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American Society for Action on Pain


P.O. BOX 984210

SACRAMENTO, CA 98248-2100

TELEPHONE: (916) 322-3350


The Nursing Practice Act, Section 2725, states that the registered nurse provides "direct and indirect patient care services that insure the ... comfort ... of patients. 11 Proper management of patient's pain is a nursing function incorporated within the registered nurse's role as a patient advocate (Standards of Competent Performance, Section 1443.5(6) of the Nursing Practice Act). The Board of Registered Nursing endorses pain management guidelines established by the World Health organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and the American Pain Society.

The nursing function of appropriate pain management includes, but is not limited to:

- ensuring informed consent for pain management.

- assessing pain and evaluating response to pain management interventions using a standard pain management scale based on patient self-report.

- educating staff, patients and families regarding the difference between tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction in relation to pain relieving medications, and the low risk of addiction from long-term use and/or high doses of opiates for pain relief.

- educating patients and families in a culturally competent manner regarding appropriate expectations for pain management.

- recognizing that prn medications may be given around-the clock.

- intervening to treat pain before the pain becomes severe.

- using non-drug interventions to assist in pain alleviation.

- using knowledge of equianalgesic dosages to maintain both patient safety and pain relief as routes and types of ordered drugs change.

- documenting pain assessment, intervention, and evaluation activities in a clear and concise manner.

- intervening to minimize drug side effects.

- implementing quality assurance/improvement standards to monitor the pain management program.

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