Educational Intervention to Strengthen Pediatric Postoperative Pain Management: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Smeland, Anja H.; Twycross, Alison; Lundeberg, Stefan; Småstuen, Milada C. and Rustøen, Tone (2022). Educational Intervention to Strengthen Pediatric Postoperative Pain Management: A Cluster Randomized Trial. Pain Management Nursing, 23(4) pp. 430–442.



Background: Pediatric postoperative pain is still undertreated.
Aims: To assess whether educational intervention increases nurses’ knowledge and improves pediatric postoperative pain management.
Design: Cluster randomized controlled trial with three measurement points (baseline T1, 1 month after intervention T2, and 6 months after intervention T3).
Participants/Subjects: The study was conducted in postanesthesia care units at six hospitals in Norway. Nurses working with children in the included units and children who were undergoing surgery were invited to participate in this study.
Methods: Nurses were cluster randomized by units to an intervention (n = 129) or a control group (n = 129). This allocation was blinded for participants at baseline. Data were collected using “The Pediatric Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain: Norwegian Version” (primary outcome), observations of nurses’ clinical practice, and interviews with children. The intervention included an educational day, clinical supervision, and reminders.
Results: At baseline 193 nurses completed the survey (75% response rate), 143 responded at T2, and 107 at T3. Observations of nurses’ (n = 138) clinical practice included 588 children, and 38 children were interviewed. The knowledge level increased from T1 to T3 in both groups, but there was no statistically significant difference between the groups. In the intervention group, there was an improvement between T1 and T2 in the total PNKAS-N score (70% vs. 83%), observed increase use of pain assessment tools (17% vs. 39%), and children experienced less moderate-to-severe pain.
Conclusions: No significant difference was observed between the groups after intervention, but a positive change in knowledge and practice was revealed in both groups. Additional studies are needed to explore the most potent variables to strengthen pediatric postoperative pain management.

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