Baccalaureate Nursing Students: Are They Prepared to Provide Culturally Competent Pain Management to Improve Patient Outcomes?

Friday, July 15, 2011: 10:50 AM

Deborah Ambrosio-Mawhirter, EdD, RN
School of Nursing, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the factors that contribute to culturally competent pain mangement.

Learning Objective 2: The Learner will be able to describe how cultural affects pain management.

Pain affects all human beings. In our diverse world, pain management is among the primary causes for clients to seek medical attention. Ineffective treatment of pain is expensive and a public concern. Nurses must develop skills to provide culturally competent pain management to improve patient outcomes. 

Based on national standards, nursing curricula have been infused with concepts of pain management and cultural care. Yet teaching strategies need to be incorporated into the curriculum to ensure cultural competence in pain management. Strategies that provided culturally competent pain management include an understanding of cultural differences within a culture, the utilization of culturally appropriate pain assessment tools, awareness of cultural variations in responses to pain, and sensitivity to variation in communication.  

            A study was undertaken to examine senior baccalaureate nursing students’ preparation in pain management and cultural pain management and their relationship to nursing students’ capacity to provide culturally competent pain management.       The investigator designed instrument contains concepts of pain management, Holistic and Transcultural nursing theory. Of 200 senior baccalaureate nursing students from an accredited nursing program in the eastern United States, 182 completed a survey of quantitative items for a return rate of 91 percent.  The instrument was tested for content validity and has an estimated reliability, Alpha = .67 - .89. 

The findings of this study will guide nurse educators in further developing nursing curricula regarding culturally competent pain management, thus preparing graduate student nurses for the workforce and achieving positive patient outcomes. This research also provides nursing students, nursing administrators, and the public with useful information regarding senior baccalaureate nursing student’s preparation in pain management and the importance of teaching cultural pain management to prepare students to provide culturally competent pain management.