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Essentials of Pain Management

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Course Description

This two-day seminar is designed to follow the blueprint for the Pain Management Nursing Board Certification, but it is also relevant for all nurses caring for patients in pain. The course addresses both acute and chronic pain syndromes of all ages. The course will also cover specialty populations, such as the cognitively impaired and addicts. It includes various aspects of pain: physiology, assessment, interventions that include both non-pharmacological treatments and complementary alternatives, crisis management and the ethics of pain.

Program Learning Outcomes

This program prepares the learner to:

  • Discuss the physiology of the pain process, including the transmission, perception and modulation of pain.
  • Describe the components of a complete pain assessment and identify tools available for recording the pain assessment.
  • Discuss the difference between opioid, nonopioid and adjuvant therapy, and identify the general side effects of each.
  • Identify common side effects of spinal analgesia and state the indications for transdermal and PCA.
  • Identify the alternative and complementary therapies used for pain management.
  • Discuss the ethical issues of pain management in end-of-life care.


Sign-in begins at 7:30 am. Each day includes a one-hour lunch (on your own), as well as a morning and afternoon break of 15 minutes each. The order of lectures presented and break times may vary according to speaker preference.

Day 1, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

  • Pathophysiology of Pain
    Acute vs. Chronic | Nociceptive vs. Neuropathic | Science of Pain | Consequences of Unrelieved Pain
  • Pain Assessment
    Components of Pain Assessment | Tools | Associated Symptoms
  • Common Pain Syndromes
    Cancer | Lower Back Pain | Bone Pain | Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS) | TMJ | Headaches
  • Sedation
    Assessment of Sedation | Tools | Anxiolytics | Non-Pharmacological Management of Sedation
  • Psychosocial Issues of Pain
    Assessment of Patient and Family’s Barriers to Pain Management | Quality of Life | Coping Strategies | Spiritual Care

Day 2, 8:00 am to 3:30 pm

  • Pharmacological Management of Pain
    Opioid | Nonopioid | Adjuvants | Side Effects
  • Routes of Treatment
    Oral, IV, IM | PCA | Transdermal | Spinal
  • Chronic Use and Abuse: Pain Management
    Opioid Withdrawal | Addiction, Tolerance | Physical Addiction and Pseudoaddiction
  • Non-Pharmacological Treatment and Complementary Alternatives
    Physical (Exercises, Spinal Stimulators, Massage, Thermal, Positioning) | Environmental | Magnets | Acupuncture, Chiropractory | Homeopathy | Herbals
  • Crisis Management of Pain
    Intractable Pain | Suicide | Chronic Pain Syndromes
  • Ethics of Pain Management
    Bias | Placebo Use | End-of-Life Considerations | Patient Self-Determination