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Title: An action research inquiry exploring the transfer of pain knowledge from a continuing education course into practice
Author: Smith, Annetta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 7263
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2008
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Acute and chronic pain conditions have a significant impact on the individual who is experiencing pain and resolution of pain continues to present a challenge to nurses and other health care professionals. It is widely accepted that pain education for nurses is necessary if nurses are to deliver effective, evidenced based pain care. Although it has been shown that participation in pain education improves nurses’ pain knowledge, very little is known about the way in which nurses use their improved pain knowledge in their practice or about the conditions that promote application of that pain knowledge. The aims of this study are (a) to explore the transfer of pain knowledge from a continuing education nursing course into practice, and (b) to investigate the impact that the nurses’ participation in action research has on their ability to improve aspects of their pain practice. Participants are 14 registered nurses who successfully completed two accredited pain course units as part of their BSc / BN degree in Nursing. The nurses formed two groups of inquiry, who used both their participation in the pain course and in action research to investigate and change aspects of pain assessment and management practices within their clinical areas. The inquiry groups were located in two different Health Board locations in Scotland. Following involvement in a pain course, the strategies used by the participating nurses to enhance their pain assessment and management practices are examined. Qualitative data was obtained through individual and group interviews, and analysis of significant incidents. An action research approach contributes to an understanding of conditions that promote application of pain knowledge into practice following participation in the course, and focuses on the possibilities for action and improvement of pain care. The findings from this study demonstrate how nurses develop a more patient-centred approach to pain care and become more accountable for their pain practice. The research also identifies a range of strategies used by nurses to improve collaborative working practices with their colleagues that help to reduce some of the obstacles to delivery of effective pain care. From the outcomes of the inquiry, it is evident that these nurses’ participation in action research has increased the possibilities of their involvement in pain practice interventions. Conditions are created through pain course participation and involvement in action research, which supports nurses’ transfer of pain knowledge into practice Additionally, findings demonstrate the potential action research has for identifying problems with pain care and its potential for helping to develop relevant and workable solutions for improving aspects of care. The findings from this study are significant because they inform teaching and learning approaches which can be used with pain education that helps to prepare nurses to deliver more effective pain care within their health care settings.
Supervisor: Brown, Sally A. ; Shepherd, Ashley Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pain ; Pain education ; Action research ; Transfer of pain knowledge ; Pain Nursing ; Pain Study and teaching (Continuing education) ; Knowledge management