Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing


Imagine being in severe pain. Imagine having significant pain for an extended period of time. Imagine being dependent on others for the relief of this pain. And imagine the anxiety associated with the uncertainty of not knowing pain relief will come when it is needed. The preceding are common occurrences among those persons facing illness, injury or surgery. The anxiety surrounding the fear that this pain will not be relieved can augment the pain itself. Post-operative pain can lead to complications such as pneumonia, atelectasis, and immobility. For example, research has indicated that measures which decrease pain may increase lung capacity and improve ability to cough and take deep breaths. The act of deep breathing may help prevent pneumonia by helping to expand airways which may have collapsed. In addition, it has been reported and observed that patients who have minimal pain ambulate more frequently. This ambulation minimizes the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis. Finally, the above supports the contention that recovery is enhanced when pain is relieved and controlled. Traditionally, pain management treatment consists of the physician ordering the various medications at various dosages for pain relief using a PRN (as needed) basis. Nurses must then assess the patient's pain, determine which medication should begiven and at what dosage. This process can take up to one half hour. The time element alone can increase patient's anxiety and thus, the perceived level of pain. In an attempt to enhance the patients' recoveries, satisfaction and involvement in their pain management regimen, a device known as a PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) or Morphine Pump has been developed. This device allows a patient to self-administer his or her own medication by pressing a button when she/he perceives pain. As a result, a medication to relieve pain is delivered intravenously (IV) in small, intermittent doses. This helps provide comfort during the period when pain control is needed and permits the patient to be in complete control of his/her pain relief by self-delivery of analgesia. The effectiveness of this device has been studied since 1983 in the 7 medical literature, but similar studies were not found documented in nursing literature. The effectiveness of the PCA for a patient may be influenced by his or her degree of action to eliminate the problem. It would appear that an appropriate area for study would be to determine the extent to which various levels of exercise of self-care in a person would affect the effectiveness of PCA as a method of pain control.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pain -- Control



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State