Health care professional’s knowledge and attitudes are strongly related with sufficient cancer pain management. The study explored nursing and medical professionals’ cancer pain management knowledge and attitudes.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted. The convenience sample consisted of nursing and medical professionals (internal medicine sector) of a public general hospital, Athens. Sample’s inclusion criteria: informed consent and > 5 months’ work experience. Between September - December 2016, 98 physicians (P), 70 registered nurses (RN) and 36 nurse assistants (NA) with response rates 81.8%, 77.8%, 90% respectively, completed the Greek version of the Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain: a 39 items tool divided into 22 true/ false, 13 multiply choices and 4 pain case studies items, as well as a demographic form.
Most of the participants were women (76.5%), reporting caring for more than 100 patients in cancer pain per year (40.7%). The sample’s mean age was 39.5 years and work experience 12.8 years. The prevalence of the five most frequent wrong responses (over 88.2%) was related with assessment and pain management interventions, addiction, patient pain self-report, and route of medication’s administration. Opioids titration, patients’ religious and cultural related pain behaviors, older patients and pain tolerance were the five most frequent correct answers (over 80.4%). P responded more correct answers (mean 20.8) than RN (17.5) and NA (15.8) (p < 0.0001). Age, education and clinical experience in cancer care explained 28% variance of correct answers. Younger participants, working at oncology wards, holders of a doctoral and attending continouing cancer pain education (strongest indepented factor (R2Change=.007)), were related with more correct answers.
Greek participants knowledge deficits in pain management support the universal concern of inadequate knowledge and attitudes of health care professionals, however, encouraging theoretical and clinical training may enhance their ability to improve practice. We thank Special Account for Research Grants and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens for funding to attend the meeting.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Nursing Department, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.