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Pain Medications and Other Therapies Related to Chronic and Acute Diseases, Essay Example

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  • 2008: Increased Research on Pain Medications and Other Therapies Related to Chronic and Acute Diseases

 Franck, L.S. (2003). Nursing management for children’s pain: Current evidence and future directions for research. Journal of Research Nursing, 330(8), 330-353.

Stoner, M., Hand, M.W., Foley, R. (2010). Patients with Cancer: Experiences of Medication. Management Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 12(2), 99-104.

Nursing research has substantially progressed since its initial founding back in the 1950s.  Indeed, since that time period, nursing research has developed and integrated its own set of methodological tools; in addition, the research agenda has focused on establishing its own clinical research voice in how patients should be treated.  Researching and critiquing new types of medication and therapies for patients is a large component of establishing an independent clinical voice separate from physicians, pharmacists, and physical therapists.

This paper section reviews two different articles and how they have influenced the development of an independent nursing research corpus in this important area.  The first article addresses how nurses can become more knowledgeable regarding the administration of pain medication and pain therapies for children. Pain medication is undoubtedly an important topic for all patients.  Indeed, although a preponderance of attention is spent on developing medication for older individuals and specialized diseases, pain management in children has also become an important topic in nursing research.  This has happened for a number of reasons: 1) Children are still growing, and thus may have a different of more complicated pain etiology than that found in   adults; 2) Children are sometimes afflicted by diseases that cause immense pain (oncology) and thus should be similar options in their place/

The article stresses that although numerous developments have been made over the years in understanding children’s reaction to pain medication, there is still substantial room for improvement.  There are still three main areas for research.  First, the medical community needs to understand better how pain affects children (Franck, 2003).  Although substantial research has been done on adults, specialized research needs to be conducted on children and how their bodies deal with pain.  Second, there are few “pain scales” for children in order to measure the intensity and level of pain they feel.     Although numerous pain scales exist for translating pain in adults and senior citizens are currently available, there are very few pain scales dedicated to assessing pain in children.  There should be greater emphasis on developing pain scales for children in the future.  Finally, there needs to be greater research dealing with not only how children react to analgesic drugs, but also to develop drugs that children are able to take.  Some of the typical pain medications offered to adults cannot be taken by children. Nursing research has and will continue to play a major role in developing therapeutic solutions in this field.

The treatment of cancer patients is another area where nursing research has rapidly developed over past ten years.  Nurses play a key role in the dispensation and monitoring of medication in patients.  They must not only be attentive to the symptoms the patient displays, but also must be aware of the different stages needed in administering medication to individuals.  As Stoner, Hand, Foley et al. show in their article, the complications involved with the dispensation and monitoring of medications is compounded in cancer patients.

develop a unique process that helps nurses, and advances the field of nursing research through integrating this modality with larger concerns over the administering of cancer drugs.  This study is noteworthy in its advancement of an independent nursing research approach for several reasons.  First, the study employs a qualitative method to understand how nurses can better serve patients who have complicated medication regimes: The authors use interviews and descriptive phenomenology to understand these difficulties in further detail (Stoner, Hand, Foley, 2010).  The article found that four primary themes emerge from the interviews: 1) surrender; 2) lack of a system for comprehensively managing medications; 3) problems with medication labeling; 4) limited use of available resources for medication management (Stoner, Hand, Foley, 2010).  Although pharmacists are traditionally viewed as the main professional associated with medication assistance, nurses are increasingly called upon to not only understand a vast array of medications, but also how individuals comply with the medications, particularly if the medication regime is complex and difficult to understand.  This article provided keen insight into how nursing research can help to understand the psychology behind medications, and how nurses can play a key role in helping patients adhere to and maximize the effects of certain mediation.

Overall,  the development and understanding of pain medication is playing a key role in driving the nursing research agenda moving forward.  Although these articles only indicate an initial introduction to the topic, it will surely play a more important role in the field moving forward.

