Survey of post-operative patients' pain management

J Nurs Manag. 1997 Nov;5(6):341-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2834.1997.00031.x.


Although effective pain treatment is available for both cancer-related pain and acute post-operative pain, many patients suffer unnecessarily. The aim of this study was to evaluate post-operative patients' pain management. A descriptive survey study was conducted in a 460-bed acute hospital in the southwestern part of Sweden. One hundred post-operative inpatients, on their second post-operative day, took part in the study. They were consecutively selected from six surgical wards. Data were collected using an interview questionnaire designed by the American Pain Society and analysed by descriptive and inferential statistics. At the time of the interview, 29 of the patients reported moderate to severe pain. Regarding the patients' worst pain experienced during the last 24 h, 79 of them reported moderate to very severe pain. Significant correlations were found between reported poor pain relief after pain medication and high intensity of pain both within the last 24 h and at the time of the interview. Eighty-three patients were satisfied with the way nurses treated their pain, while 64 patients were satisfied with the way physicians treated their pain. However, the higher the pain intensity experienced by the patients the less satisfied they were. The fact that patients do not know what kinds of relief are available may be one reason for the patients expressing satisfaction despite being in pain, another that the patients judge the kindness of the staff rather than their way of treating the pain. The field of pain management is rapidly changing requiring professional knowledge and experience in order to ensure pain management of good quality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden


  • Analgesics