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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Pain Management in Nursing Practice
Module Code NS277
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Susan Kent
Semester 2: Susan Kent
Autumn: Susan Kent
Module TeachersSusan Kent
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will explore current pain theories relevant to the biopsychosocial, holistic model of pain management to enable patients with pain and their carers and close others to achieve optimal outcomes and quality of life. Module content will include a life span approach to all aspects of pain experience including classifications and types of pain and genetic, social, cultural, gender, ethnic and environmental influences on pain perception and experience. A systems and ecological approach will underpin the module to impart knowledge, concepts and techniques regarding (a) the assessment of pain as a prerequisite for best practice and (b) pain as the fifth vital sign. In addition the module will address: basic communication skills relevant to different populations across the lifespan; the WHO analgesic ladder; pharmacotherapeutic and nonpharmacotherapeutic interventions for pain management and symptom control; side effects and safety issues; pain, stress, distress, anxiety and depression; the role of the Pain Clinic, MDT and specialist pain nurse; enhancement/development of self efficacy and empowerment of the patient with pain through support, health promotion and patient education.

Learning Outcomes

1. Classify different types of pain and the implications of pain experience across the life span.
2. Outline the evolution of pain theories and principles of pain management and the biopsychosocial model and apply to the care of the patient in pain and his or her family and close others.
3. Describe the principles of quality pain assessment,defend pain as the 5th vital sign and demonstrate the skills and knowledge required to assess pain in patients of different ages with different levels of comprehension and cognitive function.
4. Describe in detail the WHO analgesic ladder and discuss and defend the rational of pharmacotherapeutic and non pharmacotherapeutic interventions in pain management.
5. Discuss the rationale for the Pain Clinic, multidisciplinary care and the role of the specialist pain nurse in best practice of the patient in pain
6. Describe the relevance of health promotion and patient and family education in pain management.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24based on indicative content and learning outcomes
Independent Study99self directed study based on additional reading list
Online activity2Engage in a total of 2 hours of discussion forum on LOOP
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Evolution of and current theories of pain
current theories of pain (GCT) and the application of the biopsychosocial model; implications for the quality of life for the person with pain

Anatomy and physiology of pain; pain epidemiology and classification
anatomy and physiology of pain; pain classification; acute, chronic malignant and nonmalignant pain; comordid pain conditions; genetic, social, cultural, gender, ethnic, environmental and lifespan influences on a person s pain perception and experience

Principles of quality in pain assessment
principles of quality in pain assessment; best practice concepts and techniques underpinned by systems, social, ecological and health promoting approaches to pain assessment and management; basic communication and counselling skills; rationale for the assessment, treatment and prevention of chronic pain; pain as a public health issue; reasons for undertreatment of pain; rationale for pain practice audit

Pharmacotherapeutic and nonpharmacotherapeutic interventions for pain management
pain as the fifth vital sign; management of acute pain; WHO analgesic ladder; patient controlled analgesia; pharmacotherapeutic and nonpharmacotherapeutic interventions for pain management and symptom control; modes of administration; drug treatment side effects, risks and safety issues across the life span;the role of CBT and CAM in pain management and enhancing patient coping, self efficacy, well being and quality of life.

Psychological effects and mental health
implications of pain for stress, distress, anxiety depression, PTSD and suicide ideation; patient short, medium and long term health outcomes;

The multidisciplinary pain service/team
health systems, integrated care/referral pathways: assessment, treatment and management of the patient with acute, chronic nonmalignant or malignant pain; pain across the illness trajectory; patient and family empowerment through appropriate support, health promotion and education; the role of the specialist pain nurse

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Assignmentwritten85%Sem 2 End
ParticipationClass attendance and participation15%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Brenner and Rathmell ,Massachusetts General Hospital: 2020, The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Pain Management, 4th, Wolters Kluwer, USA, 97814963477
Other Resources

59029, IASP website, IASP, 2021, International Association for the Study of Pain, Washington USA, IASP, https://www.iasp-pain.org/, 59030, http://www.chronicpainireland.org/, Government of Ireland, 2021, Chronic Pain Ireland, Dublin, Pobal Government of Ireland, https://www.chronicpain.ie/,
Programme or List of Programmes
BNGNBSc in Nursing (General)
BNPYBSc in Nursing (Mental Health)
Date of Last Revision17-SEP-08

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