Clinical update


Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek health treatment.

Essential facts

Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek health treatment. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage’. One in five people of all ages have moderate to severe chronic pain, with one third of those in pain and of working age unable to work, says the IASP. According to the National Pain Audit (NPA), an estimated 7.8 million adults and children in the UK are living with severe pain.

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In September, the RCN published a new knowledge and skills framework on pain, aimed at the entire nursing team, from healthcare assistants to nurse consultants. Before its publication, there were no nationally agreed standards, competencies or frameworks for pain management nursing in the


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