S.P. YAU1, N. WEE1, HENRY K.S. WONG2, Z.R. CHUA1, Y.Y. LIM1, E.S. SII1, L.L.C. TAN1
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital1, Dover Park Hospice2
Opioids are important in the management of pain and nurses are the first responders to assessing and managing pain. The study aims to examine knowledge, attitudes and barriers to effective opioid administration in hospital nurses.
Nurses participated in a survey consisting of 35 questions (17 knowledge, 9 personal attitudes, 9 systemic barriers). A higher attitude or barrier score represents less willingness for appropriate opioid administration. Knowledge and attitude scores were compared and correlations were calculated between knowledge, attitudes and barriers. P value of 0.01 was taken to be statistically significant.
745 of the 836 reponses were included in the analyses. The mean age was 29 years-old and mean working experience was 7 years. 60.9% of them had previous training in opioid management. The mean knowledge score was low at 9.86/17 and was statistically different across age, nursing job grades and having previous training. Higher knowledge scores and increasing work experience correlated with higher (worse) attitude scores. Increasing work experience and higher attitude scores predicted higher barrier scores.
Nursing seniority and training predicts better knowledge towards appropriate opioid use. However, higher knowledge and more working experience is correlated with attitude and barrier scores which prevents appropriate opioid administration. While training in opioid use remains important to ensure safety, it is important to know what is needed to improve personal attitude and reduce systemic barriers. This would ensure that we do not deprive our patients of effective pain medications because of personal attitudes or systemic barriers.