Impact of research on pediatric pain assessment and outcomes

Pediatr Nurs. 1998 Jan-Feb;24(1):31-5, 62.


Purpose: Pediatric nurses from varied practice and educational backgrounds learned about research by doing a ward-based study. The aim of the study was to determine if regular assessment of children's pain would improve their pain management and postoperative progress.

Method: Children, ages 5 to 17 years (n = 36), measured their pain every 4 hours postoperatively using the Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale. Outcomes regarding amount of analgesic given, subjective pain reports, time and progress of ambulation, and length of hospital stay were compared with data from a retrospective chart-review of a control group (n = 50).

Findings: No statistically significant differences in these variables were found. An important clinical finding was that despite all children having prescribed PRN analgesic orders, one quarter of the children received no pain relief intervention. Also, one quarter of the children stated that their pain control was only partially effective.

Conclusions: Study results reinforce findings reported in the literature regarding ineffective pain management in children, and highlight a need for improved nursing practice. Clinical significance was achieved in terms of staff learning of the research process, increased awareness of pediatric pain management practices, improved ward morale, and inter-agency sharing of resources.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Nursing Assessment / methods*
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain, Postoperative / nursing*
  • Pediatric Nursing*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome