of pain assessment and management would increase after a workshop on the subject and be retained over one month. Based on the assumption that nurses’ demographic characteristics can influence their styles of learning and ability to disseminate knowledge, this study also examined whether changes in nurses’ knowledge were related to their demographic characteristics. To analyse this, the following were examined in relation to nurses’ knowledge of pain assessment and management: age, years of nursing, area of employment, level of practice, level of education and previous education in pain management. The design for this study was a one-group pretest-posttest-follow-up design. The subjects were 67 Registered and State Enrolled Nurses from country hospitals in Western Australia, involved in direct patient care, who voluntarily attended a pain assessment and management workshop. A questionnaire was adapted by the researcher and an expert nurse to measure nurses' knowledge. The results of the study support the main hypothesis that the workshop significantly increased nurses' pain assessment and management knowledge (ᵽ < .001), and that this knowledge was retained one month later. The remaining hypotheses related to demographic characteristics were not supported by this study (p > .05) with the following exceptions: Level Two Clinical Nurses (CNs) had more knowledge on the pretest, gained and retained more knowledge on the posttest and follow-up test than State Enrolled Nurses (ENs). Level One Registered Nurses (RNs) retained more knowledge on the follow-up test than ENs. In this study, each item on the questionnaire was analysed for each test. The value of this analysis was that it served to highlight where there was acceptance of or resistance to change in nurses' knowledge of pain assessment and management. Although generalisation of these results is inappropriate due to the convenience sample used, they support the opinion that a one day educational workshop can improve nurses' knowledge of pain assessment and management, and embrace the need for continued education related to this subject. An implication for nursing practice is that when nurses are prepared to learn new knowledge and change outdated concepts with the aim of improving patient care, this knowledge can be gained in relatively short courses of study.

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