Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Deborah Sherman

First Advisor's Committee Title

committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jean Hannan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Amy Paul-Ward

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Ellen Brown

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


nurse-postoperative patient dyads, attitudes/perceptions, subjective and social norms/factors, and actions/behaviors, pain management

Date of Defense



Despite advances in pharmacology, surgical techniques, and perioperative care, pain is a significant symptom of surgical patients (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). This study explored the similarities and differences of nurse-post-operative patient dyads related to attitudes/perceptions, subjective and social norms, including culture/ethnicity, and actions/behaviors related to pain and pain management. Guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior (Azjen, 1991) and Leininger's Theory of Transcultural Nursing (Leininger, 1999), this descriptive qualitative study was based on a purposive sample of 6 nurses (Hispanic, African American, Caucasian) and 12 patients in dyads (nurse and a patient of the same ethnicity and one of a different ethnicity) from a hospital observation within 48 hours of surgery. The results indicated that all nurses used the pain scale to measure pain intensity but did not conduct a comprehensive pain assessment; were concerned about adverse effects and addiction related to opioids; and reluctant to administer opioids beyond the first day post-op. Most patients expected total and quick pain control, with less concern about short-term opioid use. Nurses and patients had limited knowledge of non-pharmacologic and complementary therapies for pain relief. Nurses expressed greater familiarity in caring for patients of the same cultural background, while patients did not identify culture as a factor in their care. Cognitive dissonance occurs when nursing education emphasizes cultural sensitivity, while nurses emphasize “treating all patients the same,” which has implications for education and research.



Included in

Nursing Commons



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