Running head: PAIN ASSESSMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN Experiences of Nurses Using The Wisconsin Childrens Hospital Pain Scale for Preverbal Children: A Descriptive Study Bradley University Experiences of Nurses Using the University of Wisconsin Childrens Hospital Pain Scale for Preverbal Children: A Descriptive Study Most patients in the hospital setting experience pain. Pain is a subjective phenomenon that varies from person to person. The most relied upon indicator of pain is a patients verbal report of the pain, but what happens when the patient cannot verbalize his pain? This is the case with infants and other nonverbal patients. They experience pain but are unable to tell a nurse where it hurts, how it hurts, and the intensity to which it hurts. OConner-Von (2000) stated “if self-report is not available, physiologic or behavioral measures must be used” (p. 1), and “nurses are the key health care personnel responsible for continuous assessment in children in the health care setting” (p. 1). Nurses need a reliable and continuous means of pain assessment for the preverbal population. A study of the pediatric pain practices of national health professionals showed that only twenty percent of the sample used a behavioral assessment scale (Broome, Richtsmeier, Maikler, & Alexander, 1996, p. 314). Investigation of the tools used to assess pain in the nonverbal population of the pediatric floors in hospitals located in a small Midwestern city revealed that no one method was being used in any of the hospitals. According to several pediatric nurses from various hospitals in the area, nurses were assessing the pain of the nonverbal population based on their own opinions as to whether or not the patient was in pain, how consolable the patient was, and the parents report as to whether or not the patient was in pain. While this method of pain ass…
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