How to handle a patient who constantly complains about pain
When a patient constantly complains about pain, I would be sympathetic with the patient so that they feel comforted by the concern shown. It is also important to listen to the patient to determine the problem and the possible cause of the pain. I would focus on the patient’s description of the pain and observe them for any bodily discomfort that may result from the pain. The environment could also be causing discomfort and leading to the patient’s pain (Friele, Reitsma, & Jong, 2015). Therefore, I will assess the patient environment to ensure that it is comfortable for the patient and it does not aggravate their condition.
After determining the source of the pain and the reason as to why the patient is constantly complaining of pain, I would employ the relevant measures. If being able to handle the patient's pain, I would effectively administer the right procedure. As a nurse, if one is not able to handle the situation, they should consult with the attending doctor (Lachman, Swanson, & Brown, 2015). For example, if a patient with a broken arm complains of pain, I can check their positioning in the bed and rectify it if they are not in the right position, after doing so, I can ask them if they feel relieved with the change of position or whether they are still in pain. I can also check the patient’s medical chart to see if they have been given any pain medications and consult on whether it is appropriate to administer another dosage (Friele, Reitsma & Jong, 2015). In case am not able to handle or determine the cause of the patient's pain, I would assure them that they would receive the necessary assistance. I would then consult with the attending doctor to ensure the patient’s pain was being taken care of (Reader, Gillespie & Roberts, 2014).
During one of my clinical experiences, I encountered a patient who had been involved in a car accident with minor bruises (Friele, Reitsma & Jong, 2015). She kept complaining of pain on her shoulders, I listened to her and established how she was feeling and the exact location where she was feeling pain (Croicu,Chwastiak & Katon, 2014). I checked her medical chart to know whether she had been examined for any internal injuries or broken bones. I was able to know that she had no internal injury but she had a serious bruise on that shoulder. After assuring the patient that the pain would be handled, the patient seemed relieved as I went to consult with a doctor. I addressed the issue with the attending doctor who came and assessed the bruise. The patients wound were dressed properly and she was given medication to help with the pain. It is also important to check on the patient to determine if the measures taken were helpful (Reader, Gillespie, Roberts, 2014).This was a helpful experience that enabled me to clearly understand how to handle a patient in pain (Howarth, Tiernan, Gillespie & Carstens, 2015). In addition, it was a good experience to improve on my patience, since I was able to patiently listen to the patient’s pain complaints without getting easily frustrated.
It is a nurse’s role to ensure the comfort and proper care of their patients. Therefore, they have to keenly focus on the patient and address any issues that cause them discomfort. The nurse's code of ethics requires nurses to respect human rights, such as the right to life, dignity, and respect (Brown, Lachman, & Swanson, 2015). When a patient is constantly complaining of pain, it is my role to respectfully listen to them and handle them with dignity, this critical in enhancing clinical recovery. Being able to address their pain is in line with the human rights because the measures taken to alleviate the pain could be life-saving (Howarth, Tiernan, Gillespie, & Carstens, 2015).
In conclusion, I have assessed the patient environment to ensure that it is comfortable for and it does not aggravate their condition. In this case, I will apply the above aspects in my future placement as a nurse. For instance, I plan to show patience and compassion whenever am handling a patient. Patience and compassion are an important virtue in handling patients who constantly complain about pain and a nurse has to ensure they do not get easily frustrated. A patient in pain is likely to become agitated and I plan to reassure such patients and make them feel understood and supported. I also believe it is very crucial to involve the attending doctor before making any decision, especially concerning the patient's medication. This will ensure the patient's pain is managed in the best way possible.
Croicu, C., Chwastiak, L., & Katon, W. (2014). Approach to the patient with multiple somatic symptoms. Medical Clinics of North America, 98(5), 1079-1095.
Friele, R. D., Reitsma, P. M., & Jong, J. D. (2015). Complaint handling in health care: expectation gaps between physicians and the public; results of a survey study. BMC research notes, 8(1), 529.
Howarth, G., Tiernan, J., Gillespie, G., & Carstens, P. (2015). A good complaints system. SAMJ: South African Medical Journal, 105(6), 425-426.
Lachman, V. D., Swanson, E. O., & Winland-Brown, J. (2015). The new ‘Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements’ (2015): practical clinical application, part II. Medsurg Nurs, 24(5), 363-366.
Reader, T. W., Gillespie, A., & Roberts, J. (2014). Patient complaints in healthcare systems: a systematic review and coding taxonomy. BMJ Qual Saf, 23(8), 678-689.
Winland-Brown, J., Lachman, V. D., & Swanson, E. O. C. (2015). The new code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. 2015: Practical clinical application, Part I. Medsurg Nursing, 24(4), 268-71.