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Pain Management in Nursing Practice

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‘The fourteen chapters offer an overview of everything a nurse needs to know regarding pain and there is some cogent and perceptive analysis of the many complex issues in this area.’

Title: Pain Management in Nursing Practice

Author: Shelagh Wright

Publisher: Sage Publications

Reviewer: Robert Becker, Independent Lecturer in Palliative Care

What was it like?

Pain management has been written about by many authors over the years, but few have given it a nursing perspective and even fewer in the detail that this book attempts. The fourteen chapters offer an overview of everything a nurse needs to know regarding pain and there is some cogent and perceptive analysis of the many complex issues in this area. It has a strong international evidence base, to its credit and has been extensively and carefully researched.

What were the highlights?

This book is aimed at undergraduate nurses specifically and the authors’ education background and experience in this area stands out through the extensive use of learning outcomes, case studies and reflective activities associated with each chapter. I venture to suggest that it has a strong relevance to post graduate study also.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Its strengths lie in the authors’ ability to take complex and sometimes difficult to understand concepts and explain them in comprehensible English, a considerable skill and worthy of note. The case studies are carefully constructed and serve to reinforce the text well with some useful question and answers to follow and I particularly liked the bullet pointed chapter summaries, which for hard pressed clinicians give a good concise overview of the content. Appendices one and two offer a well structured and useful chart of all the most common pain relieving drugs carefully categorised user friendly. Many nurses will find this helpful. The website references are useful and there is some fascinating discussion in areas such as the history of pain and the nature of suffering, which add real gravitas to this book.  

 Although as the title suggests this book is about “nursing practice” it falls short in providing clear discussion and guidance on the nursing role in many of its chapters. While acknowledging that local and national policies differ, there are nevertheless certain fundamentals that are key to nursing practice and I would have liked to have seen these expanded and emphasised more. I was also surprised to find no reference to the cultural experience of pain across the world, which can have a strong influence of the experience of pain. Lastly, some reflective activities are rather vague urging the student to “consider” that in effect means it will be ignored as an activity.    

Who should read it?

As a reference text for study, this book is an invaluable aid for the students of today and rightly deserves its place on recommended reading lists and on the bookshelves of qualified nurses alike. 

Pain Management in Nursing Practice

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