Emergency nurses' knowledge of perceived barriers in pain management in Taiwan

J Clin Nurs. 2007 Nov;16(11):2088-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01646.x. Epub 2007 Mar 1.


Aims and objectives: To explore knowledge of and perceived barriers to pain management among emergency nurses in Taiwan.

Background: Pain is the most common patient complaint in emergency departments. Quality care of these patients depends on the pain knowledge and pain management skills of emergency nurses. However, no studies have explored emergency nurses' knowledge of and perceived barriers to pain management in Taiwan.

Design and methods: Nurse subjects (n = 249) were recruited from nine hospitals chosen by stratified sampling across Taiwan. Data were collected using the Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes Survey-Taiwanese version, a scale to assess perceived barriers to pain management and a background information form.

Results: The overall average correct response rate for the knowledge scale was 49.2%, with a range of 4.8-89.2% for each survey question. The top barrier to managing pain was identified by these nurses as 'the responsibility of caring for other acutely ill patients in addition to a patient with pain. Knowledge of pain management had a significant, negative relationship with perceived barriers to pain management and a significant, positive relationship with extent of clinical care experience and total hours of prior pain management education. In addition, scores for knowledge and perceived barriers differed significantly by the nursing clinical ladder. Perceived barriers also differed significantly by hospital accreditation category.

Conclusions: Our results indicate an urgent need to strengthen pain education for emergency nurses in Taiwan.

Relevance to clinical practice: The pain education should target knowledge deficits and barriers to changing pain management approaches for Taiwanese emergency nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan
  • Workforce