Nursing pain management--a qualitative interview study of patients with pain, hospitalized for cancer treatment

Pain Manag Nurs. 2009 Mar;10(1):48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2008.09.003.


Pain is a significant symptom in cancer patients. Understanding of patients' experiences in relation to pain management is important in evidence-based nursing in the field of pain. The aim of this study was to explore cancer patients' experiences of nursing pain management during hospitalization for cancer treatment. Eighteen cancer patients participated in the study, all with advanced cancer, including skeleton metastases. The female participants all had breast cancer, and the male participants all had prostate cancer. Data were collected by in-depth interviews, and qualitative description was used to entail low-inference interpretation to reach an understanding of the essence of pain and nursing pain management. Patients found it somewhat difficult to express their expectations of nursing pain management and competencies. However, 1) being present and supportive; 2) giving information and sharing knowledge; 3) taking care of medication; and 4) recognizing the pain emerged as themes in nursing pain management. Although patients believed that nurses were caring persons, they perceived differences between nurses in the ways they handled pain management. Furthermore, some patients experienced a lack of information from nurses in relation to pain management. Although cancer patients' experiences showed the importance of nurses in pain management, it seems that nurses should have a clearer role in cancer pain management in relation to counseling and patient education. The results from this study can increase nurses' awareness of their role in pain management as a first step in improving pain management for patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Counseling
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcotics / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / rehabilitation
  • Nurse's Role
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain* / drug therapy
  • Pain* / epidemiology
  • Pain* / nursing
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Narcotics