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March 2011, Volume 41 Number 3 , p 60 - 61


  • Paul Arnstein PhD, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, FNP-C


IN A REVOLUTIONARY statement, Margo McCaffery defined pain as "whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever the experiencing person says it does."1 At the time, 1968, pain was viewed as what the healthcare provider said it was. Now McCaffery's definition is widely accepted and healthcare providers often depend on nurses' judgment to meet the patient's comfort needs.Today, nurses perform most pain assessments, interventions, treatment refinement, and patient education. Part of that duty is to ensure safe, effective use of analgesics. Nurses tailor pain-relieving options by delivering analgesia to maximize benefit while minimizing potential harm. Doses that only partially relieve pain are sometimes used to avoid uncontrollable adverse reactions while the best regimen is found for the individual. Conflicts may arise among the treatment team, patient, and family if these groups have competing pain management goals; for example, if the family wants the patient to receive more

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