Hospital patients’ satisfaction with pain management is linked to nursing staffing, according to an article authored by nurse researchers from the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College and published in the journal Pain Management Nursing.

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“Findings from this study support nurses as key contributors to patient satisfaction with pain control,” said Connell School of Nursing (CSON) Associate Professor Judith Shindul-Rothschild, the lead author of the article, “Beyond the Pain Scale: Provider Communication and Staffing Predictive of Patients’ Satisfaction with Pain Control.”

Her co-authors are CSON Associate Professors Jane Flanagan and Catherine Read, and Kelly Stamp, formerly of Boston College and now with the University of North Carolina.

“The findings highlight the need for adequate numbers of nursing staff to achieve optimal patient satisfaction with pain management. In addition, having a prescriber (physician or nurse practitioner) available 24/7 to offer continuity of care is essential.”

The research team looked at how hospital characteristics, staffing, and nursing care factors were associated with patient satisfaction with pain control. The hospitals studied where in California, Massachusetts and New York and the data was from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers Systems survey.

 

“Given the opioid crisis, pain management is front and center in healthcare today,” added Shindul-Rothschild. “We need to think very critically of how we are managing pain, how we are communicating with patients, and how members of treatment teams are communicating with each other.”

Patients’ perception of pain control significantly improved with higher numbers of registered nurses, nursing staff ), and hospitalists and worsened with higher numbers of residents or interns. Six predictors explained 79% of the variance in patients’ self-reports of pain control.

Four factors increased the likelihood that patients reported their pain was poorly controlled:

(1) patients did not receive help as soon as they wanted (p < .001),

(2) poor nurse communication (p < .001),

(3) poor medication education (p < .001), and

(4) teaching hospitals (p < .001).

Two factors decreased the likelihood that patients reported their pain was poorly controlled:

(1) higher numbers of nursing staff (p = .001) and

(2) nonprofit hospitals (p = .001).

Nurse staffing and nurse-patient communication are highly predictive of patients’ perception of pain management. “In addition to appropriate nurse staffing, our study highlights that an essential component to improving patients’ satisfaction with pain management is to promote more effective collaboration among medical trainees, hospitalists, and nurses,” said Shindul-Rothschild.

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Citations:

  1. Judith Shindul-Rothschild, Jane Flanagan, Kelly D. Stamp, Catherine Y. Read. Beyond the Pain Scale: Provider Communication and Staffing Predictive of Patients’ Satisfaction with Pain ControlPain Management Nursing, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.pmn.2017.05.003
  2. Boston College. “Patient satisfaction with pain management linked to nurse staffing: Study led by Boston College Connell School of Nursing researcher.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170906170131.htm>.