Pediatric cancer pain management: a survey of nurses' knowledge

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 1994 Jan;11(1):4-12; discussion 13. doi: 10.1177/104345429401100103.


This study assesses the knowledge base of pediatric nurses in Iowa regarding cancer pain. The Iowa Cancer Pain Relief Initiative surveyed 10,000 nurses in the state of Iowa (representing approximately 25% of all actively licensed nurses in the state). A demographic question allowed pediatric nurses' responses to be separated and analyzed independently. One hundred six of the respondents indicated their primary area of practice to be pediatrics, and it is this group of respondents that was analyzed. Content analysis of questionnaires from pediatric respondents indicated that pediatric nurses cared for cancer patients regularly but had poor understanding of general principles of pain management for the cancer patient. Nurses had exaggerated concerns regarding the risk of addiction and respiratory depression associated with narcotic analgesics. They also had poor understanding of basic pharmacokinetic principles of common analgesic agents.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Clinical Competence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Pain, Intractable / nursing*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics, Opioid