Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, Chairperson; Donna L. Agan, EdD; Cheryl Ahern-Lehmann, PhD


nursing, nursing students, Pain assessment, Pain management, patients


Pain is a universal human experience and is a primary reason people seek health care; however, undertreatment of pain has been reported in the literature as a significant clinical problem for more than three decades. Researchers have concluded that nurses have inadequate knowledge of pain assessment, are misinformed about opioids, and have inappropriate attitudes about pain and pain management that lead to the undertreatment of pain. One question is whether those misconceptions are acquired in nursing school or whether they are present when students enroll in nursing programs. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the attitudes regarding pain and pain management among entry-level nursing students. Eighty-nine nursing students were recruited from two baccalaureate nursing programs and divided into control and experimental groups. An educational intervention relating to pain was provided to students in the experimental group. Ajzen's (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) served as the theoretical framework to measure attitudes about pain and to predict whether nursing students would administer opioid analgesics to patients experiencing pain. The survey instruments consisted of the Pain Survey and the Pain Management Survey developed by Edwards et al. (2001). Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze and compare pretest and posttest data. Results indicated that students have misconceptions about pain and the administration of opioid analgesics similar to the general population. However, overall attitudes toward pain and pain management were positive. The TPB constructs accurately predicted nursing students' intentions to administer opioid analgesia to patients experiencing pain.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons