Do surgical patients' characteristics and behaviours affect nurses' pain management decisions? A qualitative inquiry

Noordeen Shoqirat, Deema Mahasneh, Charleen Singh, Lourance Al Hadid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite a growing body of literature investigating the impact of patients' age and sex differences on pain, there is little research on how patients' characteristics and behaviours affect nurses' pain management decisions. Aim: This study examined surgical nurses' views and experiences toward pain management in relation to the patients' characteristics and behaviours in a Jordanian university hospital. Methods: Focus group discussions (n = 4) were used with a convenience sample of 27 female Registered Nurses. Results: The study revealed differences in postoperative pain management related to patients' characteristics. Male patients were seen as more tolerant of postoperative pain than female patients and thus required less nursing attention. As a consequence, nurses might assess female surgical patients inaccurately or judgementally. Nurses label female patients as “demanding” or “over-sensitive” without intending to be judgemental. Nurses also reported that patients accompanied by relatives received quicker nursing responses and closer monitoring than unaccompanied patients. Conclusions: If patients' pain following surgery is to be treated effectively, health care policymakers and educators should work together to eliminate and prevent potential biases that might lead to disparities in pain management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12779
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Practice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • nurses
  • pain management
  • patients
  • qualitative
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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