Pain management communication between parents and nurses after pediatric outpatient surgery

Published:April 19, 2022DOI:



      The purpose of this study was to explore parent-nurse pain management communication during a child's discharge process following pediatric outpatient surgery.

      Design and methods

      Thirty-two clinical encounters at discharge between parents (N = 40) and nurses (N = 25) at BC Children's Hospital were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Content analysis was applied on the audio recordings and corresponding transcripts using MAXQDA qualitative research software and Microsoft Excel.


      Overall, nurses delivered pain management instructions at an average sixth grade readability level and frequently used communication elements of reassurance, optimism, and question-asking. Less consistent communication elements included open-ended questions, interruptions, and promotion of parental decision-making. Parents most frequently asked one to five questions, with pain medication being the most inquired topic.


      Several strengths of the nurse communication approach were identified, and parent questions highlighted a need for greater understanding around pain medication.

      Practice implications

      These findings will help guide effective pain management communication and care for young patients and their families.


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