Student nurses' misconceptions of adults with chronic nonmalignant pain.

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Journal Article
Pain Manag Nurs, 2010, 11 (1), pp. 2 - 14
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We present findings of a cross-sectional study that investigated the misconceptions student nurses hold, across 3 years of undergraduate education, of adults experiencing chronic nonmalignant pain. Earlier research has identified chronic pain as a leading cause of disability. The knowledge and attitudes of nurses have been found to affect patient experience and treatment. The study reported in this article addressed a gap in the existing research by exploring the misconceptions (inaccurate knowledge and inadequate attitudes) student nurses have of adults experiencing chronic nonmalignant pain. Previously identified misconceptions about patients with this type of pain were used as the basis for this study. Data were collected from a cross-sectional sample of student nurses (n = 430) using a specially designed survey. The study took place between 2001 and 2003 with students due to graduate between 2002 and 2005. The student nurses who participated in this study demonstrated that they held misconceptions about adults with chronic nonmalignant pain to a considerable degree. Students enrolled in semester six held the misconceptions to a slightly lesser degree than those enrolled in semesters one and four. The process of undergraduate education needs to equip nursing students with accurate knowledge about chronic nonmalignant pain and encourage them to develop the appropriate attitudes for working with patients experiencing it. Specific strategies must address gaps in knowledge and attitudes, with the aim of improving patient care.
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