Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing


The purpose of this study was to explore how nursing students’ decisions regarding pain assessment and analgesic use may be influenced by the role the student assumes in hypothetical situations, specifically the role of nurse or family member. It was hypothesized that there would be no statistically significant difference in pain assessment, in choice of analgesic dose, and in concerns about analgesics.

A descriptive correlational design was used. A sample of 83 senior nursing students within two weeks of graduation was used. The instrument used was one of two surveys created by McCaffery and Ferrell (1997). All respondents were asked to read a short patient scenario and then to respond to three questions regarding pain assessment, analgesic administration, and analgesic concerns.

A statistically significant difference was demonstrated regarding narcotic tolerance. Students who responded as “nurses” were more concerned with narcotic tolerance than students responding as “family members”.


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