Assessment of Patients' Post-Operative Pain by Nurses in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital

Ayoola, A. B. ; Olorunshola, D. A. ; Oyeleye, B. A. ; Oladimeji, B. Y. (2002)


Nurses' assessment of pain is essential in post-operative recovery of surgical patients because when a patient's pain is accurately assessed it can be treated more effectively. The purpose of this study is to verify if nurses assess patients' post-operative pain and examine the methods of pain assessment used by nurses for post-operative patients. Forty-eight nurses, systematically selected from the list of nurses on the duty roster were observed using an observational checklist. This was done during the first forty-eight hours after surgery. Data collected were analysed using frequency counts, percentages and chi-squared. The findings showed that 70.8% of the nurses did not assess their patients' pain postoperatively. The methods used in postoperative pain assessment by the nurses were asking the patient to describe the quality and location of pain and the use of physiologic indicators like blood pressure and pulse rate. Based on the chi-squared results, the nurses' sex and professional status had no influence on their conduct of pain assessment. This study therefore, concluded that there is need for continuing education programmes on pain and its assessment of nurses in the clinical setting.