Date of Completion

Fall 12-6-2021

Project Type

Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing - Educational Leadership



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Anne White


Aim: The aim of this integrative review was to synthesize studies that explore barriers to pain management in the Emergency Department.

Background: Pain remains one of the main reasons a person seeks help from the Emergency Department. However, patient's pain levels continue to be under-assessed and under-treated in Emergency Departments.

Design: Integrative Review Data Sources: A systematic review of Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, and Google Scholar electronic databases was performed. The articles were searched using the keywords, and the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Eleven studies published between 2011 and 2021 were found.

Review Methods: Studies were appraised using the John Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice evaluation tool. A thematic analysis was conducted to explore specific themes within the studies.

Results: Three themes were identified as barriers to pain management in the Emergency Department, ‘nurse’s workload’, ‘nurse’s attitude’, and ‘lack of pain management education for the nurse’.

Conclusion: Pain continues to be one of the main complaints’ patients present to the Emergency Department each year. The nurse can be a barrier or an enabler to effective pain management for the patient. For change to occur, improvement in pain management education for the nurse is required. Research regarding pain management in Emergency Departments based in the United States is limited. Research is needed to study the effectiveness of pain management and the possibility of nurse-initiated pain protocols in the United States.

Included in

Nursing Commons