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Attitudes of veterinary nurses to the assessment of pain and the use of pain scales
  1. D.L. Coleman, BSc, VN1 and
  2. L. S. Slingsby, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Specialists, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobian, Hertfordshire SG5 3HR
  2. 2 School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU


In April 2004, a questionnaire was distributed to veterinary nurses across the uk to assess their attitudes towards the assessment and management of pain in practice. During the six-week collection period, a total of 541 questionnaires were returned, of which 24 (4·25 per cent) were discounted due to completion errors. Overall, the pain scores for procedures involving dogs were higher than those for cats; the veterinary nurses' pain scores were higher for all procedures than those of veterinary surgeons in a previous study. Both veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons were primarily involved with monitoring pain postoperatively, and 96 per cent of veterinary nurses felt that their knowledge of pain management could be enhanced; 8·1 per cent of the practices used a formal pain scoring system, with the simple descriptive scale most commonly used; 80·3 per cent of the veterinary nurses agreed that a pain scale was a useful clinical tool.

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