  • Year of Timeline: 2010: Nursing Research on How Nurses Interact With Their Work Environment

Nordang, K., Hall-Lord, M.H.& Farup, P.  Burnout in health-care professionals during reorganizations and downsizing: a cohort study in nurses. BMC Nursing, 9(8), 1-7.

Potter, P., Deshields, T., Divanbehgi, J., Berger, J., Cipriano, D., Norris, L. & Olsen, S. (2010). Compassion Fatigue and Burnout: Prevalence among Oncology Nurses. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 14(5),

Muller, M. & Hasselhorn, H.M. (2010). Leaving the organization or the profession- a multilevel analysis of nurses’ intentions. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(3), 616-626.

One of the main issues regarding the nursing profession in general, and nursing research specifically, is the specter of occupational burn out. Indeed, as the number of hours worked has increased, along with different severities of illness, stress and burnout among nurses of all departments has become a common occurrence.  In the year 2010, a number of path-breaking articles were released addressing this phenomenon from different angles.  The first article looked at burnout among nurses in general; the second article provides a specialized look at burnout rates in one of the most intense departments: the oncology department.  The third and final article looks at the decisions of nurses to either leave their current working environment or leave the profession.

The first study, conducted among a cohort of nurses, is important because it used innovative psychological scales in assessing burnout among nurses.  The article shows how nursing research has evolved to become more interdisciplinary in nature to address the main issues of the profession.  This study conducted in 2010 examined several key aspects of occupational burnout, and how nursing research could be used as a tool to prevent this phenomenon from occurring.

The study surveyed 48 employees that were current nurses in numerous departments throughout the hospital. The authors used the  Bergen Burnout Indicator (BBI) in order to assess the level of burnout in the cohort of nurses.  The study found that there was a “marked and clinically significant increase in burnout score during the study period.”  The statistics were highly significant, indicating that the nurses had likely suffered a genuine and prolonged period of burnout associated with their work.  Indeed, the only group of nurses who didn’t experience a burnout were a group of auxiliary nurses (purportedly with higher levels of occupational experience).

The second article builds on the same theme of the first article but relies on a larger sample size and a more robust methodology in order to address the problem.  Potter, Deshields, Divanbehgi et.al conducted a cross-sectional survey of inpatient nursing units and outpatient clinics in a cancer center in the midwestern United States (Potter, Deshields, Divanbehgi, 2010).  The authors used the fourth revision of the 30-item Professional Quality of Life (ProQOLR-IV) scale for measuring compassion, fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and burnout (Potter, Deshields, Divanbehgi, 2010).  Centered on nurses that worked in the oncology department of various hospitals, the study found that inpatient staff in the hospital had significantly lower compassion satisfaction than their colleagues working in the outpatient department (Potter, Deshields, Divanbehgi, 2010).   The scores for burnout and compassion fatigue were statistically favorable for the inpatient and outpatient settings.

The final article deals with decisions that nurses make based on a binary decision to leave: 1) Nurses who leave their current work department to find a different department; 2) Nurses who decide to leave the profession all together.  The article finds that of the variance related to either leaving the profession or leaving the department (for another position), a majority of the variance was a function of intentions to leave the nursing profession than a function of intentions to change jobs in the nursing profession.  This study does not augur well for policy makers looking to increase rates of retention among nurses.

Conclusion

Overall, nursing research has evolved not only in understanding how nurses interact with the clinical environment in a different way, but also the particular challenges that nurses face to stay satisfied in their current roles.  In particular, over the last ten years substantial progress has been made in understanding how medication is used by patients: Nurses are now called upon to have a much greater knowledge of medication and  how to ensure compliance among a diverse set of clients.  Nursing research has also served a key function in serving another emerging issue in the field: career satisfaction and burnout among nurses.  Over the past ten years, in addition to clinical issues, this has emerged as the main issue in the profession.  Articles reviewed in this paper showed that nurses face increasing stress levels and fear a lack of resources to adequately deal with them.  Instead of merely transferring to a less stressful office, nurses simply transfer out of the profession.  Research should continue to follow this important issue moving forward.

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