Title

Knowledge of Pain Management In Older Adults as a Content Area for Continuing Professional Education for Licensed Nurses

Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

W. Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The research of the last 30 years has revealed the inadequacy of pain management in the older adult. Although evidenced based clinical practice guidelines exist to direct the management of pain in the older adult, health care providers are either unaware or lack the proper understanding of the guidelines. This study investigated the differences in knowledge of pain management in older adults when examining licensed acute care nurses and extended care nurses. It sampled 118 acute care nurses working in two hospitals in Mississippi and 78 extended care nurses working in six extended care facilities (ECF) in Mississippi. Based upon the findings of this study, there was a significant difference in three of the four hypotheses. There was a significant difference in the knowledge of pain assessment scores with acute care nurses scoring higher than extended care nurses. There was a significant difference in the knowledge of pharmacological pain management scores with acute care nurses scoring higher than extended care nurses. There was no significant difference in the knowledge of non-pharmacological pain management scores between acute care nurses and extended care nurses. There was a significant difference in the knowledge of pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management in the older adult scores with acute care nurses scoring higher than extended care nurses. Interviews with educators in acute care facilities and extended care facilities revealed that there were more resources such as staff educator personnel devoted to continuing professional education in the area of pain management in acute care facilities than there were in extended care facilities. Comprehensive ongoing continuing professional education programs that contribute to transfer of learning and application of pain management principles may be the key to improving pain management in the older adult.