Aims and Objectives. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a pain management education programme in improving the nurses' knowledge about, attitude towards and application of relaxation therapy. Background. Pain of surgical patients has long been an existing problem of health care. Nursing staff need to be educated continuously to develop the professional ability of pain management. Methods. A quasi-study design with pre- and posttest and post- and posttest was used. Subjects were chosen from a medical centre in Taipei by convenience sampling. The total sample size of 81 was segregated into a study group of 42 and control group of 39 participants. The study group attended a seven-session pain management programme totalling 15 hours. The control group received no pain management training. Scaled measurements were taken on pain management knowledge and attitude and relaxation therapy practice. Results. (1) Scores for pain management knowledge differed significantly between the two groups (F = 40.636, p = 0.001). (2) Attitudes towards pain management differed between the two groups (F = 8.328, p = 0.005) and remained stable over time (F = 1.603, p = 0.205). (3) Relaxation therapy practice differed significantly between the two groups, with the study group better than the control group (F = 4.006, p = 0.049). (4) Relaxation therapy was applied to nearly all (97.5%) of the patients cared for by study group nurses. All of the instructed patients performed this technique one to three times per day postsurgery. Conclusions. Continuing education can improve nurses' knowledge about, attitude towards and behaviour of pain management. Relevance to clinical practice. Results of this study could be used to guide the development and implementation of continuing education programmes for nursing staff to enhance patients' care knowledge and skills.
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