Milagros (Mila) Tabije-Ebuen, DNP, MSN-NE, RN, CEN, CPEN, PCCN, CCRN is a faculty at California State University Channel Islands. Dr. Ebuen worked in the acute care setting as a clinician (pediatrics, neonatal intensive care unit, and emergency department/critical care), educator, and leadership role for the past 27 years combined. She is a member of various professional organizations such as the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) as well as the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI). Dr. Ebuen completed her Doctor in Nursing Practice at Grand Canyon University where she studied and evaluated the knowledge and attitudes regarding pain by healthcare providers working in the emergency department and critical care. This study was very close and dear to her heart. Her vision is to ensure that healthcare providers are provided the knowledge and skills in enhancing patient outcomes. With her belief that nurses and student nurses play a critical role in enhancing patient outcomes, Dr. Ebuen continues to perform more research surrounding the knowledge and attitudes regarding pain in the academic setting.
Approximately 70 percent of patients present to the emergency department with pain as their main presenting symptom or complaint. Unfortunately, studies show that about 60-80% of patients that are in pain are undertreated for multiple reasons. Pain is a very costly health issue to treat and manage. Indeed, in the United States, the annual cost to manage and treat pain is estimated to be $100 billion including the rising cost of health care, overuse of resources, lost income, and lost productivity. The purpose of this quantitative descriptive design project was to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes regarding pain by healthcare providers working in the emergency department and critical care services as a primary step to propose and develop educational and strategic management projects to achieve optimal results. A modified version of the Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain survey was used with permission. The study was conducted in an acute care setting, a licensed 82-bed hospital in Southern California accredited by The Joint Commission. There were 70 returned surveys and response rate of 76%. Descriptive statistics and One-Way ANOVA were used to analyze and interpret the data. The findings indicated that there were no significant differences in the current level of knowledge and attitudes regarding pain between the ED and critical care healthcare providers. Additionally, there were no significant differences regarding the total score of healthcare providers based on possession of board certification, number of years of experience, level of education, and specialty area. However, there was inadequate knowledge surrounding pain medications since most of the pharmacological questions were answered incorrectly. These findings provided a guidance and insight to plan for educational and strategic management projects to address the needs of the patients experiencing pain. Managing pain in adults is a serious concern that requires further evaluation to better understand the scope of this practice and its impact on health and wellbeing. It is critical to identify the tools and resources that the healthcare providers must have to perform their job effectively that will positively influence outcomes that will alleviate pain through specific recommended therapies. Pain management must be taken seriously since pain can result in debilitating effects both physically and mentally. Therefore, a well-coordinated effort and collaboration between nurses, physicians, palliative care services/ pain management department, and clinical education as well as the pharmacy department must be implemented to enhance patient outcomes.