What is the current knowledge and attitudes of Western Australian final semester registered nursing students undertaking a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) towards patients’ pain management?

Jodie Denise Watkins, Sandra Carr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


International studies have demonstrated
that the knowledge and attitudes of nurses involved in the
assessment and management of patients experiencing pain
consistently reveals a deficit [1]. For patients to receive the
highest standard of care it is essential that all undergraduate
health professionals receive a high level of education in this
complex area. In Australia research on pain management
practices of student nurses is relatively limited so it is
unknown if the same situation exists here. In order to
investigate whether they have the necessary competencies and
knowledge to provide quality care, a mixed-method nonexperimental
research design study was undertaken to
evaluate the level of final semester registered nursing
students’ knowledge and attitudes towards pain management.
The Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain
(KASRP) was administered to 55 final semester registered
nursing students from two Western Australian Universities,
with respondents scoring an average of 64% from the 36-item
survey. Statistical analysis of the data identified deficits in
participant nurses’ knowledge and attitudes, particularly in
pharmacology and opioid administration.
Six respondents were interviewed following administration of
the survey. It was revealed that they believed their current
levels of knowledge surrounding pain management and
assessment was basic at best. Furthermore, they believed the
curriculum content learnt at university was insufficient to their
learning needs and that it was not until they commenced
clinical practicum in the healthcare setting that they acquired
authentic knowledge in managing pain. There is growing
awareness that current clinical education models may not
provide the most effective learning experiences for nursing
students [2]. Despite the number of mandatory practicum
hours, it is a common complaint that there is a significant gap
between current nursing practice and the education to be
work-ready[3]. It has also been noted that inappropriate
attitudes towards pain management are at times demonstrated
by both nurses and nursing students[4].
Results from this research are consistent with other studies
and support a widespread concern regarding inadequacy in the
knowledge and attitudes of student nurse’s regarding pain and
its’ management. It is anticipated that educational initiatives to
improve students’ knowledge and attitudes in this area could
assist to enhance nurses’ awareness and possibly lead to
improved practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Worldwide Nursing Conference
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherGlobal Science and Technology Forum
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event6th Annual Worldwide Nursing Conference - Hotel Fort canning, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 23 Jul 201823 Jul 2018


Conference6th Annual Worldwide Nursing Conference
Abbreviated titleWNC 2018
Internet address


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