Pain – an unpleasant emotional or physical experience that is often associated with actual or perceived tissue damage, often requires efficient management to ensure well-being and health. Various pain management programs outline guidelines for nurses to assess, monitor, and manage pain effectively. The “National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE)” has outlined pain management guidelines to enhance the nurses’ clinical practice. It provides procedural plans for pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological management of pain.
The foremost step for managing pain is its effective assessment. With a focus on person-centered assessment for identifying the causal factors, these guidelines enhance the clinical practice by enabling patients to communicate, inform and come up with a shared decision. Fostering such a supportive relationship with a person suffering from pain is essential. The guidelines promote the health care professionals to be sensitive to the person’s background, lifestyle, and understanding about pain and to consider the impact of these factors for suitable strategies for management. The pain management guidelines aim to enhance the clinical practice of pain management through non-pharmacological means such as exercise programs, acupuncture, and psychological therapy and instruct to refrain from the use of electrical physical resources. The pharmacological treatment outlines the use of antidepressants and recommends against the use of opioids and paracetamol (NICE, 2021).
There is a growing concern about these recent guidelines and many believe that these are not in line with the current evidence or the clinical practices (Kmietowicz, 2021). The “British Pain Society” argues that the recommendation to prescribe antidepressants could lead to patients feeling despair. Others believe that it would adversely impact the process of patient care (Robinson, 2021). Although the assessment of pain focuses on creating a bond between the patient and the professional and would result in enhancing the practice, its treatment guidelines have raised a need for further considerations.
Kmietowicz, Z., 2021. Doctors raise concerns about NICE guidelines on chronic primary pain. BMJ, Volume 373.
NICE, 2021. Chronic pain (primary and secondary) in over 16s: assessment of all chronic pain and management of chronic primary pain. [Online]
Available at: nice.org.uk/ng193
[Accessed 5 June 2021].
Robinson, J., 2021. What is ‘chronic primary pain’ and why is NICE guidance on it causing controversy?. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 306(7948).