“Pain assessment and management in the NICU: analysis of an educational intervention for health professionals”

“Pain assessment and management in the NICU: analysis of an educational intervention for health professionals”

Background or introduction

The research paper by de Aymar et al. (2014) ‘Pain assessment and management in the NICU: analysis of an educational intervention for health professionals’ in evaluated herein. The research article aims at assessing the perception of pain assessment by a team of neonatal intensive care providers before and after undergoing an educational intervention.  The background of the paper provides the rationale for conducting the evaluation by asserting that studies indicate that there is a gap between the consequences of neonatal pain, its scientific knowledge and the approaches for assessing and managing pain. The study attributes the presence of the gap to the lack of proper mechanisms for pain management and assessment in healthcare facilities and lack of empirical knowledge on alternative care provision to infants.

Data analysis

The study does not provide a literature review on the subject to identify other similar studies.  For data analysis, double data entry was performed for coding and processing. Epi InfoTM 6.04d software was used to perform data validation. The Stata software was used to perform statistical analysis. The existence of an association of categorical variables was determined using Fisher’s and chi-square test at a 95% confidence interval.


The researchers invited healthcare professionals to take part in the study; they included nurses, physical therapists, neonatologists, and nursing assistants who participate in providing neonatal care healthcare service.  The research was done in three phases; the first phase a quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted to identify how the recruited professionals in the neonatal unit perceived pain management. To do so, the paper utilized a questionnaire that was administered to professionals in the levels; technical, college or university and work with infants. During the second phase, an educational intervention was implemented. The intervention used the operational group which comprised of the researcher or mediator, a chosen member of the group who acted as the narrator, an individual that is not a member of the neonatal team to act as an external observer and other contributors.  During the last and third phase, the same questionnaire applied at the beginning of the study was used again to assess perception changes in the professionals after the education intervention.  Additionally, questions related to the educational program were also included.

Evaluate the evidence presented in each of the four areas

The evidence presented in each of the areas supports the outcomes of the study and future research as they relate to the objective of the study and so they correlate with the outcomes. The background provides the significance of conducting the assessment by identifying that there is a need for scientific knowledge. The results obtained in the study demonstrate the need for scientific research in bridging the gap between neonatal pain, pain management, and assessment.  The outcomes of the study are also supported by the data analysis method as the results were arrived at through validated data and therefore the results are credible.

Protection of human subjects

To ensure that human rights subjects participating in the study are protected, the researchers ensured that all participating professionals signed free informed consent.  For every phase of the study, the informed consent was signed.  The procedure assured that the rights of the participants were not violated and that they were all aware of the interventions and procedures of the research.      Identify strength and one limitation of the study.

One of the significant strengths of the study is the use of action research. The method has numerous benefits and using it in organizational research makes the study stronger as the process is ongoing. Therefore the results obtained from the research are more accurate as they are based on data collected over a long and hence errors due to spontaneous events are significantly reduced. The research method also allows intervention to be deeply examined by the researcher and therefore provide extensive results which are essential for future research.  The major limitation of the study is the lack of a literature review to demonstrate the results of other similar studies.

How the evidence informs current nursing practices.

The findings of the article demonstrate that most professionals understood neonatal pain management protocols, therefore, for future studies, the evaluation of this factor may be designed to explore the impact of this knowledge on practical application. The study also identified that many changes are still needed as there is still an observed disparity between practice and theory. Therefore, current nursing practices must seek to solve the observed difference by implementing practices that bridge practice and theory.