Quality Improvement Initiative on Pain Knowledge, Assessment, and Documentation Skills of Pediatric Nurses
Heather Margonari, Margaret S. Hannan, and Elizabeth A. Schlenk
Pain treatment begins with a nurse’s assessment, which relies on effective assessment skills. Hospital settings have implemented pain assessment education, but
there is limited evidence in pediatric transitional care settings. The purpose of this quality improvement (QI) initiative was to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based pain education session with 20 nurses in a pediatric specialty hospital that provides transitional care. Specific aims were to assess nurses’ knowledge and attitudes of pain, and evaluate assessment skills based on nurses’ documentation. A prospective pre-post design with three assessments (baseline, post-intervention, and one-month follow-up) was used. The Shriner’s Pediatric Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Pain questionnaire and an electronic health record review were completed at each assessment. There was significant improvement in nurses’ knowledge and attitudes of pain after the education session (F[2,6] = 50.281, p < 0.0001) from baseline to post-intervention (p < 0.0001), which was maintained at follow-up (p = 0.009). Pain assessment frequency by nurses significantly increased from 43.1% at baseline to 64.8% at post-intervention, and 67.7% at follow-up (χ² = 20.55, p < 0.0001). Developmentally appropriate pain scale usage increased significantly, from 13.1% at baseline to 77.4% at post-intervention, and 81.8% at follow-up (χ² = 169.19, p < 0.0001). Nursing interventions for pain increased significantly, from 33.3% at baseline to 84.0% at post-intervention, and stabilized at 80.0% at follow-up (χ² = 8.91, p = 0.012). Frequency of pain reassessments did not show a statistically significant change, decreasing from 77.8% at baseline to 44.0% at post-intervention and 40.0% at follow-up (χ²= 3.538, p = 0.171). Nurses’ pain knowledge and documentation of assessment skills were improved in this QI initiative.