The Impact of the Nurse-Physician Professional Relationship on Nurses' Experience of Ethical Dilemmas in Effective Pain Management
Van Niekerk, LM and Martin, F, The Impact of the Nurse-Physician Professional Relationship on Nurses' Experience of Ethical Dilemmas in Effective Pain Management, Journal of Professional Nursing, 18, (5) pp. 276-288. ISSN 8755-7223 (2002) [Refereed Article]
The aims of the current investigation were (1) to examine the ethical and professional conflicts experienced by Tasmanian registered nurses in attempting to provide optimal pain management, and (2) to examine nurse satisfaction with their professional relationship with physicians and with their level of involvement in pain management. A total of 1,015 registered nurses completed a 21-item survey examining ethical and professional conflicts encountered during patient pain management. Data also were gathered investigating nurse satisfaction with their involvement in and professional relationship with physicians during pain management. The respondents who felt adequately consulted by physicians were significantly more likely to instigate the consultation process than the respondents who felt that they were not adequately consulted by physicians about their patient's pain status. This was marked in relation to the need for increased pain relief medications. Nurses who did not feel adequately consulted by physicians were significantly more likely to experience ethical conflicts such as concerns about undermedication and patient reluctance to report pain. Nurses' concerns related to ethical conflicts concerning effective pain management are affected by their relationship with physicians. Education, for both nurses and physicians, concerning the role of the nurse in the workplace will help to ensure that these conflicts do not arise. Guidelines concerning the level of patient care at which consultation is necessary will ensure fewer conflicts and greater nurse satisfaction in the workplace.