Does Clinical Experience Help Oncology Nursing Staff to Deal with Patient Pain Better than Nurses from other Displines? Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Amongst Nurses in a Tertiary Care in Malaysia

  • Yaakup, Hayati (Palliative Care Unit, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre) ;
  • Eng, Tan Chai (Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre) ;
  • Shah, Shamsul Azhar (Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre)
  • Published : 2014.06.30


Background: Successful implementation of pain management procedures and guidelines in an institution depends very much on the acceptance of many levels of healthcare providers. Aim: The main purpose of this study was to determine the level of knowledge and attitudes regarding pain among nurses working in tertiary care in a local setting and the factors that may be associated with this. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional research study used a modified version of the Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes Survey (NKAS) regarding pain. Basic demographic data were obtained for further correlation with the level of pain knowledge. Results: A total of 566 nurses, 34 male and 532 female, volunteered to participate in this study. The response rate (RR) was 76%, with an overall mean percentage score of $42.7{\pm}10.9$ (range: 5-92.5). The majority of participants were younger nurses below 40 years of age and more than 70% had worked for less than 10 years ($6.6{\pm}4.45$). Up to 92% had never had any formal education in pain management in general. The total mean score of correct answers was $58.6{\pm}9.58$, with oncology nursing staff scoring a higher percentage when compared with nurses from other general and critical care wards ($63.52{\pm}9.27$, p<0.045). Only 2.5% out of all participants obtained a score of 80% or greater. The majority of the oncology nurses achieved the expected competency level (p<0.03). Conclusions: The present findings give further support for the universal concern about poor knowledge and attitudes among nurses' related to the optimal management of pain. The results reflected that neither number of years working nor age influenced the level of knowledge or attitudes of the practising nurses. Oncology nursing staff consistently scored better than the rest of the cohort. This reflects that clinical experience helped to improve attitudes and knowledge concerning better pain management.


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