Reflective accounts

Postoperative pain

A CPD article improved Jane Lynch’s knowledge of the role of patient education in postoperative pain management.

A CPD article improved Jane Lynch’s knowledge of the role of patient education in postoperative pain management


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What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed the role of patient education in postoperative pain management. It stated that up to half of patients who have undergone surgery experience chronic pain after the operation, which can result in delayed discharge and hospital readmissions.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article emphasised that patient education supports postoperative recovery, and that involving patients in decision-making can improve pain-related outcomes.

I learned that the use of pain assessment tools can support communication between nurses and patients, and that information on pain management should be tailored to the individual. The article outlined several potential barriers to learning, such as anxiety and erroneous beliefs about pain management.

The article increased my knowledge about how adults learn; they are generally goal-oriented, so learn best when they perceive that their situation requires new learning. I am aware that there are various ways that postoperative pain education can be provided, but that most patients prefer verbal methods or a combination of verbal and written information.

How did you change or improve your practice?

I have increased my awareness of patients’ differing education needs in relation to postoperative pain management, and I will allocate time  to assess their individual needs. I will also ensure that the patient education I provide focuses on addressing any erroneous beliefs or fears they have, as well as practical or procedural aspects of pain management. 

I will discuss various options with patients so that they can participate in decisions regarding pain management if they wish to.

I was reassured to learn that most patients prefer the verbal and written education methods that are used in my practice area. However, I will also explore alternative methods that might be useful for some patients, such as the use of appropriate online resources.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

The theme of prioritising people states that nurses should listen to patients and respond to their preferences and concerns. Planning pain management in partnership with patients would enable them to participate in decision-making.

The article also related to the theme of practise effectively, which states that nurses must provide evidence-based information and advice. The authors emphasised that nurses should provide pain education, assess patients and make pain management decisions based on available evidence. 

The knowledge I have gained from reading the article will assist me to provide effective education to patients, thus enhancing their understanding of and adherence to postoperative pain management.

Jane Lynch is a bank post-anaesthesia care unit nurse at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, Bristol


This reflective account is based on NS910 Ingadóttir B, Zoëga S (2017) Role of patient education in postoperative pain management. Nursing Standard. 32, 2, 50-61. 

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form. Complete the four questions about a CPD article you have read, writing about 700 words in total.

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