Journal of Professional Nursing

Nursing staff satisfaction with the acute pain service in a surgical ward setting

Erica Gleeson, RN, MN, Clinical Nurse Specialist – Pain, MidCentral Health, Palmerston North
Jenny Carryer RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), Clinical Chair of Nursing, Massey University/MidCentral Health, Palmerston North

Reference:  Gleeson, E., & Carryer, J. (2010). Nursing staff satisfaction with the acute pain service in a surgical ward setting. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 26(1), 14-26.


Over the last 20 years significant advances in the management of pain have been made. Specifically, establishment during the 1990s of Acute Pain Services (APS) within hospitals both nationally and internationally resulted in improved awareness and management of pain. However there has been little research into staff satisfaction with the service, and no studies have been undertaken at a local hospital level. Nurses play a major role in the assessment and treatment of acute pain; therefore it is useful to determine the level of their satisfaction following introduction of APS. The purpose of the present study was to explore, by means of a survey, the level of nursing staff satisfaction with the APS in a large hospital in New Zealand (NZ). Questionnaires, predominantly quantitative in form, were distributed to 58 nursing staff who worked alongside the APS. Thirty six (62%) responded. The findings showed that while, overall, respondents were very satisfied, or satisfied with the APS, responses to open-ended section of the questionnaire brought to light areas that the researchers see as warranting further attention.

Nursing, pain, acute pain service, staff satisfaction

Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek health care treatment. However, frequently pain is under treated, with potentially adverse effects on physiological and psychological well being (Hanks- Bell, Halvey, & Paice, 2004). The outcomes of unrelieved pain or unsatisfactory pain management include decreased immune function, delayed healing, and poor prospect of rehabilitation (Curtiss, 2001). Wu and Richman (2004) and Chung and Lui (2003) identified that patients with higher levels of postoperative pain experience a decreased quality of recovery including postoperative complications such as pneumonia, immobility and an increased risk of blood clots. This can have a negative effect on quality of life, impacting upon health care utilisation and society more generally by creating a financial burden (Berry & Dahl, 2000; Chung & Lui). Therefore, improving postoperative pain control is a key priority and should be recognised by health care providers. .......... 

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