An overview of pain assessment and management


Felicia Cox Nurse Consultant, Harefield Hospital, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To refresh your knowledge of the principles of pain assessment and management

  • Identify useful tools and resources for pain assessment and management

  • To increase your awareness of the adverse effects and complications of opioids

Pain is a distressing, subjective and complex phenomenon that all nurses will encounter in their clinical practice. Effective pain management requires nurses to undertake a structured assessment to identify likely causes of pain and guide management. Interventions used to reduce pain can be varied and multimodal. This article provides an overview of pain, including its definition, classifications, assessment, and management. It emphasizes the importance of a person-centred approach to care that mirrors Margo McCaffery’s seminal quote that pain is “everything the sufferer says it is”.

Nursing standard.
do I: 10.7748/ns.2022.e11936

Peer review

This article has undergone external double-blind peer review and plagiarism check using automated software



[email protected]

Conflict of interest

The author has acted as a paid consultant and lecturer for Grünenthal UK and Kyowa Kirin

Cox F (2022) An overview of pain assessment and management. Nursing standard. doi:10.7748/ns.2022.e11936

Online: March 30, 2022

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