Pediatric Research and Child Health

Pain Management and Assessment in Polish Neonatal Units in the Opinion of Nurses and Midwives

Author(s): Magdalena Panek, Przemko Kwinta

Objective: The aim of the study was to describe nurses’ and midwives’ basic knowledge about pain and practice regarding procedural pain assessment and management in Polish neonatal care units.
Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional survey.
Setting: This was a national study. 76 neonatal units from 52 cities in Poland took part.
Participants: 355 participants from level III NICU, 204 from level II NICU and 58 respondents from level I NICU.
Methods: A researcher-developed questionnaire sent to randomly selected hospitals throughout Poland.
Results: Data was available from 617 nurses and midwifes. The median of correct answers given by nurses and midwives was 4. Among nurses, none of the factors affected the level of knowledge. Pain treatment before selected procedures seems to be insufficient. Before chest tube insertion, 23.4% of nurses reported lack of use of pain medicines. The study also revealed the frequent use of paracetamol before painful procedures. About 40% of participants were asked to use paracetamol before chest tube insertion.
More than half of respondents (60% of nurses from I level NICU, 87% from II level NICU and 71% from III level NICU) did not use pain scales. Almost 24% of respondents indicated that pain treatment was prescribed according to the guidelines
Conclusion: There is a deficiency in the knowledge and practice of neonatal pain management. There is a need for the education of health professionals on neonatal pain management. This study also suggested that failure in the treatment and assessment of pain in neonates is more widespread than suspected. To sum up, Polish neonatal units need national guidelines for pain management as well as the curriculum for nurses and midwives should put more emphasis on the evaluation and treatment of pain in newborns.

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