Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Marjorie Geisz-Everson

Advisor Department



The undertreatment of pain following surgery is an international problem that the majority of postoperative patients experience. Despite immense technological advances in pain management, the literature remains replete with examples of patients who experience postoperative oligoanalgesia. Because registered nurses play a vital role in the management of patient pain, their practices must be studied. This study examines the correlation between patient race/ethnicity and the titration of opioids in the postoperative setting. The study also explores the knowledge and attitudes that registered nurses possess regarding opioid administration. A convenience sample of 21 perioperative registered nurses was obtained from a hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Participants completed a modified version of the Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain. The results identified barriers to quality pain management, especially knowledge deficits regarding the pharmacological control of pain. It was discovered that neither patient behavior nor patient race/ethnicity affected the nurse assessment or the titration of opioids. All patients experienced the underadministration of opioids regardless of their behavior or race/ethnicity. Furthermore, none of the participants received a passing score on the survey, which implies widespread misconceptions regarding pain management among the participants. The results of this study support the universal phenomenon of inadequate knowledge regarding postoperative pain management. Educational services regarding opioid administration potentially could improve nurses’ theoretical knowledge base and subsequently their practices in the clinical setting.


Honors College Award: Top Thesis