Hospitalized children's descriptions of their experiences with postsurgical pain relieving methods

Int J Nurs Stud. 2003 Jan;40(1):33-44. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7489(02)00030-5.


The purpose of this study was to describe children's (aged 8-12 yr) experiences with postsurgical pain relieving methods, and their suggestions to nurses and parents concerning the implementation of pain relief measures in the hospital. The data were collected by interviewing children (N = 52) who were inpatients on a pediatric surgical ward in the university hospital of Finland. Content analysis was used to analyze the data. The children rated the intensity of pain on a visual analogue scale. The results indicated that all of the children used at least one self-initiated pain relieving method (e.g. distraction, resting/sleeping), in addition to receiving assistance in pain relief from nurses (e.g. giving pain killers, helping with daily activities) and parents (e.g. distraction, presence). The children also provided suggestions, especially as it relates to nurses (e.g. creating a more comfortable environment), regarding the implementation of effective surgical pain relief. However, some cognitive-behavioral and physical methods were identified that should be implemented more frequently in clinical practice. Furthermore, most children reported their worst pain to be severe or moderate, which indicates that pain management in hospitalized children should be more aggressive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology*
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Pediatric Nursing / methods*
  • Pediatric Nursing / standards
  • Perioperative Nursing / methods*
  • Perioperative Nursing / standards
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index