Effective pain management is critical to increase patients’ health quality and keep their satisfaction levels high. Unfortunately, it may be difficult not only to manage pain but even to identify its severity in some cases. Nurses working in long-term care, especially with elderly patients, frequently admit the presence of barriers in pain management. The study by Egan and Cornally (2013) focuses on identifying such challenges and aims at finding solutions to them. The goal of this paper is to outline the most significant aspects of the article and discuss its applicability in evidence-based nursing.
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In their study, Egan and Cornally (2013) do not establish a concrete research question. Rather, the whole process of work may be generalized as a research question. In such a case, it may be regarded as the establishment of barriers to optimal pain management in long-term care. A particular focus of attention in the article is given to nurses’ point of view as opposed to patients’ one. The issue of pain management among older adults has been the focus of many scholars’ and practitioners’ attention.
In their research, Gatchel, McGeary, and McGeary (2014) remark that not only is pain a burden for patients and nurses but it is also a costly problem. In the analysis of barriers to pain management in aging populations, Cameron, Chandler, and Schofield (2017) emphasize that the major obstacle in this patient group is represented by cognitive impairments. The trends that might have affected the research question are concerned with the high prevalence of unsatisfactory pain management approaches in US hospitals.
The research design employed by Egan and Cornally (2013) was descriptive, quantitative, and cross-sectional. The authors employed a questionnaire to inquire about nurses’ perceived challenges to successful pain management. Egan and Cornally (2013) did not create the survey but took it from a 2010 research by Coker et al. (as cited in Egan & Cornally, 2013, p. 26). The questionnaire consisted of two parts:
- questions referring to barriers to optimal pain management;
- questions associated with respondents’ demographic variables.
The most prominent advantage of such research design is the possibility to collect answers within a short time and without using too many resources. Another strength of surveys is that they gather direct opinions of participants. The limitation of using a questionnaire as a study design is that some respondents may misunderstand some questions, and there is no opportunity for them to ask researchers for clarification.
The sample size of the study constituted 138 questionnaires distributed by scholars. Such a sample is too small to produce highly reliable outcomes. However, the number of participants was even smaller since only 83 questionnaires were returned to Egan and Cornally (2013). The authors invited nurses from five various long-term care hospitals (two of which were private and three of which were public) to participate in the study. While a variety of hospitals is a good point, the sample size cannot be regarded as adequate for such a research question. Collecting responses from at least 400 nurses would have produces a much more reliable outcome.
Data Collection Methods
The data collection method used by Egan and Cornally (2013) was a self-report questionnaire. Researchers collected data by themselves, and they had employed a convenience sample for practical reasons. Because representatives of five hospitals took part in the survey, the risk of atypical values was minimal. Such types of descriptive statistics as percentages, standard deviations, and averages were used to describe the collected data. Egan and Cornally (2013) also used the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20.0 for Windows to do the statistical analysis and data analysis. There were no gaps in ethical considerations since the authors received ethical approval from the Cork Teaching Hospitals clinical research ethics committee before initiating the study.
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Probably the only one, but considerable, limitation of the article is the sample size. Egan and Cornally (2013) acknowledged that their study was “small-scale” and used “only one method of data collection” (p. 29). It is necessary to discuss the study’s limitations since by doing so, researchers can encourage others to avoid similar mistakes. Also, the audience can make conclusions about the study’s reliability. Further research of the same topic can be greatly enhanced through the use of a larger sample.
The study’s findings contain the classification of barriers to optimal pain management in different dimensions. Egan and Cornally (2013) identified and explained patient-related, caregiver-related, and organizational-related challenges. The obtained findings are consistent with the study’s research question. Generally, the credibility of findings is quite high, but it would have been better if the sample size had been larger. Apart from that, there is no reason to doubt the credibility of findings since data were obtained through self-report surveys.
The practice change discussed in Egan’s and Cornally’s study (2013) is warranted because scholars investigated one of the paramount aspects of the modern healthcare system. The evidence that could be found on the topic is strong enough to offer a change in the identified practice area. The most important point of the study is that the authors identified barriers to pain management, which can be used to find solutions to this severe problem.
Cameron, P. A., Chandler, R., & Schofield, P. (2017). Attitudes and barriers to pain management in the ageing population. In G. Pickering, S. Zwakhalen, & S. Kaasalainen (Eds.), Pain management in older adults: A nursing perspective (pp. 109-119). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Egan, M., & Cornally, N. (2013). Identifying barriers to pain management in long-term care. Nursing Older People, 25(7), 25-31.
Gatchel, R. J., McGeary, D. D., & McGeary, C. A. (2014). Interdisciplinary chronic pain management: Past, present, and future. American Psychologist, 69(2), 119-130.