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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Sharon Hofland


pain treatment, South Dakota nurse attitudes, South Dakota physican attitudes, analgesia


The most common reason patients seek health care is for the relief of pain. One of the most important roles health care providers serve is to assist patients in achieving comfort. The literature documents pain is inadequately managed as a result of inadequate knowledge, attitudes, and potential barriers. Advanced prepared nurses (APNs) and physicians engage in professions that demand safeguarding and protecting the health of patients. APNs and physicians have an ethical duty to provide collaborative, interdisciplinary pain management to patients.
This study described the knowledge, attitudes, and perceived barriers of South Dakota APNs and physicians in regard to selected pain management principles. The sample contained 67 APNs and 95 physicians. The subjects completed a questionnaire developed and distributed by the South Dakota Cancer Pain Initiative that measured respondents knowledge, attitudes, and perceived barriers.
Areas where there was evidence of lack of knowledge included not knowing meperidine produces a metabolite that may cause central nervous system excitation, and not knowing equalanalgesia doses for morphine sulfate. The vast majority of APNs and physicians do not believe that patients where they practice receive adequate treatment for pain and that a very good job was done in relieving cancer pain in their settings. More APNs than physicians strongly agreed patients and family members have the right to expect satisfactory pain relief as a goal of treatment. Furthermore, more APNs than physicians strongly agreed a patient's report of pain is as reliable as his/her report of nausea.
APNs and physicians saw the need to improve their own skills as evidenced by their willingness to attend an educational course on pain management. Implications regarding the education of South Dakota APNs and physicians are presented. These findings emphasize the importance of APNs and physicians developing mutual understanding of knowledge, attitudes, and barriers as a prerequisite for developing an interdisciplinary plan of action that will assure goal attainment for patients experiencing pain.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pain -- Treatment
Nurses -- South Dakota -- Attitudes
Physicians -- South Dakota -- Attitudes



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1996 Rebecca Reed. All rights reserved