Oncology Nurses' Use of Nondrug Pain Interventions in Practice


Journal of Pain and Symptom Management




Cancer pain management guidelines recommend nondrug interventions as adjuvants to analgesic medications. Although physicians typically are responsible for pharmacologic pain treatments, oncology staff nurses, who spend considerable time with patients, are largely responsible for identifying and implementing nondrug pain treatments. Oncology nurses' use of nondrug interventions, however, has not been well studied. The purpose of this study was to describe oncology nurses' use of four nondrug interventions (music, guided imagery, relaxation, distraction) and to identify factors that influence their use in practice. A national sample of 724 oncology staff nurses completed a mailed survey regarding use of the nondrug interventions in practice, beliefs about the interventions, and demographic characteristics. The percentages of nurses who reported administering the strategies in practice at least sometimes were 54% for music, 40% for guided imagery, 82% for relaxation, and 80% for distraction. Use of each nondrug intervention was predicted by a composite score on beliefs about effectiveness of the intervention (e.g., perceived benefit; P<0.025) and a composite score on beliefs about support for carrying out the intervention (e.g., time; P<0.025). In addition, use of guided imagery was predicted by a composite score on beliefs about characteristics of patients who may benefit from the intervention (e.g., cognitive ability; P<0.05). Some nurse demographic, professional preparation, and practice environment characteristics also predicted use of individual nondrug interventions. Efforts to improve application of nondrug interventions should focus on innovative educational strategies, problem solving to secure support, and development and testing of new delivery methods that require less time from busy staff nurses.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Analgesic Intake; Cancer; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Medication Use; Music Listening; Music and Medicine; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Recorded Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Health Care Surveys; Imagery (Psychotherapy); Neoplasms; Nurses; Pain; Pain Management; Relaxation Therapy; Surveys and Questionnaires

Study Type

Descriptive Analysis; Quantitative Methods

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