Objective To explore nurses’ knowledge and attitudes regarding paediatric pain assessment and management
Methods Simple random sampling with 292 nurses, from a children’s hospital. The paediatric nurses knowledge and attitude survey (PNKAS) was utilised to collect data. A response rate of 60% (n = 174) was achieved. SPSS was employed to analyse quantitative data and open questions were by thematic content analysis. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed.
Results Total mean score on the PNKAS scale was 62%. The majority of nurses scored less than 80%. Nurses had knowledge deficits particularly in pharmacology, especially opiates, pharmacokinetics and non-pharmacological interventions. No difference was demonstrated between nurses’ age, nursing experience, years of paediatric experience, nursing grade and pain education during orientation on mean PNKAS score. A statistically significant difference (p<0.001) was demonstrated between nurses whose main qualification was RSCN/RN (child) compared with RGN on the mean PNKAS score, also between nurses who worked in different specialities on the mean PNKAS score (p = 0.003). Nurses who had received pain education within the previous 2 years demonstrated a difference (p = 0.003) on the total PNKAS scale.
Conclusion A paediatric nursing qualification, continuing education, nurses’ area of expertise had a positive influence on knowledge. Intensive continuing education is needed regarding pain management and especially in relation to non-paediatric qualified nurses. Education is needed in pain assessment, including self-report; pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of analgesia, especially in relation to opiates to dispel fears and non-pharmacological interventions. Reflection and problem-based learning educational strategies should be considered.