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Background: Pain is the most disturbing and annoying symptom experienced by medical patients, yet it is poorly managed. Despite having many researches and scientific advancement in pain management over the years, inadequate knowledge remains a major barrier to achieving effective pain management. Knowledge and attitudes of nurses towards pain management have an influence on how pain is managed.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the knowledge and attitudes of registered nurses towards pain management of adult medical patients at a provincial hospital in Zimbabwe.
Method and Material: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. A systematic random sampling method was used to select the registered nurses. Data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire developed from literature. Data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SSPS) software version 16, 2012.
Results: These results showed that registered nurses had inadequate knowledge with a mean knowledge score of 64.5% and attitude regarding pain management of adult medical patients was average with a total mean attitude score of 56%. Knowledge of pain management was associated with years of experience in the nursing profession (p=.003; p ≤ .005) and the age of the respondents (p=.001; p ≤ .005) with those of older (40 years and above) scoring high on the knowledge scores scale. The main areas of concern were the lack of knowledge on pain assessment as 84% of the respondents failed to give correct tools used for pain assessment, 76% gave incorrect ideal time for pain assessment and 76% failed to identify types of pain measuring scales as well as non-pharmacologic pain relieving therapies as only 58% correctly identified the advantages of non-pharmacological pain management measures. Disbelieve of patient’s pain was noted amongst most of the registered nurses with 70% reporting the need to verify the genuineness of the pain and 90% reporting that medical patients complain of pain seeking staff attention. This could contribute to poor pain management.
Conclusion: Registered nurses at Bindura Hospital had low knowledge levels and poor attitude regarding pain management of adult medical patients. Curricular changes aiming to promote pain management in medical patients and correcting the ingrained misconceptions are needed.
Pain, Pain management, Attitudes, Knowledge, Medical patient, Nurse