Nurse training benefits ED patients’ pain relief

Ongoing education is important for ensuring emergency department nurses initiate speedy patient pain relief, according to a new Australian study.

A Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Emergency Department and University of Queensland research team conducted a study to better understand the practice of nurse-initiated medication in the emergency department.

PAH Emergency Department Director of Research, Dr Michael Sinnott said, nurse-initiated medication is an important and established practice in the emergency department.

“Giving nurses the autonomy to provide pain-relief and selected medications in the absence of a clinician enhances patient care and clinical outcomes. Reducing the time to pain relief is particularly important in the emergency department,” he said.

The Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) awarded Dr Sinnott a Staff Specialist grant to conduct the study. The grant was fully funded by Queensland Health.

Members of the research team – in particular PAH Emergency Department Nurse Researchers, James Hughes and C.J. Cabilan – interviewed 24 emergency department nurses to identify the factors that hinder medication knowledge; identify practice gaps; isolate flaws in the education method currently utilised and establish strategies that maintain medication safety and sustain the nurse-initiating practice.

The team found the nurses’ willingness to initiate medications was motivated by multiple factors such as patients’ needs, safety and nurses’ confidence.

Dr Sinnott said: “It appears that the nurse-initiating practice is mainly influenced by nurses’ attitudes towards patient-centred care and safety. We also identified that continued education and support were important for nurses initiating pain relief.

“Nurses confidence in initiating medication improves with exposure and experience.”


More about this research

Article published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing



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