Date of Completion

Spring 5-4-2016

Project Advisor(s)

Dr. Jacqueline McGrath; Dr. Renee Manworren; Dr. Cheryl Beck

University Scholar Major



Pediatric Nursing



To determine existing knowledge and attitude gaps about pain assessment and management in junior and senior nursing students at the University of Connecticut (UConn), School of Nursing, Storrs, CT.


Student nurses were recruited through in person presentation of the study in the classroom setting on three separate occasions over a 20-day period. An email with information included during the presentation as well as the link to the online survey were sent through the School of Nursing listserv. A flyer was attached in the initial email and shown to participants during the initial recruitment meeting. As an incentive, sixty students received gift cards at the study’s conclusion funded by a National Institute of Health CoEPE (Center of Excellence in Pain Education) grant awarded to the UConn School of Nursing.


The majority of nursing students had the most difficulty with questions relating to pharmacology in pediatric pain management including proper dosages, drug ceilings, and proper medication uses. Surprisingly, juniors performed better than 4th and 5th year seniors when caring for hematology/oncology patients. However the differences were not statistically significant.


Overall, difficulty in questions related to pharmacology may be related to the timing in which the initial pharmacology course is taken, during the sophomore year, at UConn School of Nursing as well as the difficulty of the subject. One strength we found was a lack of bias in managing pediatric pain which we believe may be a result of baccalaureate education degree that includes additional courses related to the art of nursing in addition to the science.