Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing (Research)


School Of Nursing, Midwifery And Postgraduate Medicine


Computing, Health And Science

First Advisor

Associate Professor Sue Nikoletti


Early identification and management of pain was identified at the commencement of this study as a key area requiring research in emergency departments. Prolonged waiting times for analgesia especially, was highlighted in the National Institute of Clinical Studies emergency department collaborative in 2003. Many barriers exist for a patient to receive analgesia. In Western Australia this is compounded by the legislation which restricts prescribing rights for nurses. Three considerations guided the development of the research project. Firstly, the patient has initial contact with the emergency department from the nurse at triage. Secondly, paracetamol was recognised as a potentially effective analgesic that a nurse could administer in the study hospital without having to first seek a medical prescription. Finally, the group of patients who waited the longest for any pain relief were those with low acuity presentations placed in the waiting room until medical review. Within this group, patients with musculoskeletal injury to limbs were identified as the most likely to gain benefit from determining the effectiveness of paracetamol as a means of pain relief for their injury. No literature was identified at the commencement of the study which examined the effectiveness of paracetamol administered at triage by nurses for patients with recent musculoskeletal injury.