Culture's effects on pain assessment and management

Am J Nurs. 2010 Apr;110(4):38-47; quiz 48-9. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000370157.33223.6d.


Minority patients are at high risk for poor pain outcomes. When patients belong to a culture or speak a language that's different from that of their health care provider, the provider faces additional challenges in successfully assessing and managing the patients' pain. This article describes how and why culture affects both patients and nurses. It also discusses why members of cultural minority groups frequently receive suboptimal pain management and how nurses can improve patients' pain outcomes by using culturally sensitive assessments and providing culturally comfortable care.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Assessment / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / nursing
  • Pain Measurement / psychology
  • Pain* / diagnosis
  • Pain* / ethnology
  • Pain* / prevention & control
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self-Assessment
  • Transcultural Nursing
  • United States